Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Lois E. Johnson
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Boss Mama Colleen Myhre

 

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Colleen Myhre

Colleen Myhre of Mahtowa is living her dream. She sings and plays a guitar in venues throughout the area three or four nights a week and is about to release her third CD.

"It is what I love to do," she said in a recent interview. "This is the happiest that I've been. I have had the time to put my whole life into music."

Myhre has been singing since she was a small child.

"I started singing before I could walk," she said. "My mom would have me sing 'Delta Dawn' in front of company. There were a lot of friends and relatives that were musicians. They would sit and play and I would watch, even when the other kids were outside playing."

Myhre's parents, Russ and Cassie Wekseth of Barnum, encouraged her music.

"We always had music in the house," she said. "There was always the radio or a record player going. And friends who were musicians came over. Mom and Dad bought a piano for me when I was 9."

Colleen married Jim Myhre and they have two sons, Saul, 19, who is a student at the University of Minnesota, and Luke, 17, who is a student at Barnum High School.

"Both of them are really good drummers," she said.

There were times in her life when there were diversions from her music.

"I wasn't performing so much when I was in my 20s," she said.

Later, Myhre worked as a paraprofessional at the Barnum Elementary School.

"I worked there for 10 years," she said. "I was trying to handle a full-time job, raise kids, and sing on weekends. That was frustrating. I couldn't concentrate on my music full time."

"I was singing at Hanging Horn Village and Rob's Mahtowa Tavern," said Myhre. "Then I started branching out towards Duluth. I had a really good run at it. Then I hit my 40s. I had addiction issues."

Alcohol took its toll.

"That delayed my progress," she said. "Now I am four and a half years sober and I am doing this full time. That took a lot of courage. I don't think that I would be able to do all of this if I was still drinking."

Myhre also writes music.

"My brain needs more than one thing going on. Even when I write, I need music in the background," she said. "But after a while, I need to take mind breaks. I go and do some household chores or take a walk."

Myhre values the feedback that she gets from her listeners.

"I really love it when they listen to my words and tell me their perspective of a song," she said. "I just love that. I want everyone to have their own feeling about a song."

When listening to the music of others', Myhre views it differently than most people do.

"I think that I listen to their chords and then the lyrics," she said. "Not everyone does it that way. With a lot of musicians, the lyrics are first. But, for some reason, the music part catches me first."

Myhre's third CD is coming out on August 23.

"My first CD sold out," she said. "And my second CD is three-fourths sold. This time I am doing my own artwork for the cover of the new CD. I have been painting; that's another love of mine."

Myhre finds that painting and music go together.

"It think that both are great forms of expression," she said. "Those are like needs to me. Those are forms of recovery. Music saved my life when I was going through addiction and recovery. And then I had to be brave enough to go solo."

Music has been the path of reaching way down into her soul and expressing her passion.

"With every note that I sing, I pour out my soul," she said. "That's what music has done for me. I want it to do that for other people."

Myhre said that she is a member of the Holy Hootenanners, a local group of musicians that have helped her along her journey of recovery.

"Singing and making music with the Holy Hootenanners saved my life while I was going through recovery," she said. "They helped me to be brave enough to go solo."

As Myhre travels throughout the area as a solo performer she is planning to branch out once again.

"I go out to Fargo, over to Grand Marais, and into Wisconsin," she said. My new goal now is to get into Minneapolis and then south to Winona."

And Myhre is planning a trip to Texas next spring.

"I am working on going on a tour to Texas in April," she said. "I think my style of music will work well there. I sing country and blues with a touch of gospel and soul."

As her music grows and she expands into new areas, Myhre is also setting up an online presence with a website and YouTube videos. Look for colleenmyhre.com in the near future.

Myhre is also adding to her name. She will be known as Boss Mama Colleen Myhre from now on, she said.

Once her new CD is released, Myhre is planning on spending a couple of months on the road at release shows.

"I'll start out in Duluth at Wussow's Concert Café," she said. "It used to be known as Beaner's Central Concert Coffeehouse. I'll be in Grand Marais in September, and in Grand Rapids and the Twin Cities somewhere."

Fans and those who would like to hear Myhre sing locally can hear her and Tony Tracy at the Tower Tap in Kettle River on Saturday, July 6, from 7 to 10 p.m.

Myhre has advice for others who wish to fulfill their passions.

"Always follow your dreams," she said. "Never let anyone tell you that you can't."

 

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