SKANEATELES | A crowd of about 40 people gathered to celebrate the release of a new children's album called Twirl and hear live music by Texas native Floramay Holliday in the warm, relaxed atmosphere of Creekside Books & Coffee Tuesday evening, Aug. 13.
"I can't tell you how nice it is to be in Central New York," the artist told her audience. "It's 104 degrees in Texas right now. I did go swimming today. It was glacially cold."
The euphonious night began with guitarists Loren Barrigar and Mark Mazengarb, who warmed up the crowd with some Bob Dylan and Dizzy Gillespie tunes, along with some fast-paced country and a western medley.
Their intricate fingerstyle and strumming drew hearty applause from the listeners. Not long after Holliday took the stage, Barrigar and Mazengarb joined her and played a couple songs along with Holliday's husband Gabor Racz on harmonica.
Creekside's intimate setting provided great audience participation, and several raffle winners were able to take home Twirl merchandise.
Twirl is Holliday's first self-produced educational children's album, an album she has wanted to create for years.
"My husband and I have been making up these silly songs for our two daughters for a long time," Holliday said. "One day I met a neighbor who had a studio, so while the kids were at school we began recording these songs. It took nine months to record and produce. It was a labor of love."
The album features a rich variety of country, blues, gospel and some raps and waltzes. Her two daughters and husband can be heard singing on the album as well.
"I really enjoyed doing a children's album because there's no right or wrong way to make a children's album," she said.
A couple of weeks earlier, Holliday had done a performance for children. At Creekside, she played mainly folk, country and "Texas swing" songs. She, along with Barrigar and Mazengarb, played mostly acoustic guitar, and Barrigar also played electric guitar for a couple of songs. She performed three songs off TwirL to give the audience an idea of the album's contents.
"My favorite kind of music to perform is Americana, songs with country and blues influences," Holliday said. "I like sending a positive message through the lyrics that have a deeper meaning to them."
Holliday became interested in music at a young age, and she is involved with many musical acts today. She is currently a member of Sis Deville, an all-female rock group, when she's not doing her solo work.
"I started playing guitar when I was 15," she said. "I loved poetry, and I liked brightening it up with music. We had a family band called The Roseheath Ramblers."
"We usually do a concert with Floramay every summer," Mazengarb said.
Holliday and her family have been visiting Skaneateles every summer since 2001 to "escape the Texas heat."
"I love coming to Skaneateles," she said. "My husband's family has had a camp on the lake for 40 years. It's a great way to have an old-fashioned summer."
Closing with "Rollin' In My Sweet Baby's Arms," Holliday, Racz, Barrigar and Mazengarb bestowed a great night of assorted music on those at Creekside that night.