I've known Florence since high school. Not even sure how we met, but I recall several things about her....
First, she was quite diminutive. Probably close to a foot shorter than I was at the time. But that didn't seem to freak her out, and we got on famously.
Second, she rode a motorcycle.
Third, she played electric bass.
Suffice it to say that qualities two and three alone made her one of the coolest people at our high school, and her personality and warm acceptance of people made her one of the folks I held closest--even at a time when I seemed constitutionally unable to hang on to the people I cared about. Plus, we could jam on "Mongoloid" by Devo or the Ramones' "Blitzkreig Bop."
Anyhow, after a year or two after high school ended, I began to lose touch with Florence. (She wasn't the only one.) She went down to Champaign for college, I stayed in Chicago. But a few years ago, we re-entered each others' orbits, probably through the Web. I was happy, but not too shocked, to find that she was a recording artist living in New York City. (Here she is on the right, with bassist Julia Cho on the left.)
She has self-financed and self-released two CDs of her music, one in 1998 (In My Mind I Am 5'9") and the most recent, Indelible, in 2003. While a confirmed lover of New York, she returned to Chicago to record much of the material on both CDs working with Dave Budrys at Early Recording.
So what does Florence's music sound like? It's sort of indie-rock, guitar-based but spiced with instruments played by various friends--flute, accordion, rippling electric guitar leads. Her songs are alternately funny and touching, spoken and sung, personal and universal. And always framed by love. On Indelible, she includes short bits about her family, a lousy band in her building that wouldn't stop playing (the atypical "Shut Up! You Suck!"), and even an outgoing answering machine message.
I hope you enjoy "I Always Hoped That You Loved Me," uploaded for your listening pleasure at the bottom of this entry. You can find out more about Florence and her work by clicking on the link to her website on the right of this page...or better yet, go to CDBaby and buy one of her CDs and give a deserving, hard-working artist some support.
Thanks for reading. Peace.