Artists who mine a cross-pollination of rock, country and folk aren't uncommon these days, but few do it as deftly as Rain Perry. - Performing Songwriter Watch out for Rain Perry. She writes with her heart, and she'll blindside you with her art. - Tom Russell This Bob Seger cover is just one of many lovely surprises on folk-rocker Perry's Internal Combustion - USA Today Five Stars: This is confessional folk-rock at it's best. - Bob Strauss, Los Angeles Daily News Ms. Perry dresses...well-known classics up beautifully with a sound all her own. - TheMusicMamas.com * * * What does a SoCal indie musician/mother of two have in common with Marvin Gaye, Paul Simon or Bob Seger? Gaye, the late legend, was the master seducer of his time, the smoothest operator with the silkiest sound. Simon is a wry intellect and clever New Yorker, godfather of the Sixties folk resurgence. And Bob Seger, gearhead icon, rocks with the passion at the heart of the decaying American dream. I am - let's face it - not a famous sex symbol, writer of an entire Folk/Pop catalog, or Detroit rock star. But I recognize that each of these songwriters, despite their images, is a master of getting to the heart of the matter, and I discovered something in myself by performing songs by each of them. These three cover tunes, in addition to seven originals, comprise my new album Internal Combustion (9.21, Precipitous Records). Let me introduce myself. The LA Daily News has called my music 'confessional folk-rock at it's best' and I'm set to release my third indie album this fall. I live in Ojai, California, with my husband Bill Slaughter, and my two daughters Sarah and Stella. I come from a family of musicians - my great-grandmother played piano while my great-grandfather ran a movie projector in a silent film house; my mother was a songwriter whose "Kind of a Woman" was cut by Nancy Sinatra. My father was the son of a wealthy midwestern Procter & Gamble executive who fled his privileged life to become an actor in California. When his parents both died within a few years of each other, my dad burned quickly through his inheritance and honestly became a starving artist. My parents met in theater school at Pasadena Playhouse and promptly fell passionately in love, which led to an unexpected pregnancy: me. Their marriage lasted a few years, after which my dad drifted up to Berkeley and my mother joined a fundamentalist hippie church called Bethel Tabernacle. When I was seven, my mother died of Toxic Shock Syndrome, and I went to live with my father in the haven of Inverness, in Marin County, California. Inverness in the seventies was a sometimes sketchy yet often magical microcosm of the larger counterculture - annoying health food and embarrassing parental nudity coupled with lots of freedom and creativity. Several early experiences combined to turn me into a musician, including an elementary school class where I was forced to learn basic theory and a devoted folkie guitar teacher named Mrs. Gazley. But most fundamental were the songbooks that my dad and his hippie friends all had around the house - Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Bob Dylan, Randy Newman. I'd sit at the guitar or piano for hours, banging out these songs. This had the benefit of teaching me common chord progressions and to appreciate heartfelt, emotionally honest songs with good structure. My dad and I moved a lot - I counted 23 houses and thirteen schools by the time I was in high school in Ventura County, California. I was the inevitable "girl with the guitar," earnestly strumming Leonard Cohen songs on the couch at parties, like Lili Taylor's character in Say Anything. After that I began playing in coffeehouses and writing my own earnest songs, and eventually formed a band. When I was 22, I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and lost the ability to play the guitar. Overwhelmed and scared, I abandoned music for a few years and began raising a family. Eventually, I found my way back when a friend asked me to join his band on backup vocals, and soon I began to feel like writing again. Ironically, I became a true musician after I couldn't play, because I had to explain to other players in real musical terminology what I wanted them to do. And interestingly, I was a better writer and performer then, because I wasn't constrained by what I could play on the guitar, only by what I could write in my head. Also, around that time, I was fortunate to benefit from a new medication which has made my life markedly better. In fact, I act as an occasional spokesperson for the company that makes the drug, telling about my personal experiences with arthritis to doctors and patients. Now what I do is record an embryonic demo on a keyboard - just the chords and a feel for the rhythm - and then use whatever CDs or audio/visual tools I can think of to explain to the musicians what I'm looking for. I wing it. In 1999, I formed my little label, Precipitous Records, and released my first album, Balance. I was chosen as a finalist at the Telluride Troubadour competition. I was also the Grand Prize winner (folk division) in the 2000 John Lennon Songwriting Contest and the 2005 Grand Prize overall ROCKRGRL Discoveries award winner. In late 2001, I put out a CD single called "Wide Awake," as a response to September 11th. Around the time Balance came out, my father, who had raised me, died of cancer and I found myself consumed with the long process of writing the work that would become the album and one-woman play Cinderblock Bookshelves, which I released in 2008. The play Cinderblock Bookshelves: A Guide for Children of Fame-Obsessed Bohemian Nomads had it's world premiere at Theater 150 in Ojai, California in February 2008, and been enjoyed dozens of performances in California, Colorado, Arizona, Texas and even once as a house concert in Las Vegas. I was delighted when my song "Beautiful Tree," from Cinderblock Bookshelves, was chosen as the theme song for the series Life Unexpected on the CW Network!