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“Dualing” Pen & Guitar

Einstein Editor Happily Sings the Blues

As a wife, mother and managing editor of publications at Einstein, Joan Lippert couldn't be happier. But being happy doesn't mean you can't find time to sing the blues. 

Among her pursuits away from Einstein, Ms. Lippert is one of five mothers in the blues band the BluesMothers.

The BluesMothers (from left):  Irene Maher (guitar and vocals), Jenny (lead vocals and guitar), Joan Lippert (bass and vocals), Hope Berkeley (harmonica and vocals) and Pam Sklar (flute and vocals). Photo credit: Susan Rutman.
The BluesMothers (from left): Irene Maher (guitar and vocals), Jenny (lead vocals and guitar), Joan Lippert (bass and vocals), Hope Berkeley (harmonica and vocals) and Pam Sklar (flute and vocals). Photo credit: Susan Rutman.
"I've been with the BluesMothers for five years and feel this is where I should have been all along," said Ms. Lippert, who plays bass for the band that describes itself as a unique cross between Creedence Clearwater Revival and the Dixie Chicks. 

"There's a message in our songs," Ms. Lippert continued. "People can identify with the lyrics, and when they listen to our music they know they're not alone."

Music has always had a profound effect on Ms. Lippert's life.  "I was picking out songs on the piano when I was four," she recalled, noting she also sang in a choir and played guitar in high school, with her musical tastes lying in rock and R&B (rhythm and blues).

Music also resonates with members of her family; she met her husband, a keyboardist and singer, in an a cappella group during her 20s; her elder son is a drummer; and her younger son is a front-man guitarist and also sang with an a cappella group in college.

Ms. Lippert first picked up the bass midlife to sit in on family jam sessions.  "On hot summer nights, when we were all hanging around, we'd get together and play," she explained. "We've even performed together at a family wedding. It was a lot of fun."

Family means everything to Ms. Lippert. She worked as a managing editor for Science Digest and Health magazine before deciding to work as a freelance writer/editor until her sons were in college. In 2009, when she was ready to return to full-time employment, she applied for and was hired as managing editor of publications at Einstein, working as second-in-command with science and publications editor Larry Katzenstein.

Joan Lippert and her Hofner violin bass, also known as a Paul McCartney Beatle bass.
Joan Lippert and her Hofner violin bass, also known as a Paul McCartney Beatle bass.
"I instantly loved the place and the people," she said. "There's a real soul at Einstein and I felt the job had my name on it."

Ms. Lippert works tirelessly to create superb products for staff, faculty, alumni and students.

"I have shelves of our magazines within reach of my desk and our newsletters hang on the wall behind me," she said. "What we accomplish at Einstein is important to me."

She believes her job and her music complement each other, especially the group dynamics. "Getting together with a group is not easy," she said. "But if you stick with it, and learn to negotiate and be diplomatic with others, you can create something wonderful."

Ms. Lippert has experienced this firsthand, having played with a number of bands in the New York metro area. For her, lightning struck in 2008 when she joined the BluesMothers, and the influence of classical, jazz, folk, rock and Chicago blues led to an exciting collaboration.

The BluesMothers have developed a strong following, playing at local festivals such as Mamapalooza and Howling Wolf; at bars and restaurants; and even at a Hastings church—treating their listeners to original songs, covers and the occasional dance number.

The band recently took a new step in their journey with the release of a CD, "You Can't Cancel a Subscription to the Blues." The album features eight original songs and two cover tracks. 

The songs deliver powerful messages that address a range of subjects, such as abusive relationships and the helpless feelings of watching love fade. There's one song Ms. Lippert sings that is particularly special; it was written by her husband. "It embodies the feelings of young love," she said.

While hopeful the CD will get picked up by a record label or played on the radio, the band keeps a realistic view about fame and fortune.

"We're called the BluesMothers," said Ms. Lippert. "Family comes first."

But when the BluesMothers do take the stage, music lovers are always in for a real treat. To learn more about the BluesMothers, visit http://thebluesmothers.net/.

 
BluesMothers
Can't Cancel a Subscription to the Blues
3:08
 
BluesMothers
Gone With the Summer's Heat
3:56

Posted on: Tuesday, December 03, 2013