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Along came PolyJane 

Springs musician mixes feeling and funk on stage

PolyJane sings that she committed murder today, although she looks reasonably well-adjusted here.
  • PolyJane sings that she committed murder today, although she looks reasonably well-adjusted here.

She's a classically trained pianist who leans toward Romantic influences think Chopin and Schubert.

Her drummer's lived in Africa and is into reggae and Latin beats.

And the third musician currently on stage with her?

"He [plays] a funky-fresh, really just groove-driven bass," says Kristi Wilson, the Colorado Springs-based artist best known as PolyJane.

The different approaches, PolyJane notes, are what makes this trio unique. She wants "to make music that makes people think and feel." Drummer Kevin Garland, she says, wants to "make people move, give a good party vibe," and bassist Sean Pyrtle, who's played with local hip-hop artist Ahmad Mitchell, has that "funky-fresh" feel.

On "Murder" (see the video of a recent performance at Denver's Walnut Room at myspace.com/polyjanemusic), PolyJane resembles a younger Tori Amos, with a similarly haunting voice, haunting message ("I do not ask forgiveness / No matter what they say / PolyJane committed murder today") and crazy piano skills. She appears to feel every note, every word, with every single cell in her body.

And as with Amos, it's not unusual to find PolyJane, who's released a self-titled EP, playing two pianos at once while she sings. The former piano teacher says she played solo for so long, she still tries to produce sounds that help fill out a full-band sound.

"I have some amazing musicians that I'm working with [now, but] it's a transition. I'm still finding myself," she says, adding that when she plays on two pianos, she splits the keys up. "Piano, cello, violin ... I'm playing anywhere from four to six instruments while I sing.

"It's really cool, but it's really hard. It probably looks funny," she says, laughing.

She's used to looking a little different, though. In her school days, she played in a stage band that performed for the school's all-girl dance troupe; PolyJane was the only female musician. She wore a tux like the boys and played piano while the girls were in "feather boas, doing the cancan," she says.

While PolyJane does list Amos as an influence, as well as "anybody that's a girl that plays piano," the threesome also leans toward the music of Suzanne Vega and Beck. They'd also consider bringing a DJ into the mix, like Portishead, since their sound "has been compared to them a lot."

Right now, this stay-at-home mom of three young girls considers music "the thing I do for myself." But she says she'd love to have it blossom into a career. Until then, she's singing and playing wherever and whenever she can.

Because with life, PolyJane says, "You can't rewind it and relive it."

kakens@csindy.com

  • She's a classically trained pianist who leans toward Romantic influences.

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