Front and Center: Two Old Hippies Guitars Marketing Director & Artist Relations, Sami Mulhern

The WiMN’s Front and Center is a weekly column that showcases accomplished women who work in the music and audio industries. We spotlight successful female performers, manufacturers, retailers, educators, managers, publicists, and everyone else in between. Want to be featured? Learn how here.

Front and Center: Two Old Hippies Guitars Marketing Director & Artist Relations, Sami Mulhern

By Leslie Buttonow
sami-mulhern-2Two Old Hippies Guitars is a company that’s made its mark in the music industry, offering premium stringed instruments from boutique and major brands such as Bedell and Weber. One of the key brands in their family is Breedlove Guitars. The brand prides itself on craftsmanship, finding new design and building techniques, and encouraging new guitar players of all ages. We recently spoke with Sami Mulhern, who navigates the crazy world of marketing and artist relations for Breedlove and all of the Two Old Hippies Guitars brands. She shared some insights about her role at the company, current Breedlove activities, and her experience as a female in the industry. To find out more, visit www.tohguitars.com/.

WiMN: What are your main responsibilities, and how long have you been there?

SM: I’ve been with the company for just over three years. I run our artist relations program, manage social media, and handle all the day-to-day marketing needs.

WiMN: What do you enjoy most about your job?

SM: It’s a crazy job! Every day is a little bit different and I love the challenge. I mostly love all the amazing people I’ve been able to meet and interact with. We have an incredible team here who all work so hard. It wouldn’t be doable without all of them.

WiMN: Your company is very involved in pursuits that educate, encourage playing guitar, and furthering one’s career. This past year, Breedlove was behind the #SaveAGuitar contest, a sponsor of the #SaveAGuitar and She Rocks Awards contest, and much more. What other endeavors have you been involved with, and how are you using campaigns such as these to educate people and share the love of playing guitar?

SM: So many of us are in this industry because we are super passionate about music and the amazing product we are building. Breedlove has worked with school programs locally for many years, and we’ve seen the impact it has on kids. But there are also people who come by our showroom and are just picking up the guitar for the first time in their forties and fifties. They inspire us just as much! You’re NEVER too old to start playing the guitar – we just want to remind people of that. Just pick it up and play, even if it’s just for yourself. It’s great to highlight those who just play for fun in their apartments, or are inspired by one of our artists to pick up a guitar and play.

WiMN: How does Breedlove distinguish itself from other brands?

SM: Breedlove is consistently challenging the standard style of building. We are always looking for ways to improve on our product and put the best we can out there. Our team isn’t afraid to challenge tradition and it’s really starting to show in our upcoming 2017 product lineup that we can’t wait to share with folks.

WiMN: Your company has an array of women working in some roles that were traditionally male-dominated. Can you share some of them?

SM: We have women in almost every department here. Our product design team is led by a woman, Angela, who has had almost every production job here. She has led the Bedell Guitars production team, designed and installed custom inlays, and is also our wood purchaser. That job is really important here because we are very particular about the vendors we source wood from and how the wood is handled. We also have women who lead sales for our independent dealers for Bedell, Breedlove and Weber, as well as in our finance department, purchasing, and consumer services and warehouse teams.

WiMN: What opportunities have you been seeing for women in our industry, in general?

SM: I can’t say I have a great answer for this. I know in the marketing world there are definitely a lot more females leading the charge and that’s great to see. It’s definitely a male-dominated industry and I feel blessed to work somewhere that values all our Co-Hippies equally, regardless of gender.

WiMN: Any hints about what we can expect from Breedlove in 2017?

SM: So many fun things! We have some exciting announcements coming up at the end of the year that have been years in the making. I look forward to seeing how the market embraces the new technology.

Heart Reflects Upon “Crazy On You”

By Gabriella Steffenberg

Although nearly 40 years have gone by, “Crazy On You” has continued to outlast the test of time, being Hearts’ first hit off their debut album, Dreamboat Annie.

heart“Crazy on You” was a standout of its time and still is today, with its signature dreamlike acoustic intro and its incorporation of loud electric guitar riffs. Before guitarist Nancy Wilson joined her older sister Ann’s band in 1974, they had been playing hard rock, while Nancy had been working a lot on her own acoustic sound. The two sounds combined on their epic first single, and there was no turning back.

The track was a tough one for the girls, with Nancy literally feeling the pain due to all the blisters caused by playing the ambitious acoustic parts, and Ann feeling emotionally worn. Ann was singing about “the world being really out of whack, when all you want to do is just be with the person you love instead of dealing with all of the insanity going on around you.” At the time she was involved with Mike Fisher, Heart’s manager, and the band had recently relocated to Vancouver so he could avoid the draft in protest of the Vietnam War.

“Crazy On You,” along with Heart’s catalogue of hits, brings together all walks of life at their shows, which is something that the band loves. Even with all the years that have gone by, the new people bring fresh life to their classic hits.

Adrian Conner of AC/DC Tribute Band Hell’s Belles Launches Pledge Fund to Help Release New Solo Acoustic Album

By Gabriella Steffenberg

Adrian Conner, the lead guitarist for the all-female AC/DC tribute band Hell’s Belles, is gearing up to release her eighth studio album next month titled Hush!. Hush! is a fully acoustic album, which is a first for electric shredder Conner.

Cover art for 'Hush!'

Cover art for ‘Hush!’

The Austin rocker is a seasoned pro, having traveled and toured all over (including opening for Brody Dalle last year in San Francisco), playing music and letting her guitar skills flex. Now it is time to move into a realm in which she feels more exposed – the acoustic world.

As Conner recently told Austin.com, “there are no effects on an acoustic guitar… I’m totally naked and have to be more technically proficient. But on the flip side, I can hear my voice more than ever.”

Conner is excited to release Hush! to the public because she wanted to create an album that her and her band could perform at any and every venue. The album has no fixed genre, with musical stylings of blues, rock, indie, folk, and alternative. Her newest effort covers acoustic versions of her own previous works and new material, as well as acoustic takes on rock classics such as Led Zeplin’s “Bron-Y-Aur Stomp.”

Although she’s surpassed her goal, her fundraising page on Pledge Music is still open for another 29 days until the release. The extra money will go toward the promotion of Hush! and different donations allot to various exclusive items for fans. Stay “in the know” with Conner at www.adrianconner.com and keep an ear out for Hush!, her rad new album due this September.

Acoustic Guitar Magazine Interviews Iris DeMent

By Pauline France

Country/gospel singer-songwriter Iris DeMent was interviewed in the March issue of Acoustic Guitar magazine, where she talked about the making of her latest album Sing the Delta and why it took her 16 years to release it.

DeMent told Acoustic Guitar the primary reason 16 years went by is the fact that she “can’t force herself into a mold.”

“I knew all along I’d always sing, and I knew songs would come to me, but as far as the expectation that I’d put out a record every year or every couple of years, I gave up on that a long time ago,” she told Acoustic Guitar. “I just can’t force myself into that mold. I’ve tried to do that, not only because it’s satisfying to me but because I have an audience—they’re like your friends or your family or anyone you bring into your life, and you have a certain obligation to them.”

But despite the long hiatus in between records, DeMent has fan base as strong as it’s ever been. Listen to the title track off her new album below, and read the full interview at Acoustic Guitar here.