It’s time for brews — and tunes, too.
Nancy Tobiason-Kramer and her husband, Dan Kramer, play Rochester's Kinney Creek Brewery from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday. A singer and guitarist strongly influenced by Dan Fogelberg, Tobiason-Kramer plays music from the ‘60s to today. Her repertoire includes everything from Stevie Nicks songs like “Landslide” to Anna Nalick’s “Breathe (2 a.m.).”
Though Tobiason-Kramer was just breaking into the Rochester music scene before the pandemic hit, she has still managed to find fairly frequent opportunities to perform as restrictions have lifted.
In the early days of the pandemic, she and her husband performed livestreams from home during gigs that had been canceled, while advertising for the business that had hired her.
Tobiason-Kramer answered a few questions for 507 Magazine readers.
How did you start performing?
I've been interested in music my whole life. Not exactly sure how I was drawn to it, but I do remember when the show “The Monkees” was a big deal on TV. I'd sing along. In sixth grade, I made the Bloomington All-City Chorus as an alto. I was chosen for a solo part that was recorded to vinyl, which I still have. I sounded so little. I started playing piano and guitar in my early teens, wrote a few songs, sang a few songs with my brother Dan's band in the ‘70s. He was an excellent musician.
Then life happens. Performing music was put on the back burner. Priorities put my two children first, and then, when my brother Dan and his wife were tragically killed in a car accident, I filled in for them by raising their three girls ages 2, 6 and 8 at the time. I was able to be involved in music at church, and all the kids were involved in music, so the only part of music I didn't do was perform.
What’s your return to music been like?
When I turned 50 and most of the kids were out of the nest and the others in high school, I felt as if I was running out of time to perform music again. I reached out to one of my brother's old bandmates from the ‘70s in 2015, and JNT Trio was born. We played mostly in the Cities at a few smaller venues and at different events, and I finally got us into Kinney Creek Brewery (on) Jan. 2, 2016. I was super excited to finally play at home.
We played together for about four years, but because we lived so far from each other, it was too difficult to keep up practice and schedules, so we went our own ways. I started going solo in 2018, and again, Kinney Creek was there for me and gave me the opportunity to play. My husband played bass back in the ’80s in a rock band, so he dusted it off, and the two of us have been playing together for over two years now.
How would you describe your experiences in the Rochester-area music scene?
Pre-COVID, there were many opportunities for musicians to play. Even though I'm probably one of the oldest musicians, I'm one of the newer ones trying to break into the Rochester scene. I was making progress, but then COVID hit. Once we are on the other side of COVID, I'm sure the Rochester area will be just as strong as it was.
Why do you think it's important to continue to make music in public during the pandemic?
It's important to continue music because it seems to be the one thing that remains constant in everyone's lives. The one thing that can draw people together and bring joy.
If you go
What: Nancy Tobiason-Kramer
Where: Kinney Creek Brewery, 1016 7th St. NW, Rochester
When: 7 to 10 p.m. Friday, March 26