Full moon lights the stage for Bog Lilies by the bay concert
Jessica Tice finds community and creative connections through music, performance, and a warehouse of wonderful weirdos. She brings that all together performing with the Bog Lilies, a Southern rock style band playing at Crooked River Lighthouse in Carrabelle on April 6.
Finding the stage
Those of us lucky to be born before digital killed the record store can instantly recall the sultry allure of the smell of vinyl. We spent some of our formative years shifting through bins of old albums to discover sounds that spoke to our souls. Vocalist Jessica Tice acknowledges the influence of voices in music that shaped her career today.
Ever the ’80s kid, Tice turned to the musical masters she repeatedly played on her father’s record player, such as Cyndi Lauper, Michael Jackson, Tears for Fear, George Michael, and, of course, the entire score of Phantom of the Opera.
By age 4, Tice was singing bluegrass on stage with her father’s band as she played the Florida folk and bluegrass scene. The environment and support from her family fueled Tice’s dream of one day becoming a country singer. For her, it requires a specified vocalization and a very controlled vocal action that suits her particular voice well.
Tice’s vocal texture melds metallic brassy sounds with a husky alto “deep lady voice,” so many iconic country dames have. One picture, in particular, encapsulates her stage presence and artistic aspirations. In it, she is 4 years old, holding two water balloons in front of her chest, dolled up like Dolly Parton, and singing in front of a microphone. “I wanted to be a country music star,” laughs Tice.
She longed for comradery and found that on a stage, a common theme that has since shaped her artistic and community work.
Like many in the capital city, education brought Tice to Tallahassee. She received a Bachelor of Science in Sociology and Humanities at Florida State University and continued to obtain a master’s in Sociology. Her activism extended beyond governmental work and into the community, mainly through the arts.
She discovered artists whose loyalty toward theater and bands alike have cultivated a slew of creative collectives. It is this quality that has captured Tice’s heart. Though Tice loved the limelight, she knew she didn’t want to do it solo, which led her to a love affair with theatre.
Through a chance encounter on a soccer field with artistic director Terry Galloway, Tice linked up with the Mickee Faust Academy for the Really Dramatic Arts, an accommodating queer and disability theater in Railroad Square, now celebrating its 35th anniversary.
Within a few years, she was an active “Faustkateer,” also known as an active volunteer. She participated by writing, directing, and producing in their tri-annual cabarets, Shakespearean reimaginings, and every musical she could get her hands on. Currently, Tice serves on the board of directors and is an essential member of the Faust community.
It was here where fate had plans for Tice and her music. Tice sang on stage with Eclectic Acoustic, a regular backyard band at the Mickee Faust cabarets. As the night was winding down, musicians started playing with sounds, songs and singers.
One evening, Tice performed a Bonnie Raitt song with another Faustkateer, Christy Crandall, and the sparks were instant. “We looked at each other like, that sounds good… we need to sing together,” said Tice.
And sing together they have ever since. Tice joined Crandall, a multi-instrumental musical wizard, and the exceptional electric guitarist Chris DelMarco. Along the way, they have worked with a few other musicians and continue to pick up strays that hang around the Mickee Faust backyard stage.
The original Bog ladies have a strong lady empowerment vibe. “Sisters in the struggle! We all recommend songs that have a critical edge. They have a message, a point … an element that is galvanizing. I feel that sisterhood,” says Tice. She adds, “I appreciate my (male) allies, too. They don’t sing [or] take the light. They are in a support role. I feel like it takes both to pull it off. The bass and percussion are the rounded out sound … We have our ladies in our higher parts of the chord, but the Bog gents they bring the bottom.”
Lighting the way with music
The Bog Lilies started playing in 2019 and, due to COVID, played outside, solidifying their aesthetic as an outdoor band. It influenced their Southern rock music, choosing to sing about the environment that surrounds them. As Tice points out, “Southern rock is dude heavy.” So, when Bog Lilies rifts and rattles the house with a southern rock song, they shake the system and create space. They cover songs in folk, bluegrass, country, and Southern rock genres.
On April 6, the Bog Lilies will take the stage under the full moon at the Crooked River Lighthouse for a concert porch by the bay. Tice reflects on the spirituality of it all.
“That one is so special because it’s the closest to God I’ve been. The beautiful natural big ol’ full moon over the Ocean… (It’s) a chill vibe, loving and supporting.”
Carrabelle’s Crooked River Lighthouse welcomes back the Bog Lilies and anyone wishing to enjoy music under the stars. Be sure to grab your chairs, a cooler, and koozies and listen to the sounds of Jessica Tice and the Bog Lilies ensure will fill your soul and maybe even your two-step.
If you go
what: Bog Lilies at Crooked River Lighthouse
when: 6-9 p.m. Thursday, April 6
where: Crooked River Lighthouse, 1975 Highway 98 W. Carrabelle
Cost: $10 for adults and $5 for kids
Contact: 850-339-5704; [email protected]; facebook.com/events
Details: Visit crookedriverlighthouse.com
Dr. Christy Rodriguez de Conte is the feature writer for the Council on Culture & Arts. COCA is the capital area’s umbrella agency for arts and culture (tallahasseearts.org).
This article originally appeared on Tallahassee Democrat: Full moon lights the way for Bog Lilies concert by the bay