April 2016 - Turn it Up - Jenny Sillery
Jenny Sillery is a rock star, in every sense of the word. Musician, Mother, Wife, Full-time Server. She is a person that little girls should aspire to be - free from limitation. There really is no limit to what this girl can do.
I first met Sillery at Burt’s Tiki Lounge, when I was there attending a Weedrat show. I had not seen Constant Harmony (one of her bands) live before. The sheer power behind her drumming was inspiring. She told me about her three musical projects, and working full time, which I thought was incredible in itself. A month later, I learned that she was also happily married with two beautiful little boys. My admiration increased. To create music, to perform it live, to record it, is a very time consuming endeavor, but to work full time and raise two children at the same time is just superhero-like.
I had the pleasure of sitting down and having a discussion with her about her remarkable life. Jenny is one of three children. Her older brother, Lee, owns Push Drive Studios and plays in the band, Constant Harmony, along with Jenny and their youngest sister, Amy. The three grew up in a musical household, both parents being heavily into music. In fact, Jenny told me that, although many performances were held in over-21 venues, occasionally the kids were able to see their parents play live. This seemed to have a very positive, powerful effect on them all. Her mother would also take her to the large, live concerts that came through.
Lee and Jenny played together, just the two of them, which became Constant Harmony. Amy and Jenny often help out at Push Drive Studios, collaboratively, grassroots style. Many bands feel at home there, and they create amazing albums, not just of their own band, but of other Albuquerque musicians as well. Soon after forming their original band, Lee and Jenny formed another one. Jenny had been good friends with a lovely man named Julian for a long time and he soon joined the project. While Lee played guitar, Kenny played drums, and Steven played bass. Jenny and Julian sang together - Julian, in his Hip-Hop style, and Jenny, melodically.
By the time she turned 24, Sillery had fallen in love with Julian. By 27, they were married and had a beautiful son. Sillery found out she was pregnant just before she was scheduled to leave on tour with her husband to sell merchandise for his band. It was a six week tour and she was apprehensive about going. Her mother finally talked her into it. “I went and I had some hard times when I’d get sick on the road,” Jenny said, “but the guys were super cool and supportive of everything…It was a cool experience to be able to travel and be on a full US tour.” Then Steven was gone on tour a lot. Sillery was very pregnant and bored, and her brother, sister, and best friend, Fred, came together with her to write some songs. “We played on TV… on public access,” she said, “…I was super pregnant, I had to turn my guitar sideways because my belly was so huge.”
Sillery went on hiatus for a while to raise her son, Jeremy, and two years later she and her husband had their second son, Jude. Jenny had been out of the music scene for a few years and had come to a place where she didn’t know anyone. She decided it was time to get back and out, meet people, and go to shows. That’s when Constant Harmony was revived. Two years ago, Sillery transitioned to drums. A lot of people helped her make this transition, from her brother Lee, to Zach from Personals, her newer project.
“Honestly it’s pretty nice, because when I play music, it’s at night. If we have practices I try to make it work with everybody, to have them [the practices] at night. Once my kids are in bed sleeping, my husband is at home, he’s a homebody. He’s done with touring…my work schedule is pretty flexible, and they let me split my shifts, or if I need a night off.... On my days off, I don’t go to band practice, I spend time with my kids...”
Sillery knows a lot of people, and they definitely know her. It’s hard to find a person in the music community who doesn’t utter the words, “Jenny Sillery? I love her!” Once you know her, you really understand the admiration. She is kind to everyone she meets and is supportive of a multitude of Albuquerque musicians; she is a loving mother, and a very talented musician. She doesn’t let her talent, and ability to do more in a day than most of us do in a week, go to her head. She has the right dose of humility and is grounded. She loves to stay busy…and busy she is. She works long shifts, cares for her young boys, writes and plays music for two bands (with a third band in the works) and does it all with a smile.
Constant Harmony will be releasing a new album in just a few weeks, and directly afterward, Sillery will be recording with Personals. She has it all figured it out. Some people go their whole lives and never quite find that balance. What’s next for Sillery? Who knows, but it will be exciting to see what the woman with no limitations can achieve.
You can find Constant Harmony’s last album at constantharmony.bandcamp.com and hear more of her work at https://personalsband.bandcamp.com/releases. For more information about Push Drive Studios, visit www.pushdrivestudios.wix.com/push