Country music’s Shari Rowe, like most musicians, spent the pandemic locked up at home, away from the stage.
The Glendale resident and fellow singer Matt Farris are about to return to some normalcy, as they’re scheduled to play the Parking Lot Country Jam at the Celebrity Theater on Friday, April 16.
“I’m so happy,” Rowe said. “We went to band practice a few weeks ago, and my drummer stopped and screamed in between songs. He was just so happy. We were just missing everybody. This is our band family. Just to be together and doing what we love is great.”
Because they’re so excited, Rowe said fans can expect a lot of energy at the Celebrity Theater show.
“We usually have a high-energy show anyway,” she said with a laugh. “We’re just chomping at the bit. We’re going to play all the originals from a few years ago to the new stuff we put out during the pandemic.”
She’s referring to “Long Hugs,” which was released March 19. For the concert, she read Instagram messages about the song from around the world and asked permission to put the fans’ thoughts on a video.
“I had searched #longhugs on Instagram,” she said. “I came across posts from people from all over the world. I asked if I could use their post and photo in a video.
“I heard so many great stories, like dads in law enforcement who needed a hug from a son. Others were about hugs from people who were no longer with us. Moms telling us this would be a wonderful tribute to their daughter. There were just so many wonderful moments.”
During the pandemic, Rowe also released “The Heavy.” She started writing it in 2019, but she said she “never could have imagined where we would be in the world.”
“We wrote the song because we started talking about how, as musicians, as artists, as songwriters, we have several opportunities to team up with nonprofits or charities. We can use our ‘platform,’ if you will, for something that goes beyond the show.
“We were talking about how we get to know the people behind these organizations, whether it’s the people heading the organization or the people on the receiving end.”
Rowe partners with Scott Foundation, which serves Arizona foster youth. Her work with the nonprofit meant even more to her after she met the kids who were involved.
“They have these stories, the situations that they come out of,” she said.
“When I first meet them, they don’t want to make eye contact and their shoulders are rolled over. They’re feeling this heaviness. As they progress in the program and understand their value, worth and purpose, I’ll see them the next time and they’re laughing and they have a sparkle in their eye.
“We exchange stories. These are real stories and real people. It progressed into how everyone has their own ‘heavy’ and what we can do in that moment to help one another.”
The two songs are different, she said. “Long Hugs” is upbeat with a Southwest vibe, while “The Heavy” is, well, heavier.
“‘Long Hugs’ is not as deep-hitting as ‘The Heavy’ was, but it definitely is sentimental,” she said. “I’m all about making a moment out of everything.”