One song at a time. That’s how Colorado’s Barbara Jo Kammer approaches her passion as a music therapist, her life as a performer, and it’s how she navigated the challenging journey to recovery from decades of alcohol addiction. One Song at a Time also happens to be the fitting title of Kammer’s debut solo album.
A pleasing collection of American Roots music, One Song at a Time was produced by KC Groves, award winner and founder of the group Uncle Earl. Groves brought together a stellar group of players to support Kammer on her debut project.
With the help of a crowd-funding campaign through the Indiegogo website, Barbara Jo set her sights on the lifelong goal of recording an album. Kammer is something of a poster child for the mantra, "it’s never too late." She proudly shares 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 says.
In addition to her role as performer and band leader, Kammer is an active music therapist working with elders in retirement communities. She also works with other women struggling with addiction/alcoholism. Kammer has pledged a portion of CD sales to Harmony Foundation, the Colorado addiction treatment center that the artist herself attended.
The new album includes a pleasing selection of covers and two original songs that deftly weave Kammer’s own personal story. Her version of the George Jones hit, "Choices" is nothing short of inspired, and the inclusion of the classic "I Can See Clearly Now" is a brilliant addition. Traditional favorites and popular classics show Kammer’s versatility with a powerful voice that is reminiscent of greats like Linda Ronstadt, Joan Baez, or Mary Chapin Carpenter.
The album includes a poignant original tune written by Barbara Jo. "The Winning Side" is an honest and personal glimpse at the artist’s journey through addiction.
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
~ from "The Winning Side" by Barbara Jo Kammer
The singer/songwriter began harmonizing to commercial jingles at the tender age of 2, according to her mother. Dad was a Barbershop singer who harmonized with his young daughter, and introduced Barbara Jo to her first Bluegrass Music with the song, "Mountain Dew."
With a seasoned band of musicians called the Hippie Buckaroos (Doug Lindsay, Bob Backlund, Norm Strassner, Jeff Becker, and Darryl Thompson) Barbara Jo has become a popular fixture on the acoustic music scene in and around Colorado. The group was named among the Best 10 Cover Bands in Colorado by Westword Magazine in 2016.
"Singing has carried me through my entire life - all through grade school, high school, college, with country, blues, rock, jazz bands, and classical training," Kammer says. "Now, I work with elders in retirement homes and as band leader for Barbara Jo and The Hippie Buckaroos. I am one grateful singer for sure."