A couple weeks ago I received a text message from a friend of mine to check out this young lady named Erin Coburn. As I sat and watched these videos of this barely teenage gal strum and solo on the guitar and ukulele I was enthralled. Whether it was her up on a stage at some bar or her at home singing and playing the talent was and is exceptional.
While I was watching these YouTube videos, I was receiving private messages from two people involved with cultivating her talent her mom (of course) and Mr John Redell (her guitar mentor). John Redell told me he hasn’t done much with this talent. Erin has the ear and all he has done is just point her in a direction, and guide her. When John first noticed her at Jane’s Saddle Bag down in Big Lick Kentucky he knew she could do this, but Erin was tentative because of what her guitar teacher at the time was telling her. He (not John) told her that Erin would never be able to play and sing, but lucky for us she didn’t listen and she asked John to help her out. Her mom and dad have been supportive from the get go. Letting this barely teenage lady play in bars is something not a lot of parents would do, but they recognize her talent and Erin just wants to share it with everyone. That being said, through her Mom and John I was told to come to Sis’s in Newport and I could meet her and ask her some questions. I did, and I was amazed.
At 7pm on a Saturday night on Monmouth Street at a bar called Sis’s a 13 year old young lady took to the stage with her guitar and ukulele and her band mates, Erin Coburn and Cosmic Chaos. As I sat and watched from the back of the room I immediately noticed how comfortable she seemed. According to her, she gets really nervous beforehand but when she takes the stage she is in her element and that nervousness goes away. I believe that to be true for just about any musician. Through two songs I could see a well-rounded musician. It is one thing to have talent, but to command the stage that way, to bring the audience, in a sense, into your living room is something musician’s at least at her age, don’t find until years later. It’s almost as if she has been doing this for years when in all actuality she has only really been at it for about a year and half maybe two playing out at open mic night’s and shows of her own.
The show was a bluesy, country, bluegrassy, rock and roll trip. From songs such as Shake, Rattle, and Roll to Columbus Stockade blues and while these couple tunes maybe “oldies” she threw in a little Black Keys just to keep it in the now. Through her “Wah” pedal she nailed “All Along the Watchtower” which she played on her Ukulele, then went into “Come On Up to The House” by Tom Waits. Yes...Tom Waits. This show and the set list were all put together by Erin. It was a show that melded all kinds of styles into just one song. Such as “Stand By Me” done in sort of a country/blues jam. She took Sam Cooke and wove into a blues medley all the while still staying true to the song. It was an impressive sight to see, and all put together by Erin. John told me she has the ear. She has the ability to hear a song once and be able to play it back. That happened on Saturday night where she had heard this song, played it and learned it, then brought it to John and the boys to rehearse, and by Saturday night they played it having only practiced it one time. Not a whole lot of bands would do that, and that is something else Erin brings. The ability to just go for it, and have fun which is a tool she has in her back pocket to make a show even better. According to her she couldn’t be more grateful to her family and John Redell for supporting her and guiding her. According to Erin’s mom and John this has been her thing. Since she was 2 years old playing the guitar like and upright, and then when she was 8 and seriously learning how to play. In which she played a recital in front of about 1,500 people at WNKU. Erin has the tools and is taking them and running with them.
The show finished up to a rousing round of applause and an encore. All the while a smile was on her face which went from ear to ear. She was in her element on stage and “pickin’ and grinnin” as they say.
They played the last song, loaded up, and I went outside to meet them. Erin still smiling said “I could do this all night.” She was really excited. As we kept talking I asked her, “So where do you want to go with music?” She humbly and rather quietly said “Well of course I’d like to become famous, but I know this is music and I’m happy just playing shows. I do have a back-up plan though, you have to have a back-up plan right?” I said “Yeah, and that is?” She gave me an answer I was not expecting, but I had a feeling it had to be something big. As she paced coming down off the high that this show had just given her she said “I want to be a neuro-scientist and study at M.I.T.” She is well on her way with being a straight “A” student and saving her money from shows and working on the farm down in Union,Kentucky. She has big dreams and is working extremely hard to achieve them.
It is pretty amazing to see a thirteen year old get up on stage and own it. Having the confidence and the drive to always want more is something that will carry her through no matter where she goes. She is still 13 and her friends are supportive as well. They already feel like she is famous. At the very mention of “fame” she just sort of grinned. Erin has plenty to work on, and is getting into the studio to record an album. Again a place she seems very comfortable in.
Erin Coburn is a name you will want to remember. It will be like a freight train blazing down the rail seeing where this young lady goes musically. Erin Coburn has plenty of heart and big dreams, and with those two things and some hard work she is well on her way to some great places. Be on the lookout for this young lady as she gigs around town, and do yourself a favor and catch her out and about!