The Cape is home to many transplants, people who come for one reason or another, fall in love with the coastline, and plant their roots. Singer-songwriter Monica Rizzio earned the nickname Washashore Cowgirl when she moved here from Texas in 2004 and began playing the local music circuit. On Saturday, May 25, Monica will perform a concert at one of Falmouth’s newest intimate music venues, The Gallery on Main.
In 2013 Monica left American group Tripping Lily after serving as the frontwoman for touring and releasing four albums. She spent the next few years performing as a solo artist and rediscovering her roots. She listed her early influences as artists like Willie Nelson, Patsy Cline and Guy Clark. “I feel that Texas music encompasses a broad array of genres including blues, gospel, country, jazz, Tejano, etcetera,” she explained of her cowgirl roots. “It really does reflect the history and diversity of the Southwest.”
She said that attending Irish siesuns and bluegrass jams on the Cape opened her musical palate to a whole new world of music.
Monica recorded her debut album, “Washashore Cowgirl,” at Brick Hill Studio with Jon Evans (bassist for Tori Amos and Sarah McLachlan) producing. She cut the album over the course of 18 months, calling in favors from musician friends to play on it.
The album was well received and gave her opportunities to play bigger stages, opening for acts like Boz Scaggs and Joan Osborne.
“I made the tactical error of inviting Monica Rizzio to share the stage with me at Symphony Hall,” singer-songwriter Tom Rush is quoted as saying, “and she stole the audience right out from under me.”
When not recording or touring, Monica, who is a multi-instrumentalist, teaches at West Bend Music, a roots-based music education business in Dennis Port where she is a founder and co-owner.
This October she will be releasing a new album she recorded in Nashville called “Sunshine is Free.”
“It was an incredible experience to be back in there,” she told me. “I left Nashville back in 2003 to move back East and have been feeling for a while that it was time for me to return. I spent most of last fall traveling down there monthly to do a lot of writes and reconnect with a lot of my old pals. It was wonderful to work with so many incredible musicians.”
Donny Cross, co-owner of The Gallery on Main, told me he is really excited to host Monica at his venue. “I have watched Monica since her years with Tripping Lily. I actually did a gig with her a long time ago. I was in another act. She is for real and she’s on the move right now. It’s exciting to see her out there touring and getting it done. We want to support her in a big way, especially as a Cape Codder,” he said. “We gotta pull for each other.”
Sounds like some pretty good hometown love for a washashore.