July 18, 2019

PV audience gives Redhead Express standing ovation - Daily Leader Extra : Local News

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PV audience gives Redhead Express standing ovation

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Posted: Monday, July 8, 2019 3:38 pm

A standing ovation and encore ended a performance by the Redhead Express at Prairie Village on Saturday night.

Whether they were performing a medley of country classics by female vocalists or one of their original pieces, the women -- who also happen to be sisters -- blended rich harmonies with a mastery of their instruments to create a sound both natural and breathtaking, like an unexpectedly beautiful vista.

"It's been a journey for sure," said Kendra Walker Stevenson, the oldest sibling and lead singer.

Stevenson, who also plays acoustic guitar, said she was 16 when she started performing with LaRae, the group's banjo player; Alisa, the fiddle and mandolin player; and Meghan, on bass, at farmers' markets and similar venues in Alaska, where they grew up.

They had grown up in a house where music was valued -- their mom is a pianist and their dad a singer -- so making music was natural for them.

"We just started picking up instruments and realized we had enough to play together," she said, as though developing a unique musical sound was no more complicated than shooting hoops in the driveway.

However, their story has another version. During the performance, Stevenson joked that making music was an antidote to the less pleasant side of life in Alaska.

"There's nothing up there but ice and snow and mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are our state bird," she quipped.

In 2007, the family decided to get serious about music, sold their dream house in Alaska, and hit the road. During the intervening years, they have explored different genres, according to Stevenson.

The bluegrass influence is apparent not only in their choice of instruments but also in their resonating harmonies. However, to label them would also be to discount the other influences -- such as the country influences apparent in the lyrics of their original songs.

For them, connecting with the audience is part of the experience.

"Music is a form of communication," Stevenson said. "It's a way of bringing people together and sharing your heart with the world."

On Saturday night, that connection was clearly evident. In introducing the Redhead Express to approximately 150 people in attendance, Prairie Village Manager Faron Wahl said the group was "a step beyond what we've been able to bring to Prairie Village in the past."

The exuberance with which the group's performance was met indicated those in the audience were not disappointed. They responded to each selection with whistling and enthusiastic clapping.

The connection created during the performance didn't end when the group stepped off the stage. During intermission and after the performance, group members also mingled with the audience.

The Redhead Express, which has performed from coast to coast and recorded a country album produced by Paul Worley, is reorganizing after the 2019 tour. Among their final performances are five days in Branson, Mo., at the end of September.

More information is available on their website: www.redheadexpress.com.

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