At A Glance

About Me: The Short Version...

Occupation: Singer/Songwriter/Guitar player
Favorite Artists: Mary Chapin Carpenter, Bonnie Raitt, Martina McBride, Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, Roy Orbison
Other Hobbies: Gardening, carpentry, working with my hands and getting dirty in the process
Loves: a loyal lab mix, Sci-fi, Horses, rippin' guitar leads, making my husband laugh, being an Aunt
Dislikes: coconut, wet tennis shoes, weeding, people who think the world owes them something

20 Strange and Random Facts (or everything you never knew you wanted to know about me):
- My road trip Walkie Talkie handle is “Dusty Bottoms”
- I took a high school typing test and won an award for 102 words per minute!
- I hybridize daylilies for fun
- I was once on the same flight as Lee Majors (you younger folks can google him)
- I collect plastic model horses
- When I was little my favorite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle was Raphael (the smart-ass one)
- I didn't get my ears pierced til' I was out of high school
- I never beat the first Super Mario Bros. game
- I once went to a Kentucky Fried Chicken that was all out of chicken
- I am named for both my father (Danni) and my mother (Ri)
- I play a Taylor and a Gretsch guitar
- I don't tolerate drama
- I'm terrible at sending Christmas cards
- My favorite place to shop: Lowes
- An island bus tour we were on unfortunately ended at a nude beach (it's not like you see on T.V.)
- My dream car is a pick-up truck
- I am not squeamish
- On any given day I am a tomboy, a geek, a girly girl and a rock star
- I make the best homemade potato soup
- My wedding band really is engraved in Klingon (yes, just like the song says)

About Me: The Long Version...

A lot of big name famous artists have a bio link on their website. Clicking on it shows you the detailed list of industry awards they've won or hit songs they've recorded. It starts to look more like a resume or discography than a biography. Well, I don't have any of those things – yet. But if you want to actually get to know me a little then read on.....

Growing up my family always had a love of music, although you might not call them musical people. We would often kid that maybe I had been adopted and inherited my singing ability from my real parents. As my mom tells it, her father once told her she couldn't carry a tune in a bucket.

My Daddy loved rockabilly (still does!), music from the 40's and 50's and Mom loved the oldies station that played the pop hits from the 60's and 70's. All the while my older sister was living on 80's music in her 80's hair while my mother looked disapprovingly as she would play Madonna cassette tapes and rock out to Bon Jovi and Def Leppard. I got a good dose of just about every decade all before I got into the first grade. As a teenager I had a healthy appetite for 90's and new millennium alternative rock cruising around in my Honda Prelude, while at the same time grooving on the mellow stylings of Jewel and Sarah McLachlan. But it wasn't long before I got bored with hearing all of the top 40 alternative hits repeating over and over. One afternoon while station surfing I stumbled onto something “new” that I had never heard before......CLASSIC ROCK. Zeppelin, AC/DC, Skynard, Aerosmith.....I was so hooked. How did I not know about this stuff?

As a result of my childhood exposure to my family's musical tastes I started singing and trying to mimic whatever music I happened to be listening to at the time depending on who I was riding with and I acquired an appreciation of many genres. Mom decided to put me in front of our church service for Special Music when I was 4 years old and that got the ball rolling. I became a regular vocalist and made my rounds to many of the local churches to sing for their services continuing through the years and even after high school.

Speaking of high school, as a Freshman I desperately wanted to try out for Mrs. Bragg's prestigious hand bell choir, The Advent Ringers. However those few highly covetted openings went fast so I missed my chance. The vocal choir was my next choice and afterward I decided to stick with it all 4 years while taking piano lessons on the side. Little did I know my future husband was ringing bells while I was hitting the high notes. Life is funny that way.

Nowhere in my musical history up to this point do you see any “Country”, that is until 12 years ago when a mutual friend re-introduced me to an old school mate of mine named Edward Croker who I barely knew. Yeah, bell choir boy. Turns out Edward was actually a classically trained pianist who, after high school, was cleverly disguising himself as a redneck keyboard player in his dad's 5-piece garage band. Although I suppose living room band might be more accurate. This group of guys would get together on weekends and just learn and play for fun. I was quickly welcomed as their lead singer and soon became just another “one of the guys”. I had also started to gain an interest in playing the acoustic guitar right around this time and they helped me develop that skill. A number of the songs they played were popular Country music tunes by the likes of Garth Brooks, Wynonna Judd, Alison Krauss and Trisha Yearwood. Over the course of that year Edward and I grew closer and started dating. In fact, he asked me to be his girlfriend within minutes of him driving off to go to college out of state. Men have such a knack for timing. Fortunately he was only gone for one semester before deciding to finish college at West Georgia so we weren't apart for long. We would listen to his extensive CD collection in the car which made me a big fan of Mary Chapin Carpenter, Bonnie Raitt, Patty Loveless, Martina McBride and Sara Evans. I idolize all of these insanely talented women and my dream would be to perform with any one of them some day.

Years ago Edward's dad said to me, “hey, why don't you go home and try to write a song!”. So that's exactly what I did. I came back with what would later become one of my more popular local bar songs called “This One's Mine”. From there songwriting became my new passion. Inspiration could strike anywhere at anytime. In fact the two places I probably write the majority of my songs in are my car while I'm driving long distances (not necessarily recommended for safety sake) and in my bathtub! In my experience there is no wrong method to writing a song. For me, the melody and lyrics seem to develop simultaneously and I rarely write lyrics to a song before writing the music. Some songs feel like they truly wrote themselves. Almost every song and melody is written in its entirety inside my head before I ever pick up a guitar or type the words on my computer. Most of my music has country leanings, however I like to branch out and try my hand at different genres. I am at my absolute most comfortable when singing songs with a bluesy rock flavor to them and a little bit of sass thrown in, and I feel like I can sing this kind of music much more expressively while other song types seem confining. It makes me feel good in my own skin. My preferred vocal style draws on inspiration from two of my long-time favorite artists, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Bonnie Raitt, as well as two more recent additions, Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood.

Edward's songwriting also developed over the years taking a slightly different course and we have co-written a number of songs together, many of which are featured on this site. His styling can sometimes be difficult to classify, ranging from feel-good pop songs to haunting ballads with distinctive melodies and instrumentation. His knowledge of computers, sound recording and how to use physical and digital instruments is the driving force that transforms our songs from little more than words and a tune into the complex life forms we are now proud to share with a listening audience. And this is only the beginning.

As I write this, we are about to happily celebrate our 3rd wedding anniversary. We've been through some hardships, mainly involving his ongoing health struggles stemming from problems with his spinal cord. We take it one day at a time while still looking ahead to the future. Music took a back seat for several years while we adjusted to the daily challenges he now faces. Finally some of the dust settled and we gained a renewed drive to pursue our passion. We re-united with a former band mate and played for several years over in Georgia with his classic rock and oldies band as “Danni Ri and Party of 5ive”. This was my first real venture at playing out with a live band in restaurants, bars, parties, and even a military ball. As fun as our time with them was, Edward and I have now chosen to focus more on our original music and decided to go off in our own direction. Even though that chapter is closed I would never trade my time with them and the experience gained was invaluable. These gigs helped me get my stage legs, roll with the punches and relax. I finally learned something else too...the most important thing when I get up there is to sing because it makes me happy and if it makes others happy in the process, then that's a good night. Sounds hokey, but sometimes it takes a while to learn the simplest of lessons.

Our newest chapter is one of hope and renewed determination. I have my sights set firmly on Nashville and will go any way they'll have me. I'm a newcomer and perhaps arriving a little late to the party compared to the teenage young bloods. Mentally I think I stopped aging at 17 and when I look in the mirror, that's who I see, 17-year-old me. I like that about myself and hope that never changes. I'm going to sing my heart out for anyone who will listen, but I have also written songs with other artists in mind. And Mr. Toby Keith, if you're reading this I've got one that might just be your next hit.