Wed 5 Dec 2007
Stefanie Pisarczyk, CMT, and I had scheduled a massage for 2 p.m. Sunday in her office above the Old Western Saloon. The 39-year-old therapist was to spend the better part of an hour stretching muscles, particularly in my shoulders, to improve my posture.
Stefanie’s office is cozy, and its views are striking. Outside one window, a stiff wind was making fronds wave like pompons on the 50-foot-high palm behind the Grandi Building.
But before the massage began, I took a few minutes to interview her about the world of Stafanie Keys (“rock star,” she said with a laugh). In that world, Stefanie just returned from a tour of the Seattle area as the featured artist with a band called 420 Funk Mob. She also just released a bluesy CD titled Say You Will.
Stefanie is a funky, bluesy, soulful singer/guitarist with a “ballady side” (her term). Her style of singing has often been compared with Janis Joplin’s. Indeed, the only song on the Say You Will album Stefanie didn’t write is a Janis Joplin standard, Try (Just a Little Bit Harder).
Stefanie acknowledged having been also influenced by such singers as Ricki Lee Jones, Bonnie Raitt, Aretha Franklin, and Carole King, but her main influence, she added, was her “family of musicians,” especially aunts and uncles and her brother Peter “Keys” Pisarczyk.
Peter is an accomplished keyboardist, hence his nickname “Peter Keys.” Stefanie said a backup singer in Peter’s band one day commented to her, “You must be Stefanie Keys.” Bemused by the moniker, Stephanie adopted it as her stage name.
Along with being a musician, her brother Peter is an owner of a recording studio back east, and its location beside the railroad tracks proved to be fortuitous when Stefanie was recording the hardest-driving song on the album, Freight Train.
The cut makes use of a variety of train sounds recorded just outside the studio, and what amazed her, Stefanie said, was that “the sound of the brakes and everything was in the right key.” Which happened to be E.
Stefanie told me she enjoys living in two very different worlds. In the world of Stefanie Pisarcyzk, CMT, she can be found at 415 328-2609 (or firstname.lastname@example.org). In the world of Stefanie Keys, rock star, her new CD Say You Will can be found in Point Reyes Station at Point Reyes Books and Toby’s Feed Barn.
To listen to some of Stefanie’s music and see a schedule of her upcoming performances check http://www.myspace.com/stefaniekeys although the version of Freight Train on the site lacks the train sounds. As it happens, the album contains two versions of the song, and the version on the site is the simpler, funkier reprise.