About Jane Gillman
My compositions are influenced by rhythms and melodies from around the world, from music that has been learned by ear and shared from person to person. Although virtual instruments find their way into my pieces, real wood and strings create my foundation – most often, guitar, banjo, octave mandolin, electric guitar, dulcimer, piano, and harmonica. My Indie Roots instrumentals and songs are heard on television, in film, and on the radio throughout North America, Europe and Asia.
Originally a Marylander, I was raised by a writer mother and classical pianist father. I grew up with one ear glued to the pop stations on my transistor radio, the other tuned into the musical traditions in the DC community. I inherited my brother’s worn out Beatle albums, wore grooves in Bob Dylan’s strummy songs; got my first guitar at 12 and the first of many harmonicas at 14. Every summer I rode the bus downtown to soak up the musical treasures the Smithsonian brought to the steamy lawns that stretched between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial – the Cajun Balfa Brothers; harmonica hero Sonny Terry with Brownie McGhee, Jean Ritchie, Bill and Charlie Monroe – a real-life encyclopedia of American roots.
In high school I began performing solo at the Red Fox Inn, a club a mile from home, then at 17 moved to Austin to study Folklore and Anthropology at the University of Texas. There I began to perform in bands and write songs, releasing several albums of original music along the way (Green Linnet/Compass; Rounder; High Road Records – and became one of just a few women harmonica players endorsed by Hohner.
Performances include festivals, colleges and venues across North America and Europe, with appearances in theatrical productions at Ford’s Theater, the Goodspeed Opera House, and Missouri Rep’s National Tour of Woody Guthrie’s American Song. I have also served as Musical Director at Austin’s State Theater.