Michelle Lambert is a fiddler, clogdancer, singer, songwriter and an inspiration to her students. As a Round Valley musicmaker and a Northern California entertainer, she works diligently creating music and building her repertoire of songs-bluegrass, country, rock and pop originals. Keyboard, drums, electronic music-making and recording equipment are her tools. The youngest of six children, Michelle was born and raised in Round Valley. She learned her music from local artists: Donna Lim, violin; Mildred Pinkham, voice and piano; Kevin Wells, drums, songwriting and Gary Bowman, bluegrass band! She took what she learned and worked persistently with it. Her inspiration? Just trying to keep up with her brothers and sister. At two years of age, Michelle eagerly began violin lessons with Donna Lim and forged ahead learning folk and classical songs through the Suzuki Method for the violin. At five she joined a children's chorus led by Mildred Pinkham and was introduced to the delight of learning new songs and singing in harmony with other voices. A year later, Michelle with her brothers, Kenny and David, began private voice lessons with Mrs. Pinkham, learning classical songs and 3-part harmonies. All three of them also studied piano with Mrs. Pinkham. Michelle studied voice and piano for seven years with an emphasis on classical pieces. Michelle, at nine, began studying drums with Kevin Wells and discovered great fun with a trap drum set. Her practice on the drums instilled a solid sense of beat that carries into all of her music. As she learned percussion, Kevin introduced songwriting and Michelle began to write her own songs. At ten she played second fiddle to her older sister, Heidi, as they both contributed fiddle and vocal harmonies to the bluegrass sound of the Round Valley Hogcallers. After a year of performing alongside her sister in the band and learning a wealth of old-time American and Celtic tunes, Heidi left Round Valley and Michelle stepped to first fiddle. Not sure at first, but knowing the tunes, and with the kind command of bandleader Gary Bowman, his concise arrangements and countless gigs across northern California, Michelle learned to play, improvise and hit the road with a band. Band members, Gene Cox and Bob Helme, enriched the experience with subtle friendly help and lots of musical fun. Michelle played the Hogcallers for four years. It made her a musician. As Hogcallers bandmembers moved away from Covelo, Michelle continued to perform with various musicians and bands and began to perform solo fiddle and vocals. At home she explored creating soundtracks for her original songs and wrote new arrangements for old songs. Through this musical journey, Michelle is emerging as a strong original voice on the entertainment horizon. One of Michelle's performing experiences has been playing fiddle tunes and singing favorite songs to summer tourists on California Western Railroad's 'Skunk' train that travels through rolling oak-studded hills and redwood forests between Willits and Fort Bragg. She has entertained on the 'Skunk' for 5 years: 2 years as a duo with Gary Bowman on guitar and banjo, 1 year with Mitch Uharriet as guitar accompaniment and the last two years as a solo entertainer. On the train Michelle learned the social side of music as she mingled and met people from around the world. She also enjoyed working with the train crew, the conductor, engineers, brakemen and the teens that work as hosts and concession workers. She learned about trains and loves to hear that lonesome whistle blow. Michelle's always happy to entertain an audience. She solos with keyboard and fiddle at the Potter Valley Café (707-743-2848) on Saturday nights. She's entertained people across the state on riverboats, trains, and on the stages and streets of fairs, festivals and fiddle contests. Michelle learned to clog dance at workshops led by Eileen Carson, whose dance troupe, Footworks, has performed with Michael Flatley and Riverdance. Eileen travels around the world performing and teaching choreography and dance. Scotland's traditional fiddle and dance and vibrant new fusion music was a focus for Michelle's music when she was 12. She traveled with her sister to study Scottish fiddle and dance on the Isle of Skye for a summer. They traveled to the Western Hebrides and played with many different musicians and learned a few songs in Gaelic from the natives. She learned the musical language of Scottish fiddle. The people of Round Valley supported a benefit performance by Michelle and Heidi that helped fund their trip.
You May Also Like
Page 1 of