“If I’m being honest, I’m pretty shy and I get really nervous performing in front of crowds,” relates Natalie Lavonne, one half of the duo Natalie and JT. “In some ways I’d be just as happy writing the songs and having other people perform them.
“Don’t get me wrong,” Natalie continues, “I do enjoy singing, especially smaller venues like Off Broadway Taproom, and I do feed off a good crowd when they are really enjoying my songs. But I’m not sure I could do it in front of a big crowd.”
JT Shea has been playing in various bands for about five years, but feels much the same way. “My job is to stand back on the stage, behind the singer, and make the singer sound good and feel good,” says JT. “I guess you could say I’m shy just like Natalie. But we have these songs we want to share, so you have to get out on stage and put yourself out there.”
Natalie lives in Henry County, Kentucky, although she was born in Madison. Some live music fans may remember her from some years back when she was part of a popular duo that played Tiffany’s Lounge and other venues.
“I tell anybody who is looking to hear good live music, they need to come to Madison, even over going to Louisville or somewhere,” says Natalie. “Every player here is so good, and the town just seems to understand and appreciate quality music.”
JT is a La Grange, Kentucky native, born and raised, and lives there still. The pair met when JT was dating a friend of Natalie’s. One night they started playing and singing together and realized they made a great team.
They officially hit the ground as a working duo in October of 2019 and were having some success booking gigs and gaining a following. But then of course, COVID hit in March of 2020 and kind of threw a wet blanket on the live music scene. Things are starting to pick up again now, and they are even looking for a second guitarist to fill out their sound.
“When we play a bar or brewery we play a lot of covers, of course, in addition to some of our original songs,” says Natalie. “People can expect to hear Alanis Morissette, Melanie and even the Eagles. I guess you’d say our show is classic rock, blues, and 90s rock.
“I do most of the writing for our original songs,” says Natalie. “I’ll come up with the lyrics and even a basic melody, and I’ll kind of sing it into my phone recorder and send it to JT. He fleshes it out and turns it into a real song. He also does all our recording production at our basement studio. He’s a genius at that stuff!
“We have a four song EP coming out very soon. We actually released the first single from the album on Feb. 1, it’s called ‘Medicated.’ Charlsee Gandee sings backup on that track, and we’re very proud of it. We’re also working on video for Medicated, collecting footage and working on the final edit.
“I guess as we look to the immediate future we’re just looking to play more shows, make the circle a little bigger, and reach more people with our music. Our ultimate goal would be to sell a song! I can’t think of any bigger thrill than hearing some super star singing one of our songs on the radio and everywhere.”
HOT TIP OF THE WEEK
There is an interesting Two-Fer going on this weekend at Mad Paddle Brewstillery. Craig Philipp is an eminent chemistry professor and veteran bass player in a number of different bands. His band the Men’s Room is playing Friday at Mad Paddle, and it’s made up of Hanover students and professors, playing a mix of their favorite tunes. On Saturday Craig will be back with his band The Bottle Trees, which tends more to blues and rock fare. On Friday at Off Broadway Taproom Brother Smith will be blistering the place with their tight musicianship and vocal harmonies. These guys are the real deal, check them out.This Week in Music
Thursday, February 18
Mad Paddle Brewery — Brooke Hall
Friday, February 19
Mad Paddle Brewery — Men’s Room
Off Broadway Tavern — Brother Smith
Saturday, February 20
Mad Paddle Brewery — The Bottle Trees
Thomas Family Winery — David Wilson
Off Broadway Tavern — Jimmy Davis
Sherman Bier Garten (Batesville) — Rusty Bladen
Charlie Rohlfing is a retired advertising man and partner in The Red Bicycle Hall music venue. Look for his distinctive fedora bobbing above the crowd, anywhere live local music is happening.