Latest News

My View From the Barstool

I had the opportunity to witness some amazing new(ish) talent the other night and couldn’t be happier for the music world!

Went to the Real Life Real Music Songwriter Series Wednesday night at Dosey Doe Music Café in Conroe, TX to hear three young ladies showcase what RLRM host Kyle Hutton dubbed “Homegrown Talent.”  The three young ladies: Abbey Hirvela, Mason Ashley and Kenna Danielle.

Before those three took the stage, Kyle kicked off the show honoring Guy Clark by singing a great version of “Stuff That Works.”  He also began by telling how the Songwriter Experience Summer camp started, which all three of these ladies attended.  (You can find out more about the summer camps RLRM hosts for 5th-12th graders here.)  Kyle also described how he was feeling “old and blessed” being around such amazing talent as these young ladies and others who attend those camps have.  The next song Kyle performed was “one of the first songs” he ever wrote titled “Center Stage Someday.”  A tune about the longing to be on stage in front of the crowds and a perfect mood setter for the night.

Mason Ashley1

Mason Ashley wowing the crowd with a beautiful song. Photo by Tammy Spangler.

The three ladies were then brought on stage and introduced to an enthusiastic crowd full of family, friends and music fans.

Unfortunately poor Abbey Hirvela had lost her voice that morning and was only able to talk (albeit not easily) so we didn’t get a chance to hear her music.  But she did tell us how much she loved the experience of those songwriter camps.  She also told the crowd that she had written a total of five songs when she was at the camp six years ago, which held the record for three years until another attendee came along and beat it.  Impressive for a 12 year old!  She went on to describe how so much had changed for her career.  “It has gone by so fast…from me not really knowing anything about how music was created to going on to record an album!”  And in a few short weeks, she’s taking an even bigger step towards her career and moving to Nashville!  If you’d like a sample of her music, check out her web site here.  You’ll enjoy it!

Kenna Danielle1

Kenna Danielle singing one of her amazing tunes. Photo by Tammy Spangler.

Mason Ashley was up next.  Mason’s career had certainly exploded since attending that first camp five years ago.  She said it was hard to believe it was that long since it feels like “just yesterday.”  So much has happened for her.  She not only recorded one EP (produced by Jeffrey Armstreet at Red Tree) but she is currently working on her 2nd one!  In fact she explained, “We thought we were done but then I ended up writing two more songs!”

The first song Mason sang was called “Lie to Me.”  Before singing, she described it as her sassy sarcastic song.  Once I heard it though, I was hooked by her way with words!  She writes well beyond her young years.  There’s something in the way that she sings that makes you think of another time and place.  The other song I heard her sing was the title track from her first EP, “Into the Song.”  She explained she wrote it when she was 14 and at the time had no idea she had written a waltz!  It’s a beautiful song.

Mason explained during a chat before the show that her next release will have a very different with all new songs written within the past year.  It will have a “singer-songwriter with a pop production feel.”  She went on to say that attending the camp made her realize that “music is what I want to do for the rest of my life.”  She’s definitely on her way to realizing that dream as she finishes up her 2nd EP as well as her first music video, too!  Keep up to date with Mason here.

Then it was Kenna Danielle’s turn.  Kenna attended the songwriter camp six years ago and two years ago she released her first album produced by Stormy Cooper.  She’s also just announced a campaign to help her raise much needed funds to produce the next album.  (Wanna help?  Click here for info.)

Kenna’s voice is straight up Country with a lot of soul behind it.  If you like Miranda Lambert and Bri Bagwell, then you’ll love Kenna.  The first song she sang was called “Sippin on Shine.”  A dang fine Country song for sure!


Abbey Hirvela chats with Kyle Hutton. Photo by Tammy Spangler.

I took a few minutes before the show to ask her about her influences and she mentioned local singer/songwriter Tim Nichols.  She said her mom and Tim went to school together and so she’s known him for a long time.  He accidentally overheard her singing at her house one day and told her mom, “that girl has something.”  She certainly does!  Kenna’s favorite RLRM show to witness?  “Seeing Dean Dillon.  Hearing him tell the stories about all the great songs he’d written like ‘Marina Del Rey,’ ‘The Chair’  All those things actually happened to him!”

The second song she sang, blew the crowd away.  Titled “The Cross,” she wrote it with Bri Bagwell in response to a horrible accident that one of her brother’s had been in but was able to walk away from.  As the song ended, I immediately sent a text to Bri and told her how much I loved it.  Bri’s response, “Awww yay!  It was a tough write for sure.”  Kenna’s voice along with the incredibly touching lyrics left me (and I assume the rest of the crowd) with chills.

At our pre-show chat, when asked what she thinks real music is, Kenna replied ” seeing an artist perform their music from the heart.”

I can honestly say that sums up the music that all three of these young ladies make…REAL music.

To find out when the next RLRM show is, click here.

2 Comments on My View From the Barstool

  1. G. Powell // May 20, 2016 at 8:34 pm // Reply

    There is a Key that wil help unlock every door… Keep up the mission Katie…

Leave a Reply