A star was born, it seemed, when Nicole Johnson wowed the crowd of more than 200 at the Longbranch Bluegrass and Barbecue Festival July 25 with her forceful rendition of Loretta Lynn’s classic “Country In My Genes.”
“I haven’t really performed in that kind of setting very much, so it was a little surreal,” Johnson said about her performance. “Its what I’ve always wanted to do, and I’m so thankful to the (Bluegrass Minstrels) for giving me the opportunity.”
The food blogger (orwhateveryoudo.com), customer success department representative for CoSchedule.com, mother of seven (five of her own and two nephews), doting wife and now Key Peninsula musical discovery said — in the understatement of the year — “That keeps me fairly busy.”
Johnson, her husband Jeremiah and their five children moved to western Washington in 2006 from Minnesota, where she grew up. They have lived on the Key Peninsula the past two years.
“I’ve always sang, for as long as I can remember, and have always leaned pretty heavily towards old-style country,” Johnson said. “Alison Krauss was someone I really admired in my early teens, and I pretty much wore out her Baby, Now That I Found You album.”
It is safe to say she has been found.
Bluegrass, however, came by accident, she said.
“I’ve been wanting to get involved with a band for a long, long time — but time constraints and not really wanting to participate in the bar scene made that pretty hard,” she said. “So the Minstrels were a perfect fit.”
The shy but affable Johnson doesn’t see herself as a musician, though.
“I don’t really play an instrument. I strum chords a bit on my baritone uke(lele),” she said. “But I wouldn’t call myself a musician. I wish I was, but it’s mostly so I have something to do with my hands.”
Her raucous fans may beg to differ.
“I just love (the music), and am glad to have an outlet for it finally,” she said.