Biography

C.C. StevensRoddy Barnes

for “The C.C. Show” press release, click here.

C.C. Stevens’ Bio

C. C. Stevens

Well, I guess I just have to say that I have been blessed.  I grew up in a small town on the southeastern border of North and South Carolina.  I wasn’t born poor, but I was far from rich.  The daughter of Jimmy, a grain and produce farmer, and Beth, a local RN.  I had five grandmothers still alive when I was born and one grandfather, which calculated into a lot of love.  I stood out as quite an odd-ball, as there were no theatrical people in my family.  The closest to show-biz anyone got was a father in the “make a joyful noise” church choir, and a wild grandmother who loved to dance from sundown to sunrise.  However, I was surrounded by a bunch of creative characters.

At age two, I asked to enroll in dance classes, by three, I was on stage shaking my ruffled bottom at hundreds of audience members.  The only way to sing in my southern town was to be in a church choir or to be a beauty queen.  So, I was in the first children’s choir of my church and went on to become the first beauty queen to carry the town’s name.  By graduation, I had helped with the restoration of the Community Theater, and starred in every theatrical production during all of my high school years.

After graduation, I continued my education, majoring in Theater and English at East Carolina University.  ECU was one of the top universities in the country for theater and, therefore, very competitive.  I was a small fish in a big sea, so instead of giving up, I found a way to excel with set construction, costuming, and singing karaoke.  I went on to become a bartender and made the bar my personal stage—dancing, singing, and telling jokes.  I finally moved on to open mic nights, fell in love and learned my love’s favorite song.  During that a capella number, I watched the crowd of over a hundred go hush (thank God out of awe and not disgust).  I was then encouraged to join a band, and found that I knew little about music theory and missed acting.

After singing at one open mic night, I was approached by an admirer and informed that I need to go to the Augusta Heritage Blues Week at Davis and Elkins College and take classes under Gaye Adegbalola.  Well, that was some of the best advice I have ever received!  The woman taught me to focus not on what I didn’t know but what I did.  She gave me confidence, and when I found myself broken-hearted and lost, my only goal was to save up enough money to get back to this blues mentor.

A year later I would return to Gaye’s class and I made sure I was unforgettable.  She then took me under her wing and I was able to watch and assist on the road with her and her band “Saffire-The Uppity Blues Women.”  While on the road I was complaining about how nobody did the vaudeville-type performances like my hero Bette Midler.  She told me to stop complaining and carry on the craft myself.  She suggested that I work with her personal accompanist, Roddy Barnes.

The very talented and hilarious Roddy Barnes was in from the word “go” and the writing and rehearsing commenced in January, 2010, and by April, we opened.  Today, I am continuing to learn the business of show and rounding up the loyal fan base we have been honored to gather since 2010 in preparation for our 2012 tour.  Again, I am blessed to have such talent on stage with me, and such love and support in the crowd.  I hope to do this for a life time!

Roddy Barnes’ Bio

www.roddybarnes.com

Roddy Barnes

Roddy Barnes was born in 1963 in Blanchard, Iowa, a small rural farm town of around 100 people.  His parents, Kenneth and Carol Barnes, were pig and grain farmers and some of Roddy’s first memories are of many hours in the bean fields, pulling weeds.  To amuse himself, Roddy would make up songs as he worked – the start to his musical creativity.

His first musical influence was church. Roddy’s parents had an old upright piano and at age four, he began picking out hymns. Singing was also a strong passion and his first solo, “Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam,” he performed at age five.  His first music gig came at age 15 where he played and sang in a local hotel, “The Walnut Inn” in Tarkio, Missouri.

In high school, he was awarded Musician of the Year three consecutive years, the Chopin Award and the John Philip Sousa Award both two years straight, was a member of district and state band and district chorus. He received #1 rating at the state level on solo piano, trumpet, and voice. In 1979 as a high school sophomore, he was accepted into the United States Collegiate Wind Band which performed in New York, England, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and France.

In 1981 Roddy was awarded full scholarships to both Missouri Western State College and Kansas University. He chose MWSC. While in college, he studied classical piano, trumpet, voice, composition and theory. As a composer, he wrote an original score for “Death of a Salesman” performed at the Missouri Repertory Theatre. He also composed music for a commercial about safe sex and scored a short film. He was awarded a grant to the Aspen Music Festival where he studied under world-renowned pianist Rita Sloan-Gottlieb.

After receiving his B.A. in Classical Performance in 1988, he was awarded a scholarship to study in France under Francois Rene Duchable. While in France, he performed in blues clubs in several French cities. He was featured in a French paper called “Le Dauphine” where, it read “(he) has conquered by his talent all the music lovers of the city of the Ducs.”

In 1990, Roddy applied for, and received, a scholarship to the Berkley School of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. Along with his studies, he performed blues throughout the city. Roddy returned to the Midwest in 1992 and recorded his first album, “Roll with the Punches,” in Kansas City, MO.

New Orleans lured him south where he was able to perform 10 gigs a week. Some of the more notable venues were Tipitinas, Maxwell’s Toulouse Cabaret, and The Common Ground. While in New Orleans, he recorded three more CDs — “Unseen,” “Betrayed,” and “Blues Boogie and Soul.” From his “Betrayed” CD, his composition, “Because of You,” was recorded by the international blues act, Saffire – The Uppity Blues Women, on Alligator Records.

To advance his career, Roddy moved to Austin, Texas in 1996. He was a monthly feature on John Aielli’s “Ecclecticos” on KUT radio showcasing his original songs. He also recorded his 5th CD, “Broken Wing.” From this CD, another of his compositions, “Let the Gin Do the Talking,” was covered by Saffire.

2004 found Roddy in Richmond, Virginia, to collaborate with other artists.  Two songs from his 6th CD, “Ballads and Barrooms,” are being covered by blues artist Ann Rabson on her solo recording. (Ann is a founding member of Saffire.) The Saffire connection continues as Roddy works with another founding member, Gaye Adegbalola, performing classic blues – blues mainly from the 20′s and 30′s by divas such as Bessie Smith, Alberta Hunter and Ma Rainey. Further, Roddy works with Filipe Rose (the Indian of the Village People) doing musical compositions, arrangements and accompaniment. He also continues to perform solo.

In 2007, Roddy wrote original music and lyrics for an adaptation of The Velveteen Rabbit (adapted by KB Saine), which was performed at Sycamore Rouge in Petersburg, VA.   Roddy was also commissioned to write the original music and lyrics for the PBS show “Cultivating Life.”

Roddy has continued to perform across the United States and in other countries such as France, Africa, and Germany.  In 2010 Roddy joined in as one of the primary partners and accompanist for “The C.C. Show”—a vaudevillian show of various music wrapped around comedy and dance, starring the shows founder C.C. Stevens.

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