Rainbow Girls at Headwaters
The Rainbow Girls — three young women who play acoustic guitars — play a style of folk music tinged with blues and nuanced with rock.
Based in Bodega Bay, California, just north of San Francisco where they share a house, the trio spends most of its time on tours. The Girls — Erin Chapin on guitar, slide and harmonica, Caitlin Gowdy on guitar and harmonica and Vanessa May on guitar — have toured the U.S., U.K. and Europe and have tentative plans to embark on a tour of Asian nations.
They’ll perform at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 26, at Headwaters, 84 Fourth St., Ashland. Singer, songwriter and guitarist Jeremy Meyer will open the show. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at rainbowgirls.bpt.me or at the door.
The trio’s newest album, “American Dream,” released in November, is a collection of three-part harmonies and lyrics that reflect experiences and emotions common to all people. Saturday’s concert will include performances of the songs, along with a few choice covers.
The Rainbow Girls formed in the winter of 2010, went through several personnel changes, and finally turned into a trio about two years ago.
Each of the young women began learning music while very young and started performing publicly in their late teens or early 20s. Singers and musicians who have influenced them come from a wide range of genres.
All three compose music and lyrics — sometimes individually and sometimes together.
“The process of composing varies from song to song,” May says. “Sometimes the tune will spill out of you into a puddle on the floor that’s ready to be splashed in, and other times the puddle grows slowly drop by drop.”
She adds that the band members collect lyrics and tunes in journals or on scraps of papers and sometimes put them together in songs months after writing them down.
The bluesy-folk sounds of the Rainbow Girls also carry a message.
“There are a few underlying themes throughout our music, but I feel the most pervasive one asks you to really examine the way things truly are, to be honest with yourself and the people around you,” Chapin says.
Gowdy says the band’s music might be described as a gang of sweet angels punching you in the heart. She adds, however, that the bandmembers’ aim is to inspire and encourage people who come to their performances.
“I hope people come away feeling better than they did when they arrived,” Gowdy says. “Music has that undeniable power to raise people up and attach them to each other through communal experience.”
“I want people in the audience to know they are not alone,” Chapin says. “I want to inspire people to live their dreams and embrace all the opportunities life gives them. I want to give them hope and inspire them to act.”
“It’s our job to remind folks that they are not alone in their suffering and pain,” she says. “We’re all human, and not a single one of us is above any of the mucky muck.”
The show is presented by the Ashland Folk Collective, an organization committed to bringing quality music to Southern Oregon and paying artists a living wage.
Founder Jacqui Aubert adds that there is no talking during the shows.
“We don’t want small talk going on during the performances, and we don’t serve alcohol,” she says. “We’re looking forward to the Rainbow Girls and their three-part female harmonies.