I grew up in Carver, Kentucky-a big town of about 50 people located 13 miles south of Salyersville, which is a thriving metropolis of about 1400. I am the daughter of Bluegrass musician extraordinaire and ex lead singer and guitar player for Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys, South Salyer, and world's greatest mother, Christine Salyer. I am the product of a good Eastern Kentucky raisin' and hundreds of Bluegrass festivals. I like to say, "I grew up at Bluegrass festivals."
I began singing at the ripe-old age of 2, but I was probably 5 or 6 before I knew there was music other than country, bluegrass and The Beatles. Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn were my idols; they still are. I also loved Merle Haggard, George Jones, Mel Tillis, etc. Once I found other influences, I became a sponge-CCR, Rod Stewart, KISS, then Styx, Queen, the whole disco movement, and most especially, The Eagles. I began performing with my dad's band at the age of 13 and traveled with him until I was 21. In the late 70's, close to the time I began performing, I saw a band called Spectrum, made up of Glenn Lawson, Jimmy Gaudrau, Bela Fleck, and Mark Schatz. Not only were they awesome pickers and singers, but they melded musical styles and genres to create something unique and wonderful. Spectrum only existed for a short time, but they would forever change the way I would look at Bluegrass-maybe music in general. I always loved Bluegrass, but being a bit of a rebel, I needed to explore other options. I screamed some punk rock and had purple hair; you might imagine that my dad was just thrilled-yeah, right. I got over that, but I was still searching.
When I went to college, I played around with a lot of different types of music-country, rock, funk, even (please forgive me) pop. I was listening to James Taylor, REM, The Violent Femmes, Cinderella, David Lee Roth, along with Randy Travis, Ricky Skaggs, Keith Whitley, The Seldom Scene, The Lonesome River Band, Quicksilver and my favorite band of all time, The New Grass Revival. John Cowan could sing me a set of encyclopedias, and I'd listen to every word. I was also acting and singing show tunes. But I had always had my sights set on Nashville.
After graduating twice from Morehead State University with a BA and an MA in Communication, I headed off to Nashville to pursue a career in Country music. I got here just in time for the kind of Country music I like to sing, play and write (real music) to go completely out of fashion. I was too country for Nashville. Can you even imagine that? I did have some early success. I had a manager and played a lot of venues around town. I was featured on a weekly radio show called Live from the Row. But mainstream pop country had no use for me.
Sometime shortly after I got here, I heard a sound that would captivate me and hold me hostage to this very day-the sound of Adam Duritz leading his band Counting Crows through mesmerizing lyrics and beautiful melodies with a voice so unique, honest, and heartfelt that I knew I was in love (musically speaking). It was also around that time that I met and married the true love of my life, Sean Nimick. So, I decided to concentrate on things other than music. I spent a few years fostering a new and wonderful marriage, teaching college, acting, producing and directing plays, doing public relations, and working as a professional speaker.
Because of my disenchantment with the country music scene and because I married a hard-core rocker, I discovered a whole world of 70's and 80's music that I had totally missed the first time. What a shame it would have been never to know The Who, The Cure, The Kinks, David Bowie, old Rolling Stones and my beloved, Led Zeppelin. I have been touched by a lot of other Rock bands and artists through the 90's and 00's. I love Pearl Jam, Blues Traveler, Alice in Chains, Cake, Chris Cornell, Better than Ezra, and Train just to name a few.
About 1999 or 2000, I began to really focus on songwriting again. I was writing country, jazz, blues, but nothing ever captured my imagination, my heart, my very soul like Bluegrass music. I spent all that time searching just to get back to where I started. However, these years in Nashville, where the best songs in the world are written every day, have certainly made me a better songwriter. I am also a better person-more determined, more dedicated, and more convinced that Bluegrass music is the greatest music and is where I belong. Melvin Goins always says, "Bluegrass people are the best people in the world." I concur, and I am so proud to be counted among them.