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The Musers Play The Lost Church

Updated: Apr 16, 2023

The brilliant little band with award winning songwriting from Sonoma County.


The Musers formed in 2017 consist of the super talented multi award winning, singer songwriters, Megan McLaughlin and Anita Bear Sandwina, and stand up bass player Tom Kuhn. Recently they added Leslie Jackson on cajon, and triangle. Now The Musers sound is even richer with percussion in the mix!


Megan and Anita are both teachers. They met whilst singing back up for Keith Greeninger and discovered their voices blend beautifully together so they continued their sisterhood of harmonies and formed The Musers. Their music is a mix of folk, funk, rock, Americana and gospel. They bring an array of strings with them, including Mandolin, Banjolin, 3 guitars (tuned standard, DADGAD, and CGDGCD) resonator guitar, and violin. including, mandolin, ukele, guitar, baby banjo and Tom playing the stand up bass.


The Musers played The Lost Church in Santa Rosa on April fools day. The original trio of Tom, Anita and Megan played that night and in my opinion, they absolutely killed it. To be perfectly transparent here....I've known The Musers since before they were The Musers. Megan and I have been friends for several years now and I got to know Anita and Tom later. So I've been seeing these friends play for a long time now in our living rooms, round the dining table and in each others backyards, at parties, gigs and gatherings.


I thought that The Musers show on April 1st was excellent! The venue, The Lost Church on Ross St in Santa Rosa, is neither a church nor is it lost. Its an intimate listening room. The Musers set had a good variety in genre and tempo in their choice of songs. Slow and fast, rocky and folky...they chose a little of everything to play on this night. And as an added interest, typically their intros before each song are also quite entertaining and usually colorful. This night was no exception. Their songs can be topical going with the times. One of my faves of Megans' was during the pandemic, about Covid and being isolated.


The highlight at this gig (for me) was their new release, "Women Are." A little about this birth of this song... The Musers wrote Women Are after the Dobbs decision made abortion illegal in Arkansas, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming, in June of 2024. Abortion was already illegal in Alabama, Arizona, West Virginia and Texas. Good news from Wisconsin, where a new Supreme Court Justice was elected and again will soon offer reproductive rights to women. Megan said they were on the way to a gig, and she started Women Are as a long list of all the things that women contribute to the world. The chorus is "Women are strong, women are smart, women make babies, women make art, women are nurturing and kind, women have hearts, women have minds". Midway through the song, they inserted an old calypso song from 1936; Man Smart (Woman Smarter) written by Norman Span. Megan learned it from The Grateful Dead, but most would know it from Harry Belafonte's recording in 1956. But to make it a Muser song, they had to change the lyrics to ask all to be allies of women in these troubling times. The final verse states: "The daughters lose what the mothers earned, now Roe v Wade's been overturned. We've got to raise up every voice, 'cuz it's her body, it's her choice, right?".


The Musers will be sending a contribution to Planned Parenthood out of proceeds from the song's download. This song is now available on Bandcamp at: https://themusers.bandcamp.com/track/women-are


Here are the lyrics:


Women Are

"Women are strong, women are smart, women make babies, women make art

Women are nurturing and kind, Women have hearts, women have minds


Women make excellent world leaders, doctors, lawyers and teachers

We got all different kinds of bodies, different dance moves, different hobbies


Women are strong, women are smart, women make babies, women make art

Women are nurturing and kind, Women have hearts, women have minds


Women work just as hard as men but earn only 83%

As low as 57 cents on the dollar if she is a woman of color

Women are understandably pissed about all the opportunities missed

One in four have been abused, sexually assaulted and used


But women are strong, women are smart, women make babies, women make art

Women are nurturing and kind, Women have hearts, women have minds


Let us put man and woman together, together we are smarter

Some say no, I say so, working together we can grow

It aint me, it’s the people that say "Inequality is here to stay"

Women say “Equal rights are the only way!”


That’s right, together we’re smarter, That’s right, together we’re smarter, That’s right, together we’re smarter, together we’re smarter, that’s right


We all know women are great, so why are we regulated by the state?

Squint at the picture, it still looks wrong, don’t make our kids have to sing this song

It aint me, it’s the people that say "Inequality is here to stay"

Women say “Equal rights are the only way!”


That’s right, together we’re smarter, That’s right, together we’re smarter, That’s right, together we’re smarter, together we’re smarter, that’s right


The daughters lose what the mothers earned now Roe v Wade’s been overturned

We’ve got to raise up every voice, ‘cuz it’s her body, it’s her choice, right?


Women are strong, women are smart, women make babies, women make art

Women are nurturing and kind, Women have hearts, women have minds

Women are strong, women are smart, women make babies, women make art

Women are nurturing and kind, Women have hearts, women have minds"

This song has got a rock vibe and its definitley one when the audience chimes in, claps their hands and stomps their feet. I personally love it! And again...The Musers will be sending a contribution to Planned Parenthood out of proceeds from the song's download. This song is now available on Bandcamp at: https://themusers.bandcamp.com/track/women-are


They also introduced a couple new songs that they usually come up with on the road, and one that caught my ear is "You are not your mistake"...perfect title for those of us that are actively involved in self improvement. About this song...They were on tour in Oregon in 2022, and Megan and Anita were sharing a bedroom in the house of their friends. Anita put on an audio book and the lesson was called "You are not your mistakes". Megan says "I loved that message, and I have been told that I am very hard on myself (Aren't we all)? So Megan got up and recorded a voice memo into her phone, which was the chorus, and even the chorus melody; "You are not the mistakes you make. Tell that little voice inside your head to take a break. And forgive yourself, for heaven's sake. You are not your mistakes, you are not your mistakes."


The last tune of their set was about an incident that Tom had whilst out riding his bicycle in West County and had a wee run in with a guy called "Meth Head Phil." Adorable song and a super funny story about his 'exchange' that day with Meth Head Phil!


All in all The Musers are not only super talented musicians with great storytelling and colorful songwriting, but they are some of the nicest people you'd ever want to meet! I suggest checking them and their music out at: https://www.themusersband.com/media


All photos: ©Cheryl Alterman Photography


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