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Folk, indie rock singers coming to Blue Frog

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Photo provided by Tony Bonyata
Left to right, Julie Moffitt, Martha Berner and Arrica Rose playing during their Hit and Run Tour.

By KATIE HALL
Living and Leisure Editor

Martha Berner of Chicago, Ill., says traveling on the road, stopping to sing from town to town, is an “introspective experience.”
“You really get time to reflect. You’re out of your comfort zone, living in a van with two new people,” said Berner, 29, a full time musician and songwriter.
Berner and Arrica Rose of Los Angeles, Calif., compose the traveling musical road show called “The Hit & Run Tour” appearing at 8 p.m. at the Blue Frog Coffeehouse, 64 Main St., Cortland, this Saturday. There is a cover fee.
“Natasha at the Natasha Bishop Company contacted me regarding the line up and it sounded like a fantastic opportunity to bring some new music from around the country to the Blue Frog Coffeehouse,” said Elizabeth Boze, barista and music coordinator at the Main Street shop. “I like what I’ve heard so far. I’m excited to hear them live.
“This show in particular is going to offer the Cortland community an opportunity to hear up and coming talent who just may become the next new rising stars!”
The two women agreed to phone interviews from Chicago recently. A third musician, Julie Moffitt, was originally planned to play as well but will not appear since she was booked for Milwaukee’s Summerfest, according to Tony Bonyata, the agent for Berner and Rose.
Berner also plays the guitar, harmonica and cornet. She’s been performing about 10 years: “Mostly hitting it hard in the last four-five years,” she said. She calls her music folk pop, folk rock.
Rose, 27, also works fulltime, singing, writing songs and playing guitar. She calls her work melodic, indie rock. “It’s got like a hint of alternative country.”
“I started singing and playing guitar when I was 15. I didn’t really start performing until a few years ago, three to four years ago when I decided I wanted to perform music. Before that, I pursued a career in film and photography.”
While at film school, she’d score people’s films.
“I actually enjoyed singing more than film making.”
The women back each other up with their instruments while taking turns singing and sometimes they sing songs together.
Their tour started June 1 in San Francisco and has wended across the country, to Milwaukee, Wisc., Chicago, Ill., and down south to Charlotte, N.C., before heading up to the Northeast. Their Cortland appearance is their last.
“It’s going well, it’s been really fun,” said Berner. “We have been having a great time. It’s been a busy one. We’ve been hitting another city every day,” said Rose.
Rose is promoting her first full-length album that she recorded with her band, the Dot, Dot, Dots, out in Tucson, Ariz., with producer Larry Crane. Called “People Like Us,” Guitar Noise described Rose as having “the peculiar and particular something that great artists possess.”
Berner’s voice “perfectly compliments her melodic songwriting, instantly creating a sense of warmth,” according to Women Folk. This is definitely true of her album, “… this side of yesterday,” which is her full-length effort.
“Martha’s song, ‘A Town Called Happiness’ — I like the back up vocals that I sing on that song,” Rose said. “That song gets stuck in my head all the time. In terms of my songs, we have had a lot of fun playing “It’s Good to Be What You’re Not.” Martha’s percussion gives it an up beat feeling,” Rose said.
“This is my first, long national tour, I believe for all of us,” Berner said.
 But travel is not new to Berner.
“I have actually been living this way pretty much since I left home at 18. Wanderlust is in me.”
She’s been to Israel, Thailand, Alaska, the Virgin Islands and more.
“I go some place, live, work, write songs … If you are a musician or song writer, there’s something about it … I like meeting new people, like meeting strange places, seeing new things.”