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The Ramblin' Mike

A Tradition of Music - From Mother to Daughters
by Michael Guthrie

Live Music

In the early 1980s, Christine Beers started playing the Victory Open Mic at The Antique Sandwich in Tacoma, WA. She lived on Bonney Lake near Chris Lunn, the founder of Victory Music, but it was at the open mic that she met Chris who coached her on performing and gave her encouragement to play her music. Christine smiled when she spoke of the old days at The Antique Sandwich, which was a hub of acoustic music at the time. "Everybody played there and Chris was a great teacher and leader," Beers said.
Like for a lot of musicians, playing the Victory open mic helped Christine learn the skill of playing on stage and was a launching pad for her to play gigs. One of the resources Victory offered her was a musicians' referral service. She formed a duo with Cindy Strong and they played coffee houses and weddings. Christine was also writing songs at the time, and she and Cindy made their trek to Nashville to try to market the songs. As Christine recalls, she met with several publishers, but was told her songs were too folksy. (Gee, where have I heard this before? Doesn't Bob Dylan have a publishing company there? Oh, that's right, Alan Lomax did scorn Dylan at Newport when he brought out his Stratocaster—maybe that's why Dylan went to Nashville.) One can only applaud musicians like Christine for being brave enough to go there. Once she was asked by Green River Community College to come and play for their class on 1960's folk music. She also played the Shoreline Community College lunch concert series. Gigs kept coming in, sometimes playing in Idaho and Oregon.
Christine's music schedule started to take its toll on her husband Robert and their five young children. She decided to stop playing music and raise her children, a tough decision many of us have made.
The Beers family moved to Seattle around 1990 and soon after took a stab at running their own coffee house, The Acoustical Connection, on Holman Road. They extended their hospitality to Victory Music, offering their establishment for an open mic one night a week. Besides the weekly open mic, the Beers' hosted music on the weekends, with local performers like Laura Love, John Weiss, Kat Eggleston and Reggie Miles. Running a coffee house has to be one of the least lucrative business ventures one can take on. After one and a half years they were forced to close, due to a lack of business. I have heard of this venue from several people, so The Acoustical Connection lives on in our memories, 15 years later.
I first heard Christine sing at The Highliner Pub open mic. Tina and Eda, two of her daughters, sometimes sing duets at Murphy's and the Highliner. One night we were all treated to a trio of Christine, Tina and Eda. You can see the influence Christine has had on these two young singers. Christine recalls that when Tina was young she would ask her to show her chords to a song she was trying to learn but she didn't want mom just teaching her songs. Although Christine made the decision to raise her children instead of being a musician, she has passed on a folk tradition to her daughters, and hearing them sing three part harmony gives me goose bumps.
Tina Beers is a fine young songwriter with a voice that can cut your head off or soothe you with a sweet lullaby. She often plays solo at open mics, and she also plays in a band. Tina has her own sound and supports her vocals with good strong guitar rhythms that she no doubt learned from her mom. When you have a voice like Tina, you don't have to play a lot of complex guitar, at least in my opinion.
Christine Beers has been brushing up on her music and it's good to see her out again playing the music she loves. You can see her playing open mics at Murphy's and The Highliner, keeping true folk music alive. Maybe someday, when the grandkids get a little older, we will see three generations of Beers on stage.
I'll see you out there on the music highway, and don't forget to tip your wait staff!

Michael Guthrie is a singer/songwriter who regularly plays venues in the Northwest and is a Victory Music sound volunteer. He has produced his own CD and run his own coffee house/cafe, The Village Green Cafe, in Kaslo, BC from 1973-79. He studied sound engineering and recording at Sound Master Recording Studios in North Hollywood, CA in 1987.