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For Abby Brunnert, music is part of daily life.

Brunnert, part of the folk band Abigail Rose, said she incorporates music into her daily routine, writing, researching, listening to and playing guitar every morning.

"In my family, no one played an instrument," Brunnert said. "I would often listen to the radio and sing along. We had a record player; I remember my father playing Johnny Cash, Herb Alpert and gospel artists."

Brunnert's love of singing pushed her to join the youth choir and the junior high choir at school. She became interested in a guitar, eventually learning chords on a secondhand instrument.

Several decades later, after her parents had passed and her children had grown, Brunnert said she had more time to study and practice, as well as to watch other musicians perform.

"Some days, I practiced hours daily, learning songs to develop my style, voice and rhythm guitar skills," she said.

She connected with other singer-songwriters who shared music knowledge and similar interests. Brunnert said much of her music is influenced by Lucinda Williams, Gillian Welch, Linda Ronstadt, John Prine, Tom Petty and Kasey Musgraves.

"My first sound-stage experience was at an open mic I participated in at Mission LLC in Jefferson City," she said. "It is a great way to meet local artists with a variety of skills, styles and talents. That's where I met my duo partner and mentor, Dennis Layne, a professional musician, singer-songwriter from Columbia.

"The support and camaraderie you experience there gives you confidence and inspires you to step out of your comfort zone, also to grow as an artist."

It was Layne who often encouraged Brunnert to start writing her own lyrics and melodies.

"It was hard to share the first couple songs written from your heart," Brunnert said. "Song writing begins with an experience, an emotion felt, a thought, word or a catchphrase that inspires me to build lyrics and melody around it. I could be sad or mad or just observe something in a new light, something that sparks my creativity. I've learned that when sparked by an idea, words or melodies, they need to be written, played or recorded."

Brunnert joined the Nashville Songwriters Association Institute, hosted by Merry Ellen Meece and Aimee McGoveran, which organizes monthly meetings for songwriters at the Columbia Public Library.

"We share songs, ideas and suggestions to improve songs," she said. "Sometimes one simple word or phrase will make an improvement that is key to a song."

Brunnert and Layne both work as solo artists in addition to their folk duo. Brunnert said the pair is currently promoting their "Tiny Tour" playing shows in and around Jefferson City, Columbia, Rocheport and Coopers Landing. She noted some of the areas where the duo will play have been affected by the recent flooding, closing local businesses for several weeks.

But music can help people heal, she said.

"It lifts the spirit. I see proof of that each time I play," Brunnert said. "Music is a gift to be shared, and I believe it is our responsibility to include, inspire, create, encourage and support new and seasoned artists of all styles and genders. Our local music community takes that responsibility seriously."

Brunnert said she volunteers to sing and play a gospel-country set every Sunday at a local nursing home where her aunt resides.

"I enjoy connecting with the audience and sharing stories behind my songs," Brunnert said. "They are my songs about my life experiences, big and small, tough and tender. I hope my audience will hear my passion, feel the energy, understand my commitment and see me as an authentic musician."

For more information on Abigail Rose, find the group on Facebook at AbigailRoseMusic and Instagram at @roseyabigail. Find more information on Layne at DennisLayneMusic on Facebook.

Mid-Missouri art happenings

Through Tuesday, the Capital Arts Gallery "Creative Collaboration" exhibit will have art made by groups of artists, not just one artist. This collaboration of multiple artists opens new perspectives on the same themes. The Capital Arts Gallery is located at 1203 Missouri Blvd. CAG will also host the "Tell a Story" exhibit Aug. 9 through Sept. 17, with a reception set at 1 p.m. Aug. 18.

The Village Art Studio offers birthday parties for all ages, as well as private art events, at 1502 E. High St., Suites 40 and 60. For more information, call Ann at 573-230-1414.

The Lake Arts Council and "Arts at the Lake" will begin its fourth annual Art for the Seasons Show on Aug. 31 at the Porto Cima Yacht Club at Sunrise Beach. Setup will begin at 8:30 a.m., and the show will be open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Aug. 31 and Sept. 1. Each artist will be assigned an 8-by-10 space where they can display pamphlets, printed materials and other items. For more information about registration, contact the Lake Arts Council at 573-374-9297 or email [email protected]

The Lake Arts Council and the Lake Area Camera Club will present Photo Quest 2019, an amateur photography contest and exhibit, Aug. 10 at Stone Crest Mall in Osage Beach. To find out more, including category information and specifications for submissions, visit

The Sedalia Visual Art Association is at the Missouri State Fair with Mid Missouri Artists of Warrensburg acting as volunteers and checking artists with their artwork at the Fine Arts Building on the fairgrounds. Volunteers are responsible for receptions and attending the art during the fair. The association meets at 6 p.m. the first Thursday of each month at the annex to the Central Bank building, 403 W. Broadway Blvd. For more information, call 660-458-6575 or 660-238-6242, or email [email protected] or [email protected]

The JCAC Featured Artist from Aug. 8 through Sept. 19 will be Brandi Rackers. You may view a collection of Rackers' artwork, including paintings and ceramic relief sculptures, at the Department of Motor Vehicles, 1617 Southridge Drive. Also, find her as featured artist at the JCAC website, Starting Sept. 20, the featured artist will be Essex Garner.

Under the streets of Columbia, Art Underground Downtown offers classical art training for all ages in a historic and art-filled atmosphere. All classes are booked through the end of the summer. Classes for children in kindergarten through 12th grade will be held Tuesday through Thursday nights starting in September. For more information, call 573-355-2255 or email [email protected]

Columbia Palette (Plein Air Painting) meets each week to paint in different places. Group members are of different backgrounds and experiences. All members benefit from this sharing of ideas, techniques and materials. Painting as a group gives each member a chance to interact with artists, hear their encouragement and receive constructive criticism. These artists are plein-air painters, and the group paints outdoors as often as possible. Find out more at

Photographer David Lancaster will be debuting a photo exhibit on Israel from 6-9 p.m. Sept. 6 at Orr Street Studios, 106 Orr St. in Columbia. The exhibit will juxtapose Israel's antiquity as a backdrop to modern life in the Holy Land, exploring concepts of truth and reality through landscape and street photographs. Find out more at or find Lancaster on Instagram and Facebook at DavidLancPhotos.

The third annual Free Community Wide Block Party will be 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Aug. 24 at the New Bloomfield City Park. The event will feature entertainment, food and activities, including games, a waterslide and a bounce house at no cost. An arts and crafts show also will be included, and the Christian Motorcycle Association will show off its motorcycles. The event is sponsored by Hopewell Baptist Church. For more information, call 573-491-3408 or visit

Jimmy Mustion is a professional artist who is involved in area organizations and galleries.

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