By Jim Sullivan
---- — John Lennon once wrote, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” But sometimes, those plans can come back for you.
Newburyport’s Liz Frame, 53, grew up listening to such musicians as B.B. King, Jimmie Rodgers, The Weavers and Elvis Presley and wrote her first song at age 9. She has been performing, in one way or another, what she likes to call Americana music ever since she picked up her first guitar at 14, pursuing music seriously from her mid-20s to her mid-30s, playing in Nashville, Tenn., and making recordings.
But then life happened.
“I just got burnt out after a while,” Frame admits of her early attempts at being a full-time musician. “I said, ‘I’m done trying. I don’t want to do it anymore.’ And at that point, I had already moved to Newburyport. I wasn’t in the city anymore.”
Indeed, as a mother and the owner of a popular local gift shop, Fancy Schmancy, Frame had to focus on the day-to-day but never lost sight of her first love.
“I came to the realization a little bit late, after already having been married and having a kid, that I wanted to be a performing musician,” Frame said. “You can do it then, but it’s tougher. And it wasn’t until my mom passed away six years ago that I realized that life is really short. I love making music; let’s get back out there and start doing it.”
A little added heartache helped Frame along the way when her shop closed a year ago. Frame had never stopped playing gigs, even putting together a band, Liz Frame and the Kickers, along the way. But now, she had more time on her hands and some good-sized ambition to go with it, as she and the Kickers plan to embark on a two-week, mid-Atlantic tour this summer to promote their new five-song live EP recorded at the Firehouse Center for the Performing Arts.
“Somehow I had gotten a full-fledged band together,” Frame said with a laugh. “I loved my shop. But by closing it, it has given me all this free time to take the music to the next level, which is what we’re trying to do with this tour. We’ve got to get out there and reaching a broader audience.”
With rooms already booked in Maryland, West Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina and Washington, D.C., but low on funds, Frame and her band are using a Kickstarter campaign to try to raise the $7,000 they need by June 2.
“It’s the only way we can make it happen,” Frame says of the online campaign, which has so far brought in more than $2,700. “We’re just looking forward to making new fans and playing new rooms.”
The band will also play a fundraiser on Saturday, June 15, at 17 State Street Cafe, where it has played to standing-room-only crowds in the past.
Frame said people can expect tight harmonies and tightly written, organic original material.
“It’s very raucous, it’s a lot of fun,” Frame said of her band’s music. “People love us because we’re high-energy and friendly.”
Frame said she and the band are planning to play a welcome-home gig when all is said and done, but for now, she’s just enjoying her second chance.
“Of all the things I do and anyone who knows me knows I’m all over the place, the thing that I love the most is making music,” Frame said. “And to be able now to do it in a way that I’ve never been able to, I have this freedom now in a later stage of life I have never had before.
“It’s resulted in this great, fun band that I just love. And I just can’t wait to put that out on the road for other people to see and hopefully fall in love with. It’s an exciting time for me, personally and professionally.”