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Folsom returns for second Mission Valley Live performance

Colorado singer- songwriter Rebecca Folsom found her voice in an unusual place – the Egyptian pyramids.

Folsom said she tried to quiet the voice inside with studies in art, but on a trip to Egypt with her mother, when Folsom was in her late 20s, the voice came out. 

“I ended up doing sound studies in the pyramids on the Nile where they were studying which tones had the most reverberation. They needed a singer,” Folsom said in a telephone interview from her home in the mountains near Boulder, Colorado.

Folsom will be performing with her trio as part of the Mission Valley Live series on Friday, Sept. 28, at the Ronan Performing Arts Center. The concert starts at 7 p.m. As part of the mission of the non-profit, Mission Valley Live, Folsom will work with area students on Sept. 27 and 28. All youths 18 and under are admitted to the concert free. Single tickets for adults at the door are $15. Ronan musician Noah Carlson opens the show.

Folsom said singing in Egypt was a cathartic, liberating experience for her. And it reignited her teenage dreams of becoming a professional musician. 

“My voice was atrophied. It took two years to get my voice back,” she said. “That’s why I love helping people get their voice back. I also do workshops in empowerment around the gender equation. I work with those who don’t have as much of a voice on how to be fully in their bodies so they can express themselves.”

Folsom’s name may be familiar to folks in the Mission Valley. That’s because she has performed here before as part of the Mission Valley Live series. On her previous visit, she worked with at-risk students who lived in a group home. Folsom could relate to their struggles because at one point in her life, she lived in a group home as a teenager.

“Something has gone wrong to get a kid in that situation,” Folsom said. “But there were people along the way that mentored me and believed in me.”

One of Folsom’s songs is “Wild Women,” where she belts out the line, “Wild women don’t get the blues.” Folsom said it’s true. She grew up “being wild on the trails” of the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and still spends her spare time hiking those trails and exploring. That’s one of the reasons Folsom loves coming to the Mission Valley because Montanans appreciate the healing power of nature.

Folsom has enjoyed national success with her songs about liberation and hope. KUNC Radio described her music as “knock-you-to-your-knees.” And Westword Magazine wrote, “Her songs hit like little earthquakes.”

With her near four-octave range, Folsom’s voice floats effortlessly through her soulful songs that touch on tales of heartbreak, redemption and liberation. She performs a wide range of songs from tender ballads to rowdy blues.

One of her most recent albums, “Extraordinary Days,” hit No. 5 on the national Folk DJ chart and the song "Better Times" was named the No. 1 Best Folk song. Folsom also earned the No. 8 spot on Folk DJ’s list of top artists of 2016.

Folsom performs as a solo, duo, trio or with a full band. She and her colleagues received a Grammy nomination and enjoyed charting music on Roots, Americana and College radio charts. A true Renaissance woman, Folsom earned a degree in fine art and has written two books.

For all her success, Folsom stays grounded. She said the biggest rule is to be authentic and believe in yourself, no matter what.

“When I coach young adults, I tell them ‘Don’t let anything stop you. If you are having a hard time, write about that.’ You can go up and down with success," Folsom said. "I played Red Rocks one day, then I played for seven people at Starbucks the next day. I found with art, you need to hold onto and believe yourself, love yourself.”

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