Dr. Izzy is About:
The Blues and Rockin’ the Blues...It's all about the songs!
Dr. Izzy is a singer…many fans already know that Dr. Izzy is also BLIND. “I always tell people ‘There are so many ways too see’, she says, “You can feel peoples’ energy, discern their mood, through their voices and through the touch of their hand”. She adds, “I love to go up into the mountains here in Colorado. I can’t see them, but I can smell them! I think I remember what things actually look like, but there’s no way for me to really know at this point. I think I remember what colors look like, but who knows if I’m correct. I know what my minds eye tells me, so that’s what I have to go by”.
Born with full vision in Texas, she began to go blind at age nine. She grew up in Texas and rural New Mexico. “Certain things are imbedded in my memory from when I could see. I remember watching my Grand-Aunt Verna cut fried chicken with a knife and fork, and being appalled that we ate fried chicken with our fingers. My dad stuck up for us, telling her we were from Texas, and that was how we ate fried chicken in Texas”.
Singing is also something they do a lot of in Texas. From an early age her parents encouraged her to sing. “I remember being very young and my father got my sister and me to sing for my Aunts. I memorized a whole song, not a kid’s song, a grown up song. I remember thinking it was neat that I knew all the words”. Singing and memorizing lyrics at an early age would later prove to serve her well. Izzy was born with a beautiful voice, and she began to sing for a living in cover bands at the age of 18; singing a variety of musical styles. “Since I couldn’t see to read lyrics, memorizing words just seemed natural to me. I really loved to sing so much that it never was a problem, it’s just what I had to do”.
After singing in clubs and festivals for several years, one of her bands landed a coveted gig as the “house band” at a popular resort in the mountains of New Mexico, and even got some airplay on some local radio stations. People started to take notice. But music was not meeting her financial needs and Izzy needed to find a way to better provide for her only child she was raising by herself. She decided to put music and singing on the back burner, and enrolled into college. While working on a degree in human biology she decided that she wanted to be a chiropractor.
But she was heartbroken when one professor told her “women should not be in the chiropractic field”. He added “no blind person could ever hope to become a chiropractor” because it was just too difficult to learn without sight. At first she was devastated. “I was immediately ashamed and felt inadequate. It knocked my feet right out from under me. Once, after another demeaning lecture, he left me standing alone in biology lab, simply walking away. He knew I couldn’t read microscope findings or finish the test without sighted assistance.”
It was a cold slap in the face for the otherwise enthusiastic Izzy. “I realized instantly that I wasn’t like most people; I couldn’t just walk around like a sighted person without having to figure out every detail of my next step. I just stood there for about ten minutes alone, crying. But then I reflected on everything my mother had taught me about never giving up, and my ability to do anything I set my mind to”. Izzy finished her test, found her way out of that biololgy lab, and then graduated with her first degree.
Telling Izzy she can’t do something is like throwing gasoline on a fire. She was later admitted into Chiropractic College, graduated, and opened her own practice. Starting a new career and continuing to care for her son was paramount, but music was still steadfastly cursing through her veins.
Fortunately, her family was a tremendous source of strength and support, especially regarding music! After her brother encouraged her to start singing again, Izzy continued to pursue her love of music. She met Robert Morrison in 2002 when she decided to make a two song demo. Robert was called in to play guitar parts. Two years later they were married, and soon started writing songs together.
“Some of the songs on this CD are about relationships; some romantic, but other relationships as well. I sing about very good things in my life, and some very bad things. The song ‘Dirt Bed’ kind of blends my personal experiences with those of a character who also survived many struggles and lived to reflect on her long and troubled life, but she’s still not ready to die. She has more to live and give of herself. A lot of what I’ve been through as a blind person has caused me to reflect on what it might have been like for other minorities throughout history.”
Dr. Izzy can relate to people’s ambitions and aspirations being limited by the attempts of others. Everyday of her life she has experienced preconceived ideas about what a blind person can or cannot do. “It’s like people thinking some folks are not as capable of success or accomplishment as others based on how they were born. It might be skin color, hereditary disease, or some other disability like blindness. It’s sometimes hard to discard that and rise to the level of your own true abilities. But you have to find ways to overcome those kinds of obstacles on your own. No one’s going to do it for you.” There have been many other personal challenges for Izzy as well. As delivered within the songs, she is a survivor in the strictest sense of the word; having dealt with an alcoholic and abusive father, and brutal assault by a home intruder, and cancer. She has overcome quite a bit of adversity, and it is shown in her music.
Izzy’s amazing story is woven into songs that demand attention, both musically and lyrically. She is quick to point out that “Robert is a great guitar player and song writer. One of his best talents is finding ways to merge my words, lyrical phrases and musical ideas with his own, and turn them into really good songs”.
When well known bass player and producer Kenny Passarelli (Joe Walsh, Elton John, Hall & Oates, Stephen Stills, Dan Fogelberg, Otis Taylor) and Grammy winning engineer Clark Hagan (Chet Atkins, Ray Stevens) heard demos of the songs, it was clear that a CD had to be made. Legendary blues harp player and Alligator recording artist James Cotton (Sonny Boy Williamson II, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, solo) heard some of the songs, and immediately said he would like to contribute. He is featured on the song “Matches Don’t Burn Memories”. Izzy is also joined by Telarc recording artist and trance blues originator Otis Taylor playing banjo on the song “Old Black Crow”. “Blind and Blues Bound” is the debut CD from Dr. Izzy.
There have been many trials and tribulations along the way of Izzy's life, and that is where the blues comes from in her music. This album is autobiographical; the good times and the bad times. The music is heart felt, soulful, empowering, and wrenching all at the same time. Izzy states “I’ve had a lot of stuff go down for me so far, and there’s a lot more to write about, things that didn’t make it to this first album. The story keeps unfolding”, she says as she begins to smile. Once you hear “Blind and Blues Bound” you will live the story too; through the songs and through Dr. Izzy’s voice!