JeriLynn Karr

JLK-3 Age: 37
Occupation: stay at home Mom who, for four months out of the year is a full-time tax processor.
Favorite Boswell Song: If you pressed me against the wall with a fiddle stick and demanded that I pick my favorite Boswell Sisters song, I suppose I would sigglity say “Roll On Mississippi, Roll On” and then look you square in the eye and demand you to please ask me again in a minute!

JeriLynn turned into a lifesaver for the harried director of during the Boswell Centennial celebration. It seems the same energy she puts into her music, theatrical productions and kids has been directed toward her love of the Boswell Sisters. Much as radio helped spread the Boswells across the world in the 30s, the Internet seems to be doing it again in the 21st Century. We wanted to find out a little about this ball of fire who is everywhere on You Tube and has brought Martha, Connee and Vet’s music to a new generation.

Bozzies: How did a young, stay at home mom like you get into the Boswell Sisters

Several years ago, after being asked by two friends to take part in a WWII tribute and perform a couple of the “Andrews Sisters” old hits, I was researching female harmony trios and groups on-line. I saw this curious album cover photo of these beautiful dark haired women in a row boat wearing captain’s hats and sparkly suits and I clicked on the only live link in the song list. Suddenly, “If I Had a Million Dollars” filled my office and I was HOOKED baby HOOKED!! Anyone who knows me knows that I love all things classic. I collect antique books, postcards, and sheet music and black and white movies, these Boswell gals were RIGHT up my alley!

Bozzies: Your presence on You Tube is amazing. How did you get so involved?

You just made me blush. Believe it or not I really got into You Tube when I started searching for footage of the Boswell Sisters, no lie!!!! After lurking around for about four months, I decided to make myself an account and upload some of my own videos. I started with footage of our trio, and then began making videos about anything and everything. I especially love singing to the camera!

Bozzies: You actually have an ensemble that does Boswell music. Tell us about it.

Our band, Tre Søstre (pronounced “tray-sauce-truh”) began as a female trio with piano (the same three girls mentioned above). About two months later, our husbands became jealous of the fun we were having and wanted to be our band. It was a perfect addition. Now, after more than two years together, I can honestly say that Sue & Russ and Ang & Jon are some of the dearest friends we have. Our name means “three sisters” and we decided to keep it even after our guys joined us. We do a wide variety of music, from about 1910 through today, all by ear. The guys sing too!

As for our Bozzies songs, the three girls will sit down and listen over and over to a song and pick it all out, piece by piece. Then the guys learn it the same way on the instruments. I would never claim we do a perfect, exact rendition, but we do not want to imitate the Boswell Sisters, we want to pay tribute to them. It is such an amazing feeling when it all comes together!! You’re standing there thinking “WOW, did that sound just come out of us?”, and guess what, it did!

Bozzies: Your solo performances also feature Boswell music – tell us a little about how you put them together.

You would not believe how hard it is to sing a Bozzie song SOLO!! I have been singing Vet for so long, it is like beating my head against the wall to get Connee to come out, but it finally comes!! My husband Darrin will sit down with his guitar and play the song over and over on the cd player until he has the rhythm the way he wants it in his head, then, and only then do we work on any Bozzies together!!

Bozzies: You made the trip to the Boswell Centennial this year. What were your impressions of the performers and the fans?

Oh my word, my trip to the Centennial has to be right up there with giving birth to my two wonderful daughters Alyssa & Emily, but shhhh, don’t tell!

It was surreal to me at first. When I first found out I was going, I set at my desk sobbing, LOUDLY, my husband flew down the steps thinking I had fallen and broken another ankle, (long story). I never in my life expected something so wonderful to happen to me.

When the shuttle let me off at the hotel in NOLA, I was in awe, you could literally feel “something” in the air. You see all these amazing images of NOLA in the movies and you think of all the history there, but you never expect how it hits you once you are in the middle of it for yourself.

When I first got to my room I just stood there, looking at the louvered doors, man those doors got me, right in the gut. I never knew doors could evoke such emotion. I’m pretty sure my mouth was gaping open. I changed my clothes and called Auntie Cynthia to find out where to go. She told me to go downstairs and someone was bound to find me!! She was right! I’m pretty sure I looked totally lost when someone called my name! I couldn’t believe the first person to find me was Tommy, he knew my face from You Tube!! He yelled down the street to two women were walking and Aubrey, aka “Bibbity”, and Caroline, (whom I had also “met” through You Tube), walked back to where I was and we went to the listening lab together. People cannot believe the instant friendship you feel with Bozzie lovers.

Most of that evening was a big blur for me. Later, at Snug Harbor, Bryan introduced me to my first Cosmopolitan and I just sat there and cried and cried as “Shout Sister” took the stage. (Side note: I really need to invest in some waterproof mascara.) At the end of the evening, when it was time to go back to the hotel, I couldn’t find anyone I had met to walk with, then I noticed Bozzie Centennial buttons on two guys I had never seen before in my life! I stopped them and asked if I could walk with them to the hotel!! That’s when first I met Charlie and Joe!!!

The next day I sat in the back of a darkened room in the Cabildo and listened to people share their experience with the Sisters and their music. It was all so much. At lunch time I ate my first muffaletta while sitting on a park bench with Byron and Joe as we listened to Shout Sister and YazooZazz on the steps of the Cabildo. I missed the Pfister Sisters that afternoon but I got LOTS of hugs from Holley that night after they took the stage at Snug Harbor.

Bozzies: Obviously you have been responsible for ‘Bozzing” a lot of people. What was the best or most unusual “bozzing” that you’ve done?

Well, the best Bozzing I can claim is turning my hubby into a Bozzie lover!!! He’s your average AC/DC-Boston-KISS kind of guy!! TRIUMPH!!

I don’t know if this counts as unusual, but it sure is funny, just our trio was performing for our local Sertoma club and the wheels on the Clavinova wouldn’t stay locked, it kept rolling away from Ang while she was playing and we were singing. Sue and I finally had to hold on to each side of it so we could finish the song!! Also, our Boswell Sisters repertoire is slowly growing, but it is a sweet deal to go somewhere to perform and hear someone in the crowd shout out “Crazy People, do Crazy People”!! I have Erica Boleen to thank for that, she’s our first official groupie!!

Bozzies: Finally, if you could honor the Boswells in any way you wished, what would you do?

I hope that I personally honor the Boswells Sisters every time I open my mouth and lilt out their ingenious harmonies. I want people to know about the Sisters because they heard Sue, Ang and I and the music we make with our husbands, bringing that Bozzie sound front and center.

It is amazing to me that the Boswell Sisters are not more well known in the music world. I want to bring their spirit, their love, that “sound” to the people that we perform for. I want that so much so that I believe that Connee, Martha and Vet have left a scar upon my heart that will never heal, and why on earth would I want it to??

One last thing I want to add, I am still in contact with most of the Bozzed that I met at the Centennial. “Bozzed” people are instant, longtime friends, kindred spirits, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. We share something a lot of people cannot comprehend. It’s an unexplainable, deep love for all things Boswell, we can’t get away from it, we don’t want to get away from it. It runs in our veins, beats through our hearts, lives in our minds. It is a blessing to me to be picked for “Bozzie of the Month”, I can’t wait to tell my Momma!

Boz of the Month