Bio

I write lots of songs. I record them with my partner Brian, and sing them for people.  I also write prose, most recently about the power of music to transform us.  For my bread and butter, I work with elders as a musical healer and entertainer, so I also sing songs these beautiful people know.  I love Michael Row the Boat Ashore and Amazing Grace.  I won’t sing songs I don’t love!   I enjoy performing but I also like to hole up and check out. (I am told it’s a Cancer/Aries rising thing.)

I am a lifelong nature devotee, barefooter, ENFP, novice meditator, book lover, and the pie maker in the family. I am trying to learn all I can about love, peace, and happiness in this wow-it-really-is short and strange life before it is over. I am not a saint or an angel (not even close), but I believe in the Golden Rule and try to follow it.  I am blessed with enormous gifts from the Land Where the Songs Come From. Not something I earned, and I don’t understand it, but I am grateful and astounded every single time a new song is born.

At Genghis Cohen’s in LA

While living in San Diego in the 1990’s, I was part of a vibrant and wonderful musical scene that included Jewel, Lisa Sanders, Steve Poltz, Jeff Berkeley, Gregory Page, and Cindy Lee Berryhill, all who are still making music and  rockin’ it.  One year I won “Best Acoustic Artist,” as judged by San Diegans and another year I performed in the Lilith Fair. I started my own label, Brew in 1995.  I have released nine albums on Brew, the most recent is The Light Inside You in 2019, by Waterwitch, a collaboration with Brian Castillo and other fantastic musicians.

As I mentioned, my thing is writing songs, and it is something I do rain or shine, depressed or happy.  I have written hundreds of songs, inspired by myths, nature, other people, and just living.   I like to connect with people and jump into the moment with music when I perform.  I have been influenced by pop and rock and country, but most of all by the folk and old-time music that I grew up with, hearing my father play every night after dinner.  More than anything, I listen to the whispers in the wind and in my own heart, seeking to speak to what really matters.   

Sandbox Oak by Adam Wolpert

Timeline Bio:

Pre-1986: Born where Dorothy was in the barren state of Kansas, during a tornado.  Moved to Washington State at age two, grew up listening to bow-tie wearing, hillbilly psychiatrist father play old time, bluegrass, and Dixieland banjo after dinner.  Began writing secret songs on guitar and Appalachian dulcimer as a teenager while living in Olympia Washington.  Majored in English at University of Washington, ate up the words of the very best.

1987-90: Lived on a lake beside a mountain near Victoria Canada, became a born-again pagan who could do a pretty good raven croak, wrote a flood of ecstatic songs and a dozen or so short stories.  

1990: First release: cassette tape of The Other Side, recorded at the University of Victoria radio station on 1960s quarter inch reel-to-reel tape.  I still perform some of these songs:  Sailing, Aphrodite, Glory Ride, It’s Raining in the Forest. 

1991-95: Moved to San Diego and started performing at coffee houses and clubs.  Fell in love with the warm ocean, eucalyptus trees, and big golden cliffs.  Wrote a lot of love songs and funny songs and questing songs and yet more power-of-nature songs.  Some people always wanted the funny songs, others preferred the witchy ones.

1995: Released my first CD The Cauldron in San Diego on my own label, Brew Records:  recorded out in the boonies with an eclectic and brilliant bunch of punk, classical, pop, and folk artists.  Moved away from record deals and out to the desert mountains, wrote a lot of songs sung into a mini-cassette recorder while traipsing around in the sagebrush with my wolf dog, Sila.

1995: Voted “Best Acoustic Artist” in the San Diego Music Awards.  The Cauldron nominated for best album. 

1995-97: Several tours of the west coast and the US, played SxSW and NxNW, regular performances in San Diego and LA.  Opened for Shawn Colvin.  Wore a lot of velvet.

1998:  Performed in the Lilith Fair with Sarah McLaughlin and others.

1998: Conceived of and performed a “Living Room Tour” with fellow artist and pal Cindy Lee Berryhill, organized by internet fans & friends.  Started playing and writing on the banjo, the hillbilly groove came to me right natural.  

1998: Released Naked and Shouting/Live at the Auld Sod as a cassette tape.  

2000: Released Dear Friends, a 36-song limited collector’s edition CD which included spoken word stories about the songs and a personalized track for each purchaser.  Excellent vine doodles on the cover. 

2001: Returned from California to Olympia, WA to be near the old folks and enjoy the clouds again.  I loved San Diego, but really did miss clouds.

2003: Got a day  job working as a Legislative Assistant at the Washington State Legislature. 

2002-03: Conceived of, produced, and hosted “Open Stage for Peace,” a weekly standing-room-only venue for spoken word artists and musicians in Olympia who did not want the US to invade Iraq.  Some of my songs became more political at this time, commenting on war and the hurting of people and planet.  Did a 10-day Vipassana meditation course:  songs about peace and mindfulness.

2003: Recorded American Stories in a closet, toured the west coast a bit. 

2004: Tiny release of Teach Me, an EP recorded in Olympia with Carl Dexter.

2005:  Moved out to the water and bought a house. 

2006: Released The Turning Point, produced and recorded with partner Brian Castillo in the Waterwitch Cathedral. 

2009: Released Waterwitch, a folk-groove collaboration with Brian Castillo.  Started composing and tracking on a rescued Hammond organ a neighbor was taking to the dump. 

2010-14: Performed a slew of fundraising concerts and other random shows, kept writing and recording new songs.  Discovered extra joy in singing, deepened my relationships with incredible musicians in the area who joined me on stage and in the studio many times.  Added a video studio to the Waterwitch Cathedral, began production of videos with Brian for non-profits such as the Washington Toxics Coalition, other artists, and our own videos.

July 2014: Release of It’s About Time

2015:  Unexpectedly lost day job at the State Legislature–so long fancy secretary job!  Began new career as a music healer with elders in the Olympia area, starting as a volunteer.  Since then have expanded to working with individual families as well as facilities for elders.  Also have begun writing about my extraordinary experiences.

June 2019:  With Brian Castillo, released The Light Inside You by our collaboration, Waterwitch.