Carrying a tune
Area crooners scheduling stops at local tavern in preparation for upcoming gigs
A Tonganoxie tavern this week will feature two performances by singers or bands with local ties.
Joey Glenn, a 2006 graduate of Tonganoxie High School, will sing at 9 p.m. Friday at Tuna's Tavern, 630 E. Fourth St.
And Virgil Ralph, a musician in the "Southern Yankees" band, will perform with the band from 10 p.m. until midnight Saturday. Ralph, a carpet installer, lives in Topeka and has worked the past three months for Tonganoxie's Midwest Carpet.
Joey Glenn, who when it comes to her music, just goes by the name of "Joey," is a hometown girl.
She lives with her parents, Jim and Judy Glenn, in the family home northeast of Tonganoxie.
And it's there -- or at least in this area -- that Joey wants to continue to live.
Area residents who'd like to hear Joey sing will have not one, but two chances this weekend. Joey will sing at 6 p.m. Saturday during the Douglas County Fair in Lawrence.
Joey, who is 18, cut her first vocal CD when she was 16. Wild Oats Records, Nashville, saw her perform and asked her to sign.
Her next CD is in the early stages of development and as of yet, Joey doesn't know under what label it will be produced.
But she's feeling optimistic.
"This is the one thing I've been thinking of since I was 3," Joey said, stretching her arms forward. "It's getting within reach, it's almost there."
When Joey performs Friday at Tuna's Tavern, her rented touring bus will be parked outside. And her musicians will be with her.
Country music fans may recognize names of musicians with Joey. They include, Chris Tarr, a steel player for Johnny Lee and other Grand Ole Opry performers; Bobby Vogel, lead guitarist for Loretta Lynn; Chris Fikes, lead guitar and fiddle, has recorded with Toby Keith and Rascal Flatts; Ty Campbell, bass guitar, played for George Hamilton IV and other Opry performers; and Bud Rawls, who has played keyboard for Neil Mccoy. Also with Joey will be drummer Rob D'Angelo.
Joey said she hopes to perform at more venues in the area, possibly casinos.
And in the next couple months she'll be focusing on putting out her new CD.
Here's the time frame on that:
- She'll record her songs in late August or early September. Her vocals will be mixed with tracks made by the band. The songs are fine-tuned, adding additional music or back-up vocals, and then the CD will be completed.
- After that, Joey will participate in a showcase in which she'll sing four or five of her CD's songs in front of an invitation-only audience, which, Joey's mother, Judy Glenn said, includes producers from big-name record labels, including corporations such as Sony, RCA and Warner Brothers.
"Hopefully, they'll all come to the showcase and watch me perform," Joey said.
She'll be performing with her band.
"And hopefully they'll like me and want to sign a label," Joey said.
One of the songs Joey plans to sing is, "The Look," a song written by Joey's guitarist, Major Bill Welch, a U.S. Army officer from Fort Leavenworth who currently is serving in Iraq. The song, which Joey sings, is about "the look" mothers give to their children when they want them to mind, sit up straight or stop fidgeting.
Joey said she gets her inspiration from other singers.
"But I think I sound like me," Joey said. "I don't try to sound like anybody else, that's not what I'm about."
She doesn't want to be a fake, she said.
"I just want to sound like Joey."
And, as she and Chris Ruff adjust to parenthood, with their son, Presley, who was born May 31, Joey's thinking about her son's future, as well.
She wants to stay at home, or near rural Tonganoxie, where her parents, Judy and Jim Glenn live, and work from here as much as possible. When she travels to Nashville, she plans to take Presley with her, and hire a nanny to watch him when she's working. The rest of the time, she said, she'll be with her son.
"He goes with us," Joey said of her son.
Joey, who also is a DARE spokesperson, has performed in front of large venues. Children, as well as adults, appreciate her singing, she said.
In fact, when Joey was at a Village West restaurant a little girl ran up to her.
Joey recognized her as a child she had pulled to the stage during a performance, and remembered her name. It was Rebecca Pippin.
"It was her eighth birthday," Joey said of the chance meeting in a restaurant, "and she sat there and we must've talked for 20 minutes."
Rebecca's mother, Lynne Pippin, Lansing, said the family planned to travel Saturday to Lawrence to hear Joey sing.
"Rebecca is Joey's biggest fan," Lynne said.
And, Joey is an influence on her daughter.
"She always wanted to be a singer, and when she met Joey and Joey was so nice to her, she let her come up and sing, Rebecca just thought she hit big time."
Joey said that's what it's all about.
"That just made my day," Joey said of realizing how much of a fan she had in a little girl. Joey smiles, shakes her head, her blond hair tumbling over her face, and added quietly, "I just thought it was awesome."
Joey said she's grown up a lot in the last year, especially after becoming a mother.
"I appreciate things more than what I did before," Joey said. "I appreciate my Mom and Dad and all the time and how they did what they did ... You don't know how much love you have for somebody until you have a baby, and then all the love in the world goes into the little baby.
Tears well in Joey's eyes.
Bright lights are nice. But Joey knows there's more to life than performing.
"I'm a pretty happy person," Joey said. "But pretty much I'm the happiest when I'm on stage or with my son and my family."