FAIRFIELD — Sarah Madsen recently had “the talk” with fellow members of the Napa-based band Grass Child.
She wanted to uncover their intentions and let them know her vision – a gig on TV’s “Saturday Night Live.”
Big dreams for a woman who, out of “complete and utter boredom,” learned to play her mom’s piano. It helped that someone had written the notes on the keys.
Madsen would match her voice to the sound of the note to hone her vocal skills.
In her mid-20s, Madsen began working with a funk cover band.
“It taught me versatility,” she said of the experience.
Then, it was on to a tribute band that toured the country.
One day she broke one of her own rules, which was not to mix business with music. Madsen was working as a sales representative and a contractor in the solar field. She met Brant Roscoe, a custom home builder who founded a band in 1990 under the name of Gypsy Grass Child, at a job site.
They struck up a conversation about music. She ended up singing to him and was invited to jam with the other band members.
The music began to flow and Madsen found herself doing a freestyle tune about noodles.
“When we were done, I was so tickled,” she said.
She and Roscoe handle the songwriting. Madsen brings in influences from singer-songwriters such as James Taylor and Fiona Apple.
Being a child of the 1980s, Madsen said Prince has to be at the top.
“I adore everything about the man,” she said. “Every speck of his talent.”
Madsen said it’s hard to peg the band’s sound. Rather than a musical style, she prefers to think of it as a groove.
Grass Child has a knack for jamming, particularly on songs that match their mood, she said.
The next few weeks are busy for the band.
On Wednesday, they opened for Greg Allman at the Uptown Theatre in Napa. Friday is a gig at Silo’s.
Two BottleRock shows are on tap next weekend.
Then there are 15 Grass Child songs waiting for a home.
“They’re like illegitimate children until you record them,” Madsen said. “Like babies floating in the universe, needing a forever home. You have to immortalize them.”
Stage time hasn’t kept her from getting nervous when facing a gig. The band will open BottleRock on the main stage at noon May 30. They will also perform the evening of June 1.
The first show is the one she’s fretting about the most. The most people she’s played before at once was about 3,000 and she was a backup singer, she said.
“We’ve got to get up there (on stage) and bring everyone in,” she said. “I don’t want to just be singing to the crickets.”
Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.