This story was published 03/04/2004.
Guitar strings tie past to present
Sheryl Clapton makes memories with her acoustic “root” music
Singer, songwriter, musician and producer Sheryl Clapton calls music a tool. “It is such an important door for memory, for peace of mind and relaxation,” she says, and Clapton would know the true value of memory.
Clapton suffered a brutal attack in 1997 that robbed her of her memories; music is a door to her past. Unconscious for two days, Clapton woke with amnesia. She lost all memory of her family, friends and life events and couldn’t even multiply small numbers. It took government records and FBI help to piece together what used to be Clapton’s life. “The only thing I remembered was to play music,” she says.
So she did and still does. Her philosophy of music acting as a door for memory and peace permeates what she calls the “root” music that she and her 12-string bring to Columbia. Clapton describes her eclectic sound as “country, folk, rock — it depends on what you surround it with.” Sometimes Clapton’s music is just her with an acoustic, but her four albums feature steel guitar and mandolin accompaniment.
Just like her fans in 50 countries, Columbians soak up her velvety voice and simple idealism like a sponge. You won’t see her slightly graying hair and gentle hazel eyes on any fancy album cover photo, though. Clapton distributes her music free online at her Web site, www.sherylclapton.net.
Clapton says all music, including Navajo rap and her favorite, classic rock, captures a statement that is important to hear. After five years in New Mexico, Clapton moved her message of family, peace and respect to Columbia last summer with hopes of working more closely with youth.
She wants to include kids in the oneness of spirit and understanding she believes music creates. Although the federal Special Projects of Regional and National Significance grant she was awarded to build a youth recording studio fell through, she still wants to expand her limited Columbia studio into one fully equipped for youth recording. Clapton works at The Intersection, Columbia’s youth and parent after-school center and promotes music as an integral part of growing and learning. She stresses that when children make music it “opens a door of creativity that is vital for them to understand that they have an accomplishment that no one can truly take away.”
Besides infecting amateurs with her contagious enthusiasm, Clapton also helped bring back music to those who had lost it. She fondly recalls Music to Remember, an outreach program for Alzheimer’s patients in Albuquerque, N.M. Despite initially short attention spans, Clapton says after a few weekly visits the patients began to recognize her.
Clapton says that when she performs and people are smiling, they can’t be upset, and her goal is therefore achieved. Her future then, means making more smiles in Columbia venues, such as Bambino’s, and in the Southwestern United States, where she will tour later this spring. Clapton, a producer and announcer at KOPN/89.5 FM two days a week, will be busy in a new town with her new husband, Carlos, creating music and inspiring children — and making fresh memories.
— LYNSY SMITHsON-STANLEY
Copyright ©2002 Columbia Missourian
--— LYNSY SMITHsON-STANLEY Copyright ©2002 Columbia Missourian
LYNSY SMITHSON-STANLEY - Columbia Missourian
ChapmanJames about Sheryl Clapton:
A voice crying in the wilderness...
Sheryl Clapton has a plan ... total eradication of war and its estuaries.
It is not a new method she has in her arsenal. Music.
But, the way she uses it is quite unique. Besides having a magnetic voice and personality that invites every soul with which she comes into contact to listen, she spends so much time making us feel good about even the little things that are truly important to us, that we have little desire to contemplate fighting with one another. I think she is on to something.
She writes of the "So Sweet"ness of horses, grateful feelings while traveling on the road "North of Sante Fe", and a transfiguring "New Life" when one changes to a more spiritual paradigm. But, among her unique war fighting creations is a piece called "Missing From Our Shores" where Sheryl lays out a simple vista of one openning a book of history and the overpowering images and thoughts it provokes. Through these offerings, and with a bit more attention, she could quell enough storms to realize her plan and in someway truly be revered as a daughter of the creator (Mat 5:9)
--BeSonic March 2003
Chapman James, Folk Writer - BeSonic 2003