Veronica Ann doesn’t want to be contained. Though she performs mostly as a solo act—singing and accompanying herself on guitar—her mission on stage is to take songs and make them …
Veronica Ann doesn’t want to be contained. Though she performs mostly as a solo act—singing and accompanying herself on guitar—her mission on stage is to take songs and make them “bigger.” Just sitting on a stool for her River Recordings performance was a bit too restrictive for comfort.
“It feels so weird sitting and playing,” she said in between songs. “Even when I’m at home I never sit down, I’ll just walk around the house with a guitar.”
Like many musicians, Veronica hates getting asked to describe her “style.” Most often she resorts to modesty, “I’m just a girl with a guitar,” she’ll say, belying the types of songs she’s drawn to, “songs that I can make big, just belt out.”
Veronica draws from an eclectic array of influences: Fiona Apple, The Talking Heads, CAKE, Ani Difranco, Keller Williams and John Prine, to name a few. Going to music festivals and seeing jam bands like Dopapod and Hayley Jane and the Primates have also been formative in defining what she hopes for the future of her sound.
“For me, jam bands are about having extreme talent without taking yourself too seriously,” she said.
The Upper Delaware Valley region singer-songwriter, who is also currently working at The River Reporter as managing editor, has had a relationship with music in one form or another for her whole life. Veronica performed her first full-length show a few months ago at The Dancing Cat Saloon, which she said should have happened long ago. Things got delayed a bit after graduating from Kutztown University, when she put music on the backburner due to some insecurities, despite getting a positive response whenever she performed at campus open mics.
“We’re kind of our own worst enemies,” she said. When things started to pick up again this year, Veronica finally told herself, “For this you’ve got to not listen to yourself and just listen to everyone else.”
With the first gig out of the way, Veronica began making up for lost time, starting a semi-weekly residency at the Cat, doing gigs regularly around Sullivan County and attending weekly open mics at Rafter’s Tavern in Callicoon, NY, the Town Crier Cafe in Beacon, NY and the Colony in Woodstock, NY. Veronica’s career has been mostly contained within New York State, but as part of the River Recordings series, she’ll be performing at Here & Now Brewing Co. in Honesdale, PA on Friday, December 27 with John Kresse and John Manzi from 7 to 10 p.m.
Over the past few months ago, Veronica has also experienced the thrill—as well as the inevitable frustrations—of collaborating with other musicians, something she hopes to continue doing in the future, feeling somewhat “boxed in” doing vocals and guitar on her own.
“I would just have the most fun with a band that could jam, shred, while I dance around and do whatever,” she said.
Whether it’s forming a group, getting herself gigs, or writing more original music, Veronica is hard on herself for not doing more of it, and sooner. Turning the cliche narrative of the aspiring musician on its head, for years Veronica saw her music as her safety net.
“I just always thought, ‘Oh if you can’t find a job you can always sing somewhere,’” she said. “And now I just really have to make it more of a priority.”
There are no set plans yet, but Veronica sees herself one day moving to a bigger city and getting engrossed in the music scene there. In the meantime, she’s working on writing more original music, finding more musicians to work with and more ways to make songs big on stage.
“A friend of mine told me recently that I should play a soft song, and I just said, ‘No, that’s boring.’ Parts of songs might be soft but… I need something I can really dig into.”
Click here to watch Veronica perform a mini-set in The River Reporter's office, and see her performing a full, live set at Here & Now Brewing Co. on Friday, December 27, 7 to 10 p.m. Keep up with her music on Facebook.
The River Recordings series is sponsored in part by A.M. Skier Insurance.