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How Does Music Empower the North County Band?

Written by Scott Smith

North County BandI was a weird kid. Or at least I felt like I was.

Mom was a beautiful singer and was invited to join the New Christy Minstrels, but chose marriage and family over the life of a touring singer. I sang in the church choir at St. John’s Lutheran School but was asked to stand in the back and quiet my voice. I guess I was too loud for the chorus. Mom and I always sang together in the kitchen and I was perhaps the only kid in the Chicago suburbs who could sing every word to the Kenny Rodgers greatest hits album I got for my 8th birthday.

My folks bought me a guitar at age 12. My instructor Steve Accardo was the leader of a popular wedding band. I was in awe of his talent, and the sound of his big-bodied Guild guitar in the practice room was amazing.

Dad died suddenly when I was 16 and the next year I heard the song “That’s My Job” by Conway Twitty. The song brought me to tears and still does. If you lost your father and hear that song, I dare you not to cry. I had always been drawn to country music, but that song taught me its power.

These days I listen, write, and perform every chance I can. I chase that emotional connection in the music I listen to. I try to connect with others through performance, writing, recording, and talking with the people who come to hear us play.

Music is my meditation. It quiets my mind, focuses my energy, brings me closer to my loved ones, and has been the path to many new friendships. Mom is gone now and I think of her often. She did not get the chance to show off her fantastic voice to an audience. Trust me, we all missed out. Nowadays I sing along with my daughter while we both play the guitar. That is how music empowers me.

How does music empower the rest of the band?

Cat Lines - Fiddle, Lead Vocals

Cat Lines“I started playing violin when I was 8 years old.

I was very shy, and I never pictured myself singing or being onstage in any capacity outside of orchestra.

After attending music camp and continuing with my in-school music programs, I felt more confident and began taking more risks; moving to New York, auditioning for bands, singing, and touring.

Music has empowered me to own my space, advocate for causes I believe in, and push myself to do things that scare me. Understanding and participating in music is not just a good thing, it's a NECESSARY thing, because it empowers us to be better, stronger, and more empathetic towards each other, and with that power, we can change the world for the better.”

Jona Ziac - Lap Steel Guitar, Dobro

Jona Ziac“Learning to play music gives you access to another language that you can use to express yourself and have musical conversations with others. It teaches you how to be part of a team by working together as a band and supporting each other, but it also lets you express yourself as an individual.”

Peter Hill - Drums, Songwriter

Peter Hill“Learning how to play music is learning how to believe in yourself. When you begin to play with other musicians, you learn about love, trust, and respect. And when you play for an audience, love is radiated out to everyone. You can’t see it and you can’t touch it, but it's real and they can feel it. It’s just about the best feeling in the world.”

Bradley Clark - Bass Guitar

Bradley Clark“Music has empowered me to forge some of the strongest interpersonal relationships that I otherwise would not have developed. It has provided a soundtrack to the stages of my life and continues to fuel the creative fire inside of me.”

To us, country music is about storytelling. We aspire to evoke emotion, conjure memory, and connect with our audience in a way that makes everyone involved feel good. Musical performance is a two-way street, and, at its best, a real love fest. We have seen friends become fans and fans become friends. The happy stories bring smiles, while the sad stories have the potential to heal.

North County Band

About the Author

Scott SmithAn associate professor of legal studies at Post University, Scott spends much of his time with his students teaching Introduction to law, business law, and cyber law in person and online.  He is an elected member of the Zoning Board of Appeals in his hometown of Redding, CT, and a busy father of three teenagers. Scott is the former board president of the Boys & Girls Club of Redding-Easton and an active volunteer at the Bridgeport Rescue Mission.

Scott is the band leader, lead vocalist, guitarist, and one of the primary songwriters for the North County Band - the group he founded in 2020.

Catch Scott along with Jimmy Johnston (lead guitar, lead vocals) and the rest of the Band for North County Band - "Connecticut" Album Release Party on Friday, October 28 at the Bijou Theatre. This concert will benefit SpreadMusicNow.

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