Bandgirl's Blog











It’s been a busy week promoting Silverwing.

We picked up a new venue at a place called the Flight Bar, guessing it’s next to the airport.  A friend is teaching line dancing and the owners want some live music, so our friend suggested Silverwing.  Always great to get a recommendation, now the pressure is on. We’ve exchanged info on the dances and songs that will make this gig a success for us and for the new dancers.

Then another friend contacted us this week about an opportunity at a casino in Reno, which is looking for some country music.  It’s hard to break into the casino circuit.  Sometimes you need an agent, who will take a cut, for making a few phone calls.  Also you need to have experience and it’s the age old dilemma, you need experience to get the gig, but you can’t get any experience unless you get a gig.  So if we can get in the door, then we’ll work hard to keep it.  Of course the venue needs to support it with some good advertising.

Then we had a killer practice yesterday.  Lots of breaking down the details.  My husband has played for so long, then he does everything by ear.  I, of course, can’t remember s#@t, so I have lots of notes, but no sheet music.  He just listens, picks out the chords, noodles till he has the lead figured out and off we go.  It can be an amazing thing to watch.  Anyway, there was lots of breaking things down.  What is that note, what is the drum beat, where is the stop.  It went from noon to 6pm with lots of smoke breaks, but that’s where we connect and become friends, not just musicians at a job.

Our next gig is this Saturday at our local hangout Boomer’s.  So lots of friends in the crowd.  I’ll let you know if anything crazy happens.

Mary, http://www.silverwingband.com, our cd is available at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/silverwing



Yup, that’s right.  Silverwing has a weekend off from gigging.  We could be practicing, but there is family stuff to tend to this weekend.

So instead we are going to make decisions on some new  songs to add to the set list. Sometimes this is so difficult.

First, we are musical mutts.  We love everything from Deep Purple to Brantley Gilbert, from George Jones to Motley Crue.  But we are a rockin country band, so the Crue is probably out.  It’s tough to make the call, pick the song, put in the practice time and then wait to see if anyone enjoys it.

Next, sometimes we pick a song that just falls flat.  We’ve worked up songs that just didn’t do anything.  The crowd just chatters, gets up to get a drink, heads to the bathroom.  Yikes!  That one is going to the back of the book.

Talking about heading to the bathroom reminds me of Casino Fandango in Carson City.  They pipe the music all over the casino including the parking lot and the bathrooms.  When my husband played with a band there, I headed to the bathroom and while I was in there taking care of business I realize that my husband is singing to me.  Huh!  That’s a weird experience.

Anyway, sometimes they just don’t fly.  Sure the crowd needs a break once in a while.  Maybe we just had them up doing a swing dance and they are catching their breathe, but sometimes we pick a song just doesn’t go over very well.

And finally, we kinda have to like the song, cause we are gonna live with it for quite a while.  Sure, we play songs that aren’t our personal favorites because they are popular at the time, but we also have to enjoy ourselves.  Perhaps the chord pattern is a challenge or it’s has a killer guitar lead or a dramatic drum roll.  Whatever!  We will find a way to enjoy ourselves.

Because rockin’ it up in our country band is all about the fun.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I love being a musician.

SW Moonshine Cover

Our CD of original music “Moonshine” is available at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/silverwing.  The music was written by Mel Warstler (holding the dobro, which he plays on the CD) and I helped with all the lyrics.  Check out the title track at http://www.silverwingband.com

Thanks, Mary Warstler



{March 12, 2015}   Practice makes perfect, Not!

In the last post I said I liked the excitement of having a new band member.  I don’t call it nerves.  I call it excitement.

I mentioned that I like the chance that things might go wrong and that we, as a band, will hang on through the mistakes and drag it back on track in time to end the song correctly.  Well…….. guess who the culprit was in the band trainwreck.  Oh, that would be ME.

Ha! I shoulda never brought up the subject of a trainwreck, cause that’s all I could think about when we got on stage.  Then I had the first missed note, then a bad note, then an ugly ending, then the wrong tempo, it just goes on and on. It serves me right for bringing the curse down upon myself.

But I’ve learned a lot from my mistakes on stage and it has changed my life in wonderful ways.  When I was a kid, I was so hard on myself.  I cringed at the stupid things that came out of my mouth, especially around good looking boys. I embarrassed myself in front of the classroom so many times. As I got older, I became very quiet and started to withdraw socially. I never went to dances in high school. I never went to football games.  I just hung out in my room with my headphones on listening to music.  I know my parents worried about me.  Heck, I worried about me. Give me a group of laughing teenagers and I was miserable.  All I wanted was to be left alone.

Now here I am standing on stage in front of people, making mistakes, forgiving myself and moving on.  I never thought I would be so well adjusted.

My husband was in a band where the singer would apologize to the crowd over the microphone, drawing attention to the flub.  Not necessary.  For one thing, many of the people in a bar aren’t there as music critics. They are partying and enjoying themselves. Next, the mistake has already drifted away and it’s not going on your permanent record.  It’s long gone by the time the song ends.

Sure, I’d love to be perfect but at the end of the first set, I just had to laugh and let it go. I’ve learned to forgive myself and THAT is the most important thing for me personally.  I owned up to my mistakes with my bandmates who just shrugged and let it go, as well.

The next set was a new beginning and I jumped right in with a new attitude.  Hey, maybe I hung in there and brought myself back from the edge of the trainwreck?

Check us out at http://www.silverwingband.com  our first CD is available at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/silverwing.  All the music was written by my hubby Mel Warstler and I helped with the lyrics.

Thanks, Mary (the bandgirl) Warstlerpondo 022114 #6 good



{March 6, 2015}   The adventures of Silverwing

SW Moonshine CoverIt’s the end of a long week.  We worked, we cooked, we cleaned, we paid bills, time to kick back and relax. Uh, nooooo!

Not us. This is just the beginning of the excitement.

Tonight Mel and I host karaoke at a smokey little bar in downtown. We’ve been doing this for about 5 years and it never gets old.  Sure, when Karaoke started to become popular around here (about the time the rest of the world got bored with it) we were offended.  Hey, we are a band, working hard to bring you live music, that we practiced for hours and you’d rather sing along to a record!  Wow, that stinks.

But….then we realized we had better equipment sitting in our garage, so we put it to work. Hey, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. And here we are the king and queen of karaoke, playing songs so many of our friends can belt there little lungs out.

The pleasant warm fuzzy thing about Karaoke is that it’s about other people.  For us, who are so used to being on stage and having folks applaud for us, it’s our chance to support others.  From the chicken who is afraid, to the person who dreamed of singing professionally, it’s our turn to be supportive of others.  I enjoy hearing someone nail a hard song that they’ve been practicing week after week.

Then after hanging out till 2AM with the Karaoke junkies on Friday night, on Saturday we have our regular first Saturday gig at the other hometown bar, Boomer’s and for a little added excitement, it’s the first home gig for our new drummer, Brandon.

Brandon grew up here, so there will be lots of family and friends in the crowd.  We are expecting lots of support.  But the best part of a new band member is the unexpected disaster that may occur. In a sick sort of way, I kind of look forward to that moment when it’s heading for a huge disaster of epic proportions and we drag it back from the edge and finish like pros.  It’s very satisfying to hang on and pull it off.  Plus, once you’ve survived the disaster, then the rest of it is easy.

Well I hope everyone has awesome weekend.  If you are in No. Cali or Nevada, come find us.  You can expect some killer guitar work from my hubby, Mel and http://www.silverwingband.com

The cover of the new CD "Moonshine" by Silverwing. That's me in the pretty dress.

The cover of the new CD “Moonshine” by Silverwing. That’s me in the pretty dress.



I’m bringing this blog back to life.  For a short while I was dedicated, then life happened and by the time I even thought about making a post, it seemed so pointless.

But today I am breathing life back into this blog.

I have the greatest hobby, ever!  I am the bass player for my husband’s band Silverwing. I have played music to a few lonely drunks and I’ve played music in front of thousands of people.  For a formerly shy girl, this is just an amazing life.

I want to share some of the fun times we have had, maybe encourage a few girls to pick up a guitar and celebrate female musicians.

But I also want to share Silverwing. We are country band with a crazy edgy drive.  My husband was a lead player in a heavy metal band and give the guy a few beers and he’s tearing up a blistering guitar lead to just about anything from Merle Haggard to Jason Aldean. Being on stage with that kind of energy is a rush.  I love it and I just want to share it.

Of course, I wish Silverwing was opening for big acts, but I’m grateful for where we are in our lives.  If we stay busy, then I will be happy and content.  We have issued a CD of original music which is very popular with our followers.  If I can tell the world about our CD and gain a few fans that would make me very happy.  Someday we might even jump in the car, drive to Nashville and knock on a few doors, just to say…….. “I did it”

So welcome to my blog.  I hope you enjoy the stories that I share, I hope you learn a little about some awesome female musicians and maybe someday you might hear a Silverwing tune on the radio.

Check out our website at http://www.silverwingband.com and come like us on Facebook.com/silverwingband

Have a wonderful day, Mary “bandgirl” Warstler



{March 1, 2015}   Silverwing band practice

The band Silverwing is my husband’s creation.  He was playing a Silverwing gig 20 years ago when I first got to know him and here we are 20 years later, still booking gigs.  Keeping a band together is a challenge.  Mel says a band is like a marriage.  There is give and take, there is tolerance, there is disagreement and resolution, people come and people go.

So recently our long time drummer moved on to another band which plays most of it’s gigs a few miles from his home.  It’s a very popular band with a steady following.  I’m sure he will do a great job for them and enjoy himself, but we immediately replaced him with a young man who really hasn’t been in a band before.

Oh sure, he’s set in with the open mike night crowd and filled in for other drummers, but Silverwing is his first permanent band and he is a grateful fellow.

But it’s time to get up to speed.  Today we spent about 5 hours going over and over the songs in the 4th and 5th sets.  We keep a revolving 5 sets, so we are not predictable.  There is nothing worse than playing the exact same opening song every gig.  We mix it up.  We have 5 sets, but usually only play 3 of them on a night.  So practice, practice, practice.

He is familiar with most of these songs, old country, new country and some classic rock thrown in.  I mean who doesn’t know Sweet Home Alabama.  Anyway, he is catching on fast.  From listening to the song on YouTube, then attempting them ourselves,  he’s working it hard.  Very quick, accurate, good breaks, nice endings, crisp and clean.

One of the best things about our drummer Brandon is that he feels the emotion in our song “Wide Open Spaces.”  There is a lot of drama in the song. It needs a gentle touch, plus a huge crescendo.  He’s making us proud and bringing lots of feeling to the song. When that song is played well, it is magic.

Find “Wide Open Spaces” at cdbaby.com/cd/silverwing.  It is a tribute to Mel’s father and his life out on the ranch.  If you love the wide open spaces give it a listen.

Mary Warstler, the bandgirl, is the bass player, vocalist, and songwriter for http://www.silverwingband.com.  Listen to our song “Moonshine” and check out our next gig.  Join us for a rockin’ country goodtime. Follow us on FB http://www.facebook/silverwingband and twitter.com/SilverwingTunes.



{February 26, 2015}   From Rhythm Guitar to Bass Guitar

I learned to play the guitar from my brother who was wounded in Viet Nam.  He went out and bought two Yamaha classical style with nylon strings and the wide neck.  I’m showing my age, but it was a large guitar for a 10 year old girl.  He got a couple Mel Bay books and figured out the chords and we started learning a few song together.  It was the time of Cat Stevens, CSNY and Gordon Lightfoot.  Woodstock was happening up the road from our town in NY.  It was magical.  I remember the beauty of strumming each chord over and over till it was perfect, no buzz, no dull, just magic.

I joined the church folk mass group and they were devoted John Denver fans. We perfected arpeggios and daydreamed.  My brother moved up in the world and bought a Gibson Hummingbird in around 1973. Imagine what that would be worth if I still had it somewhere hidden away in a closet, but it disappeared, probably pawned as times got tough.

I took lessons from John Quara, who took me through many books.  He worked professionally in some big band in NYC and I played rhythm to lots of big band music during lessons, not really the direction I was hoping to go. I dreamed of being Judy Collins, so I lost interest.

It was years before I picked up a guitar, many years of college, work, marriage, kids, divorce, loneliness.  I didn’t even have a guitar hidden away in a closet. I just left it behind, but one day I picked it up and amazing things have happened.

I can’t wait to tell the stories that took me from strumming that guitar to playing bass professionally.  It’s become the anchor of my life today. More stories to follow.

Visit our website at http://www.silverwingband.com.  I co-wrote the lyrics for the song “Moonshine” that plays on the home page, pick up our cd at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/silverwing.  I play rhythm and co-wrote most of the lyrics.  Yeah, life is good.

Thanks, Mary Warstler



{August 13, 2012}   Beginning of Recording Sessions

So this is the start of our final attempt at creating our own CD of our own music.  The songs are originals written by myself, my husband with some collaberation from a bandmate.  Our band Silverwing has been performing these songs in public for years.  We have had numerous requests from people for a CD.  We have actually missed so many opportunities to sell this CD at different events that it is frustrating to think about the lost income and lost exposure.   But that’s the past and today is day one of the recording sessions.

We are using a Tascam Digital Portable Studio DP-24.  I will go into greater detail on the equipment in another post, but for today we are creating scratch tracks of the originals with all the instruments and vocals recorded at the same time.  Then we will take our turn listening to the scratch track while playing our individual part for the final CD.

Silverwing is a four piece band that plays rockin country.  You can visit our website at www.silverwingband.com.  So we all show up and set up our equipment as if we are playing at a gig.  The drums are miked, the guitar amps are miked and the vocals are miked.  Then instead of all of these microphone chords going into a PA for a gig, the chords are the inputs into our Tascam DP-24.

We’ve played these songs together many times and so after a quick warm up.  We went ahead and attempted to record the scratch tracks.  Each individual song is being saved on it’s on Scan Disc.  The engineer has labeled each card for each song.

Playing together is a blast and even though we have played these songs hundreds of times, it’s still always new.  The drums were crisp and bright, the guitar playing was tight and the bass was driving and powerful.  Our music is fun and sometimes kind of rowdy.  There is not a sad song in the bunch.  So this is not work.  This is joy and life.  It never gets old.

So the recording of each song went without a hitch.  Our engineer, Sean, who is also the bass player has used a previous model of Tascam recorder and our DP-24 is the newest and best for our purposes.  So one after the other, we played a practice run through and then Sean hit the record button and there is was.  Saved on the SD card.  Amazing.

So step one is completed in one day.  Scratch tracks for nine original songs are completed in about 8 hours.  Very productive day in the studio.

Can’t wait to tell you the next part of the adventure.



{May 26, 2010}   Brandywine draws a crowd

I played guitar last weekend at the Oasis Bowl in Fallon, Nevada in my duo, Brandywine.  We had a great turnout with lots of dancing.  Brandywine plays mostly country music, so there is a line dancing crowd and a couples dance crowd that follows us where ever we play.  We added some new songs to the set list.  And playing them live for the first time is always exciting.  Will I remember the breaks, will I remember how many measures of each chord.  I love the challenge of adding new material to the set list.  But the classics are a treasurer.  The first song that I ever sang in public is “I can’t help it, if I’m still in love with you”  by Hank Williams Sr which I first heard on a Linda Ronstadt album many years ago.  I can’t sing it exactly like the Linda version and of course she had Emily Lou Harris doing back up vocals, how awesome, but I stand and deliver and try to do it justice.  It keeps me excited by life and playing keeps me young and happy with something to look forward to.  I’m looking forward to the next gig.



The Silverwing band from Fallon, Nevada is in the last stages of recording a CD of original material.  Silverwing is mainly a rowdy country band fronted by Mel Warstler.  Mel has been playing guitar since he was about 16 in numerous bands throughout Nevada, California and Oregon.  Raised a country boy on the coastal ranches in Oregon, Mel’s music roots go back to classic country.  He learned his picking style at 16 from a retired LA studio musician.  And from that time on Mel’s lead playing has improved and has elevated him to be one of the best country pickers in Nothern Nevada music scene.  When Mel isn’t playing with Silverwing, he is the lead guitarist for Rick Hays and American Steel and can be seen at casinoes throughout Reno and Carson City.

The music on the CD ranges from the classic country sound, to the Kenny Chesney beach type cha-cha to the swamp backwoods down home sounds of Little Big Town.  Really there is something for everyone on this CD.  Last few touches will be completed in the month of May and then mastering and production to follow.  I will keep you informed on when the CD will be released.

Have a great day, Bandgirl



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