MARQUETTE - Go ahead and compare Jeordie Schekeryk to her famous musical mother, the folk singer-songwriter Melanie.
Jeordie doesn't mind a bit. In fact, she's flattered.
"I am a huge fan of my mother's music. It's a privilege to be able to perform it," she said in a telephone interview from her Phoenix home. "People will say to me 'you sound just like your mom' and I think it's great. My mom is totally underrated, in my opinion."
Jeordie, daughter of ‘60s folk singer Melanie, will be performing in the central Upper Peninsula starting Wednesday through Nov. 20 at a number of local venues.
Singer Melanie Safka was first in the national spotlight at the original Woodstock in 1969 and is known for such hits as "Brand New Key," "Look What They've Done to My Song, Ma" and "Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)."
Jeordie, one of Melanie's three musical children, will be performing in the central Upper Peninsula starting Wednesday through Nov. 20 at a number of local venues, doing her own music, some covers and a few of her mother's tunes.
"I love performing live," she said. "It's my thing. I love recording, too, but playing live is touching people directly."
Jeordie will perform at:
- The Lumberjack Tavern in Big Bay Wednesday
- The New Moon Tavern in Eben Junction Thursday
- Sydney's Shark Bay Bar in Munising next Friday and Saturday
- The Iron Inn in Negaunee on Nov. 20
The shows will start at 9 p.m. and no cover will be charged.
Jeordie grew up around music as her dad, Peter Schekeryk, was her mom's manager and producer.
"I spent a lot of time in studios as a kid and with my mom backstage," she said. "She was good about taking us on the road. It was an adventure. We took plane rides to, well, everywhere when my mom played everything from stadiums to clubs."
For six years, Jeordie was a backup singer for her mother.
'I saw an amazing side of what music can do for people," Jeordie said. "I could see up close how it touched them. It's amazing how my mom delivered in shows. She's still delivers to this day.
"I saw what it took to be a musician," she said. "I always wanted to have a connection like that with people, to leave feeling like I had actually met people while I was performing."
Growing up, Jeordie's home life was filled with music as well.
"My brother (Beau Jarred) and sister (Lelilah) and I at Christmas time always went caroling," Jeordie said. "We still do."
Music was her destiny.
"It's the only thing I ever thought I would do with my life," she said. "I do songwriting as well, although I never really thought of myself as a songwriter. It comes from a different place for me. I can't really explain it, but songs pop into my head and I just go with it. If in the first 20 minutes it doesn't happen, I don't go back to that song."
Her sister is in music as a songwriter in Nashville, while her brother tours with Melanie's band.
Jeordie is making her second visit to the U.P. on this trip. How did a musician based in Arizona wind up way up north? She was introduced to a Munising native, Scott Kusmirek, who drums in a number of bands including The Gin Blossoms.
"I met Scott about a year and a half ago in Phoenix. I was doing a show with a guy, singing duets that were a little bit of everything, and the guy, Rodney, had played with Scott."
Kusmirek and Jeordie struck up a friendship.
"Scott loved my originals when he heard them and he was really eager to start a project," Jeordie said.
So with her bass player, Scott MacDonald (who is also her boyfriend), drummer Kusmirek and guitarist Tony Parlato, Jeordie will be playing five nights in the U.P. in support of her latest CD "Jeordie & the Mixology Project, Vol. 1," in a tour sponsored by Koozielight Entertainment and Johnny Dogs.
"I'm looking forward to it," Jeordie said. "I haven't been in real snow in a long time. It was such a beautiful place when I was up there earlier this year. I am sure it will be that much more magical to see it now.'
"The people were so warm and friendly," she said. "I bet they will be even more so in winter."
Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.