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Big Easy show a musical homecoming for Elizabeth Boaz

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PLANNING TO GO?

What: Elizabeth Boaz in concert, with the Elizabeth Boaz Quartet

When: Tuesday, May 29, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Where: The Big Easy, 128 American Alley.

Admission: No cover.

Information: BigEasyPetaluma.com or ElizabethBoaz.com

When singer-songwriter Elizabeth Boaz takes the stage at Petaluma’s busy nightclub The Big Easy on Tuesday, May 29, she’s going to stand out in more ways than one. While her rich, ethereal voice and multi-instrumental talent will surely catch the eyes and ears of those in attendance, Boaz will also be the youngest person in the room. She’s 18 years old.

Says Boaz of the rule bend for an under-aged performer on stage in a 21-and-up venue, “I’ve been performing since age 12. It doesn’t faze me as much anymore. Performing, for me, has always been about connecting with the audience, and the location has never mattered as much.”

Boaz, clearly, is no stranger to the stage, having been writing and performing songs all around Sonoma County for nearly a decade. Being raised in a house filled with musical talent was obviously a spark that ignited her creativity and inspires her still. Boaz’s father Chip is a working bassist who also teaches music at Sir Francis Drake High School, and her mother, Karen, plays piano and vibraphone. With a busy schedule of spring and summer appearances, stocked with benefit performances, Farmer’s Markets and coffee shop gigs, Boaz is one busy young lady.

Boaz recently left the safe and musical nest she calls home to attend school in Seattle at Cornish College of the Arts, where she is studying vocal performance and composition. In her typically effervescent and excited demeanor, Boaz says of the college experience thus far, “Nearly all of my classes are music classes. Some are performance based, and some are more academic. But each class is bringing me closer to the musician I have always wanted to be. By learning music theory and having to work on opening my ears, I feel myself improving, not only as a singer, but also as a writer, which is truly an exciting feeling. I feel fortunate every day for the opportunities Cornish presents, and it still feels like a dream that I get to go to school full time to learn about what I love.”

As an example of Boaz’s growing experience and repertoire, her Big Easy show will showcase an early incarnation of The Elizabeth Boaz Quartet. The group features Austin West on bass, Michael Clifford on drums, Christian Moreno on piano, with Boaz on voice and guitar.

Boaz is, shall we say, hyped.

“I can’t wait to debut!” she says. “Our Big Easy show is our second show of the summer, so it will consist of all new original music composed during my time in Seattle over this past year, as well as a few beloved covers and jazz standards.”

Clearly, Boaz is a musician in constant motion, which begs the question, how does an actively performing singer/songwriter, who’s also a full-time student, find time and inspiration to write? The answer, it seems, is that she’s never NOT found time for the things she really loves, writing especially.

“I’ve been writing since a young age and I absolutely adore every moment,” says Boaz. “I distinctly remember learning how to spell in first grade and thinking ‘Finally! Now I can write!’”

Not too long after, her first novel was finished.

“I am constantly writing,” she says, adding that she tries to finish at least one completely new song every week, a daunting goal for many, but not for Boaz. “I spend time writing out lyrics and poetry for fifteen minutes before I go to bed every night,” she explains. “The rest of my writing happens unscheduled for the most part — in my head while on the phone with friends, when cooking dinner, while in the shower. I try to let myself embrace my inspiration at all times, which is usually a good thing until I have to hop out of the shower to quickly write down a melody.”

PLANNING TO GO?

What: Elizabeth Boaz in concert, with the Elizabeth Boaz Quartet

When: Tuesday, May 29, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Where: The Big Easy, 128 American Alley.

Admission: No cover.

Information: BigEasyPetaluma.com or ElizabethBoaz.com

Watching her numerous music videos, via her YouTube channel, one gets a real sense of Boaz’s abilities. The rich timbre of her voice imparts a feeling of an “old soul” at work. In a world full of wannabe “American Idol” contestants, Boaz doesn’t sound like the pop stars that clearly inspire many of her contemporaries.

Boaz counts Norah Jones, Taylor Swift, Esperanza Spalding, and Beyoncé as her current influences, but says she doesn’t try to emulate any of them, at least not outwardly. There’s a professional quality to her voice that’s refreshing when one looks at many up-and-coming singers, and Boaz is clearly confident in her abilities as a musician.

This is a young musician with the drive and commitment to turn her passion for music into a real career possibility.

Her upcoming show at the Big Easy just might be a chance to say you saw her “when.”