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 Stratocastermaybe
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
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
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.