Meet Your NYSMusic Staff: Contributing Writer Amy Lieberman

Amy Lieberman, born in Queens, raised in Westchester County, and currently living just outside of the quaint hamlet of Treadwell in the scenic Catskill Mountains, was raised on music: from her mother, who would often sing her and her sister to sleep while strumming the guitar, to her father, who would occasionally wake them up by playing “Taps” on his trombone; to one of their babysitters, who was a huge Beatles fan, and would play Beatles records all the time. Her first ever concert was a ShaNaNa concert, which she attended with her family when she was six years old, and was bitten by the live music bug at that early age. As soon as Amy had the opportunity to start learning to play music, she jumped at the chance. The instrument that opened up the world of music to Amy was the recorder, which she learned in second grade. From the recorder, she moved on to the piano, on which she took private lessons for six years. In the school band, Amy played the flute, and eventually had the chance to tackle the bassoon, a huge instrument on the opposite end of the spectrum from the tiny flute! (She had to endure several trips on the school bus, lugging around the bassoon, which was not the easiest task to accomplish.)

The band that first got Amy into the jam band scene, as is common for many others, was Phish. During a high school play for which she was a member of the lighting crew, Rift would often makes its way into the cassette player, and it ended up being a life-changing musical experience for Amy. Between the 80 and 120 Phish shows she has been to (she lost count somewhere along the way, and has yet to figure out the total number), her love of the improvisational style of music expanded, with some of her other favorite bands on the scene including the Grateful Dead (and its various incarnations), String Cheese Incident, Yonder Mountain String Band, and Widespread Panic, to name just a few. Along the way, she had the opportunity in college to take a class on old time, country, and bluegrass music. At the time, her parents thought it was kind of a waste of time, but it actually ended up playing a huge impact on Amy’s life, as she currently plays bass and mandolin in a couple of old-timey bands that play locally around the Catskill Mountains.

One of her bands, the Tremperskill Boys, was especially honored to have gotten to share the stage with International Bluegrass Music Association Entertainer of the Year Winners the Gibson Brothers at the Fiddlers Festival in Roxbury, NY, in October 2013! On a yearly basis, as far as concerts go, Amy tries to see as many Phish shows as she can and has been attending Mountain Jam every year since it started back in 2005, as well as the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival since 2000. In addition to enjoying rocking out to the incredible music performed at those events, she uses these concerts as a form of continuing education, and tries to truly listen to the music so she can take some of the techniques used by the mind-blowingly talented musicians who play at these festivals, and apply them to her own music. Amy has a degree from Brown University in the Science and Culture of Sustainable Living. She is looking forward to being able to devote more time to seeing, playing, and reviewing lots of awesome music this summer!

Amy is fortunate to have gotten to see most of the bands she has always dreamed of seeing, but there are a couple of musicians that she still needs to see before she leaves this world, and those are The Black Keys and Justin Timberlake!