A funny thing happened to Deborah Vial and her partner Caron Barrett on their way to semi-retirement in Maui.
They got busy making even more music. Together.
After achieving popular and critical success in Dallas as a remarkable cross-over vocalist both as a solo act, band member and composer Vial and Barrett, her wife/manager/fellow musician and compost enabler are back at work in the studio.
Vial and Barrett are currently working on a new CD to be released in 2010. They are also working on doing a tour next spring or summer to promote the CD.
"I had (the band) Astrogin before Deb joined. Then, after she joined it became amazing. Now we play under the name Deborah Vial," Barrett said.
Vial was born Baton Rouge, LA. She moved to Dallas with her family as a teen and began playing in bands.
Vial defies easy categorization. She is openly and unabashedly gay, but her music, her sound, her voice transcends genres.
Let's start with that voice, because Vial has, to paraphrase The Talking Heads, "a voice with a view."
She has been compared to Annie Lennox and Sarah McLachlan among others but her throaty, powerful, confident and remarkably versatile style puts her in a grown-up league of her own.
Her voice issues challenges, challenges her lyrics and talent can back up.
Vial started singing in church. She said seeing Irma Thomas in New Orleans as a kid was the initial spark for her
Barrett has been in the music business since she was 17. And when it comes to the industry, she's done it all.
"I started on violin in the second grade, but a few years later a relative gave me a crappy Sears' guitar and I was on my way," she noted.
She's played in bands, owned record stores, a record label and a "world-class recording studio."
She got her love of all things rock from the music her relatives and all the “grown-ups” around here were constantly playing.
Before combining musical forces with Vial, Astrogin released a CD called "Dynamic Trash." The CD has been described as "Pink Floyd meets Fleetwood Mac on acid."
"Dynamic Trash" was produced by industry legends Nick Griffiths and Mike Wanchic.
Griffith's producing credits include Pink Floyd, Roger Waters, and English alternative bands Joy Division and New Order.
Wanchic has worked with such notable talents as John Mellencamp and the Black Crowes.
Caron enlisted some top notch studio musicians to record the Astrogin CD.
Among these were Kenny Aronoff the drummer for Mellencamp, Melissa Etheridge and John Fogerty, and keyboardist Moe Z M.D. who has played with The Wallflowers, Mellencamp and the late Tupac Shakur.
Back when Vial was the lead singer for Blanche Fury she got to see a lot of the world having been booked for an international tour of military bases during the "don't ask, don't tell" era.
Ironic considering Blanche Fury was an all lesbian rock band.
Vial made her mark as lead singer at an Astrogin gig in Houston in 2002.
Music critic Kirsten Johnson has this to say about that evening.
"Soon enough, the audience let themselves get pulled into the highly textured, sexy, sultry music of Astrogin...everything was about the music."
The band, which has been praised for it's tight but laid back approach-- no grandstanding solos, or drama, is comprised of Barrett on guitars, Darla Whisenant on bass and back-up vocals, Bella Estrada on acoustic guitar, mandolin and back-up vocals, Izzy H. on guitars and back-up vocals, Chris Estrada, guitars, Orlando Vera, keyboards, Danny Delite, electric violin and drummer Scott Miles.
The Maui version's main members are bassist Joe "Doggy" Sterling and drummer Kerry Sofaly.
The very private Vial, whose 2003 solo CD "Cooler Heart" left critics wanting more has her share of bona fides.
She won the honor to open the Lilith Fair in Dallas in 1999. She has also opened for Concrete Blonde Chicago, Dan Fogelberg, Beth Hart, Gino Vanelli, Ryan Adams and others.
*Bio Written by - Andrew Gross