Every year when the Key West Songwriter’s Festival comes to town we always get the special privilege of taking some of the singers and songwriters out for a day on the water on a yacht we charter out of Key West. It’s a chance for them to relax, have some fun and see some of the sights from the ocean side. As you might imagine, there’s a lot of singing and dancing that goes on. I look forward to this trip every year.
Three years ago, on one of these trips I had the pleasure of meeting country singer-songwriter, Liz Sharpe and her band, Little Feather. Being the gracious, spontaneous group that they are, they gave us an impromptu performance right there in the salon of the boat. We laughed and we sang to original tunes like the Hillbilly Love Song. It was an unforgettable afternoon. If you have spent any time in the islands at all, you know we appreciate a welcoming, comfortable, intimate vibe; where you instantly feel like you’re among old friends. This is what it’s like to watch a Little Feather performance. They draw you in and make you feel like family.
Liz comes to us originally from Pikeville, Kentucky, born with music in her soul. Her mom sang and her dad played the accordion and guitar. As a tiny girl of three, she said to her mom “I AM music!” and they instantly knew she was born to sing. They bought her a piano and she’s been singing and writing her own music ever since.
When she was just five years old, Liz moved to a little house on Dolphin Drive in Treasure Island, Florida with her mom. This is where her love of the ocean began. She grew up around the water and as a teenager she worked in a surf shop and spent a lot of time on the opposite coast riding the waves. When I asked her what she does for fun when she’s not singing, she replied, “Surf, rock climbing, riding horses and yodeling!”. She’s got this retro-modern yodel that will rock your world. There’s not a dull moment with this girl!
When it comes to living life on her own terms doing the things she loves, Liz Sharpe has it figured out. After high school she went to Australia for a year to get some of her general studies out of the way while surfing and experiencing the beach lifestyle on the other side of the world. After that she came back and got her degree in music. She studied composition, classical piano and conducting. She finally made her way back home to the Appalachian mountains and came into her own with her own band Little Feather. She has been described as “Country as cornbread but fresh as tomorrow’s twitter feed.” She can’t be described any better than that.
Liz married a man, Aaron Spraggs who shares her love of music and now she is fortunate enough to work with him every day. He is the drummer and percussionist for the band. Together, they write music and create lyrics – lot’s of them. They have a new record deal and have spent the last year creating their first album that will be out any day now. They have written and composed over 100 songs. The goal was to create an album that tells the story of where they came from and what they stand for. They narrowed their list of songs to 40 that they felt were story worthy and struggled to narrow it down even more. The reason for the abundance of material is her passion for songwriting. For Liz, there is nothing better than sitting down with other people (sometimes with just her band, sometimes in collaboration with other songwriters) and tossing around ideas. The synergy formed between a group of creative people can be an intoxicating experience and it’s never long before the ideas begin to flow.
The band members are a close knit group. Liz describes her relationship with them akin to having a bunch of brothers. Sam Brooker plays rhythm guitar and sings low harmony; Seth Costner plays the banjo and mando and sings high harmony; Dylan Rowe plays bass guitar; Liz plays the piano and ukelele and sings; and Aaron plays the drums and percussion. When you go to see them play, make sure you check out Aaron’s specially made drum set in a suitcase!
Today she lives in the heart of Nashville, Tennessee with her husband Aaron in Loretta Lynn’s old condo with a tiny teacup poodle named Sophia and a 20 lb. Bengal cat named Toby. Coincidentally, Loretta Lynn and Patti Loveless both happen to be distant cousins – the apple really doesn’t fall far from the tree!
This year’s Key West Songwriter’s Festival will kick off a summer of touring for the band. They have spent the last year writing and recording their album so they are all eager to get on the road. Armed with a new record deal, a new album and plenty of energy and inspiration, this band is going places!
This year, Liz has agreed to help Zonta Key West for Radio Days on May 9th. This benefit is to raise money for programs designed to benefit the local women of Key West and the Florida Keys. Little Feather will perform for the event which takes place at the Bottlecap Lounge in Key West from 4-8pm. See page 6 for more information.
For more about Little Feather