One Song at a Time is not just the title for Barbara Jo Kammer ‘s debut album, it is how she lives life. Hailing from Colorado, Barbara Jo and her Hippie Buckaroos have provided weekly nursing home outreach and music therapy thru their music, creating a healthy following of listeners throughout the region. They are one of the bands in Westword Magazine’s Best 10 Cover Bands in Colorado. Barbara has a passion for her work and has utilized her journey in recovery after decades of alcohol and drug addiction as a way to share her passions positively with others.
With the help of an Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign, Barbara Jo set her sights on her lifelong goal of recording an album. She proudly notes that her dream has come to fruition at age 62, a blessing that she credits to being in recovery since July 1, 2007. “I hope to inspire and bring joy to those who suffer from addiction.”
She recently marked 10 years of recovery and that milestone has simultaneously brought her musical journey to an amazing place. Her debut album entitled, One Song at a Time, is nothing short of the kinds of miracles that she partakes in every day in her musical therapy program’s success. It is also a musical representation of her own personal story of struggle and redemption
Joining forces with the musical expertise of KC Groves in Aaron Youngberg’s ever-increasingly celebrated Swingfingers Studio, this album is an American Roots gem. Producer, KC Groves, is an award winner and founder of the group Uncle Earl. KC helped Barbara select the instrumental, all-star Colorado music players for the album that included Tyler Grant, Sally Van Meter, Damon Smith, Erin Youngberg, Jake Simpson, Andy Dunnigan, Greg Blake and Mollie O’Brien.
Barbara opens the album with her rendition of “I Can See Clearly Now” which is a perfect opening to celebrate her recovery and how it has led to her being able to debut her first album. “I sing this classic reggae song in a bluegrass style with heartfelt enthusiasm,” said Kammer. “It is my Mom’s favorite song on the album and the perfect opener. Greg Blake and Mollie O’Brien join me with beautiful harmonies.”
Barbara Jo’s rendering of George Jones’ “Choices” would, in the words of her singing partner on some of the tracks Greg Blake, “bring a tear to a glass eye.” It is the perfect song about the heartbreak of active alcoholism and as Kammer said, “I know what it was like then, and I know what it is like now, clean and sober.”
The cover of Kate Wolfe’s “Medicine Wheel” is inspirational and one of her favorite songs to perform at her music therapy events for the elderly. “This incredibly beautiful, slow tempo folk song helps me understand the connectedness of all things and the healing power of nature,” said Kammer. “I sang this song for my Dad when he was in ICU, hospice, and his memorial service.”
Throughout the album it’s easy to visualize Barbara Jo dancing as she sings songs; one specifically that caught my ear and eye was “Mule Skinner Blues” – the yodeling was excellent! “I see this song as very empowering because the woman is singing about doing her job as good as any man,” said Kammer. “This is a very fun song – I had a blast recording it!” As a side note, she prefers to stand and sing rather than sit because music and dancing go hand-in-hand when lifting spirits.
Her original song and the song that brings the album full circle, “The Winning Side” is an honest, personal glimpse at her journey through addiction. One lyric that really sticks out about the power behind her journey is I used to create lots of chaos for me, my family and friends; had to give up the fight, admit I wasn’t right. There’s healing in living amends.
“KC Groves encouraged me to write a song about my recovery early this year,” said Kramer. “This is one of the first songs I’ve written and the first to be recorded. I’m passionate about my recovery and while my journey to recovery took over 40 years, I wrote this song two weeks before going into the recording studio. I celebrated my 10 year anniversary in sobriety this past July 1, 2017. My inspiration for writing this song came through loud and clear as I walked my dogs around Waneka Lake near my home in Lafayette, CO.”
Traditional favorites and popular classics show Kammer’s versatility with a powerful voice reminiscent of greats like Linda Ronstadt, Joan Baez, or Mary Chapin Carpenter. The album as a whole is a true American Roots delicacy that reminds me of a beautiful Fall day in the country with sweet melodies and heart-wrenching melodies. Barbara is the perfect poster child for the mantra, “it’s never too late.” She took on adversity and met it with strength and empowerment. The journey only gets better from here and she is a force to reckoned with because she will melt your heart and lift you up with her smile, style, and sound.
A portion of the sales for her album are being donated to Harmony Foundation Treatment Facility in Estes Park, Colorado.
Also, be on the lookout for her interview’s on WSM’s All Nighter Hosted by Marcia Campbell as well as Nashville’s Today Show with Devon O’Day. While in Nashville she also went to several meetings pertaining to future music endeavors and goals to continue her musical journey.
For more information on Barbara Jo Kammer:
About Harmony Foundation:
Nestled in a serene mountain setting, Harmony provides treatment for alcohol and drug addiction. Clients and their families are welcomed into a collaborative and respectful treatment process that utilizes accepted best practices in addiction treatment. Harmony promotes physical, emotional and spiritual healing, empowering our clients to embark upon the lifelong journey of recovery.
Story by: Amanda Andrews email@example.com