Creating songs inspired by love

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BRATTLEBORO — When fiddler, singer, parent Lissa Schneckenburger searched two years ago for songs about compassion, sympathy and love that would resonate with fellow foster and adoptive parents, she found there was none. So she set out to produce her own album. Recorded in Brattleboro, with engineer Al Stockwell of The Stockwell Brothers, "Thunder in My Arms" is a collection of songs on attachment, parenting and trauma, to be released on June 1 at The Stone Church with the original core band members Stefan Amidon (drums) and Corey DiMario (bass).

Schneckenburger said, "At a certain point I noticed that everyone we turned to for help with parenting was talking about the same thing: finding compassion, synchronicity, and understanding. In my attempts to be a better parent I found plenty of invaluable books and workshops that got that point across, but no songs! Music has this magical way of communicating emotion almost instantly and allows human beings to synchronize with each other on so many levels. I set out to write songs that would resonate with other parents like myself. Songs about loneliness, exhaustion, beauty, abandonment, love, loss, and above all, hope."

"Thunder in My Arms" is comprised of 10 original songs written by Schneckenburger, all from her heart as a foster parent of her now adopted 4- -year-old son, and from talking to other foster and adoptive families that face similar challenges: feelings of isolation, and of being overwhelmed.

"I hope that the album will make them feel better," Schneckenburger said, "and allow them to feel like they can start fresh tomorrow."

And, she wanted to give back to the Vermont Foster and Adoptive Families Association that had given her such support as a first-time parent. When attending its annual conference in 2013, she realized she wasn't the only one who struggled with feeling lonely and overwhelmed. It was a monumental help, she said. So 10 percent of sales from "Thunder in My Arms" will go to VFAFA for its "Children's Activity Fund," which helps foster and adoptive children participate in classes, camps, tutoring, and extracurricular activities that they couldn't otherwise afford.

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VFAFA also provides educational workshops, strategies, and tools for parents caring for children with developmental trauma. Caring for children who have moved from one house to another, had broken relationships, or experienced previous abuse or neglect presents unique challenges for parents.

Schneckenburger is well-known locally and regionally as a traditional fiddler and ballad singer. An All Music Guide review of her performance wrote, "Schneckenburger's playing is quietly virtuosic (her) voice is pure and clear, full of simple emotion..." Which is just what you'll hear on this album. In contrast to her past CDs spanning over two decades that are acoustic fiddle tunes and ballads, more niche music, she felt that this album called for a bigger sound, more contemporary, more rock, with mostly bass, drums, even an electric guitar. Her press release describes it as, "... at times brazen and innocent, resilient and triumphant, softly confessional and sweetly comforting."

She collaborated with other artists in three of the chosen 10 songs out of the 20 that she wrote, noting she particularly enjoyed the collaboration with local poet GennaRose Nethercott. Calling the song "The 11th Labor of Hercules" because, "It is related to loving someone that is going through trauma, to hang onto someone thick and thin," she said.

"To me, music creates community," She said. "Music is what people sing along to, dance to, fall in love to ... music brings people together. These songs are part of all of us, and I loved getting the chance to record them."

Another charitable component of the campaign is the pay-it-forward option, a perk on the IndieGoGo site. Purchase a CD and purchase another for a foster parent who wants the album but can't afford it. The Indiegogo.com campaign is at 75 percent of its goal of $15,000. Monies are still needed for marketing and graphic design before its launch in June. Check out indiegogo.com (search for "Lissa") to hear a sample of her music, to pre-order a CD, and check out the perks.

For more information about her music, visit lissafiddle.com.


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