After the release of her debut album All Over Again, Rochester native Debbie Anthony’s career began gaining speed. She was featured on radio programs, news articles, and live performances. Her single “Lucky In Love” found chart success, reaching #8 on the New Music Weekly Country Charts and #17 in the UK. Riding that wave, Anthony went back to work making new music.
The creation of Anthony’s newest project has been an exciting path of learning, artistic growth, new friendships, and discovery. The fruit of that journey is the album More To Be Said, a nine-track labor of country music love, released and available everywhere Friday!
Anthony is putting on a release show this Sunday, October 6th, at Rochester Civic Theatre. Joining her on stage will be local and national musicians who have been involved in this project. It will be an evening of songs, stories, and a celebration of love for country music.
Anthony took time to describe to us just what her journey to More To Be Said has been like.
MTMM – You worked with some phenomenal artists and producers while recording this album. What was it like to work with such accomplished individuals?
DA – I met my producer, Gena Johnson (a Minnesotan!) before I ever dreamed of recording an album in Nashville. The first time I met her, we hit it off. She has this personality that is so warm and endearing…someone that you feel immediately like she’s your best friend. I knew I was in good hands! She intentionally chose musicians she knew would be a good match for me: easy to be around and, more importantly, who care. I had a couple days to prepare with Gena and keyboardist Mike Webb. I instantly got along with Mike, and we’ve become good friends. He has played for me in all 5 of my videos, and will be joining me on stage for the release show!
The drummer, Chris Powell, who plays for Brandi Carlile, was probably the hardest to get to know. He never said much other than how to make each song better. On the last day, when I was recording “Make Me Stay”, he told me to “go up” (sing higher) on the last line. That’s all he said, but right then and there I knew he accepted me as an artist!
My producer Gena made it special. After each day of recording, we would have dinner together and talk. After recording the last song, we celebrated with a cake bearing the words “The Dream Team”, and that is exactly what those musicians are! Steve Mackey, who is currently playing bass for Peter Frampton, looked at me and told me that this was the very first time that he ever had cake after tracking a record!
MTMM – What is the energy like in Nashville? How did it feel to record there?
DA – We recorded at MOXE, a studio that was designed to be peaceful, the perfect backdrop for creativity, expression, and comfort! Other than Gena and Mike, none of the musicians had heard any of the songs, so, before we recorded each song, we would listen to it as a group. Then, I would give a back story or reason why I chose the song; I wanted to help them get a sense of who I was, and the spirit and message behind each song. I loved that they came up with ideas to make the songs even better.
I knew when I was recording that I did not have to be great. I knew that nothing I was going to do would “WOW” any of these musicians! These musicians work with female artists like Dolly Parton, Wynonna Judd, LeeAnn Rimes, Brandi Carlile…the list goes on and on. So, I figured I just had to be myself! I wasn’t trying to be accepted into their world, so I just relaxed. It was cool.
I admit I was a little nervous! There I was, a Minnesota girl in Nashville, singing new songs that I barely knew, with A-lister musicians following me! Gena helped so much by directing me when I needed it and making me feel comfortable if I was a little anxious! I learned that, despite the huge success of these musicians, they are just people—people who love music and want to give their all in every project!
MTMM – Who are some of your biggest influences in the music industry?
DA – Wynonna Judd, Karen Fairchild of Little Big Town, Shania Twain
MTMM – What can we expect to see and hear at the album release party?
DA – I will be performing all the songs, in order, off my album. The talented Gena Johnson will be joining me on stage, singing background vocals, sharing stories and memories! Mike Webb will also be performing on keys and will have a few stories of his own. Carl Stephenson and Drew Medin will be on electric guitar, Tim Scriber on bass, and Scott Kovar on drums. I have some other special guests: songwriters, a special singer who will be joining me for a duet, and other surprises. This is going to be a huge party celebrating such a milestone in my music career.
MTMM – What are your views on the music community in Rochester and how it’s changed over the years?
The music is alive and well in Rochester! There are new venues popping up and new artists. There is an excitement in the air!
MTMM – Tell us a bit about the local musicians who will be on stage with you.
DA – Carl Stephenson is a guitar instructor at Schmitt Music and is in several bands, including Incognito and LP & the 45s. Drew Medin is a guitar instructor at Pure Rock Studios and is in several bands, including County Line Drive and Breakthrough. Tim Scribner is the bass guitarist for Gopher Tones, and plays for many other talented musicians, including Annie Mack. Scott Kovar is a drums/percussion instructor (Scott Kovar’s Drum Studio), and plays for several bands, including The Swamp Kings.
MTMM – If you could choose one person—living or dead—to work with on your next project, who would it be?
DA – Hands down, Wynonna Judd!
MTMM – What do you do right before you go on stage? Do you have any pre-show rituals?
DA – I check my hair and makeup, whisper a prayer, and I’m ready!
MTMM – Do you have any favorites on the new album?
DA – Honestly, I absolutely love all the songs! It’s so hard to choose. Of course, the most meaningful is “Faithful”. The lyrics of this song were written for me by my husband, Mitch (and co-writer Paul O’Sullivan)!
The song I probably love to perform the most is “Run to the River”. This song is powerful with its deep meaning and energy! But, I can’t help but mention “Make Me Stay”, a poignant song dealing with the emotions and despair of a struggling relationship…but finding that hope! I also love “Second Best”, an incredibly emotional song that captured the despair and grief of losing my first husband at the age of 21. I literally could go on and on about each one of the songs!
MTMM – Is there anything we didn’t ask that you’d like to mention?
DA – One of the later details that I worked on with my producer was coming up with the title of the album. I really had no idea! My producer threw out the idea of looking at the song lyrics to see if something would inspire me. I grabbed the lyric sheet for “Make Me Stay” and the words “more to be said” jumped out of the page! As an artist starting late in the game, I felt that all the experiences in my life—experiencing loss and love, raising children, growing in my faith and maturity—gave me the words to say. But beyond that, I knew that I had more to say in the coming years. I hope to be an inspiration to those who have so much more to give—no matter what age or stage of their life.
Most of all, I want to add how excited I am to be able to share the songs with my hometown. What a privilege for me to be able to perform with all of the talented musicians at such a beautiful venue as Rochester Civic Theatre!
MTMM is a proud sponsor of this event.