Deb's Story

Deb, wearing a red country shirt embellished with yellow roses and pearl buttons, strums a maple ukulele customized with her signature descending dove inlayed into its headstock and fretboard.  Surrounding Deb�s photo is a retro 1950s tattoo-style illustration of a banner proclaiming �Ukulele & Dulcimer� framed by two pale yellow roses and a grayish-green colored Texas star.

I grew up singing the songs I learned from my grandmother in Northeast Texas. I began playing the songs of the rural South on ukulele at age 11. When I was 16 my mother saved up all her Green Stamps and ordered a Kay banjo for me which I quickly re-tuned to sound like a ukulele. I worked my way through college playing and teaching music. In 1971, I moved to Austin and had a chance to play at the Checquered Flag with some of the great Texas songwriters like Alan Damron, Rusty Weir, and Shake Russell.

In 1974 the love of my life was injured with a brain trauma, and our lives were deeply affected. A few years later I discovered the healing qualities of the fretted dulcimer. This instrument has helped restore us both emotionally and musically.

I helped found a dulcimer club called the "Northeast Texas Community Chorus". Still today, this welcoming club meets monthly to encourage its members to play and learn the fretted dulcimer.

Ukulele has also been a rewarding part of my musical life. A wonderful instrument builder named Fred Alsworth built a lovely ukulele for me from the original Martin Tenor plans. It's a great joy to make new friends who organize ukulele festivals and play for fun.

After living in Austin for several years I have come home to beautiful northeast Texas.  I travel to festivals and conferences to perform, teach dulcimer and ukulele.  I still write grants and love to support community arts programs and new initiatives to provide opportunities for “creative aging.”

Lyric’s Mama Music, a subsidiary of my grant consulting business Access Grants, Inc. offers my complete catalog of CDs, instructional DVDs and books.  Please contact me if you need a musical program, workshop or assistance with grant funding.