New CD, “Head Full of Bells”
Anna Lombard says her father knew she was a singer by the age of 3. But it wasn’t until her third year at Wheaton College that Lombard realized she had to make a career of it.
“I had this moment of clarity,” she said.
She left school, returned to Portland and embarked on a journey that has led her to a place where, following the release of her first solo CD, a career in music is beginning to seem like a reality.
The new CD, “Head Full of Bells,” is the result of a collaboration between Lombard and Adam Agati, a fellow Cape Elizabeth High School graduate who, among other things, taught Miley Cyrus how to play guitar. The drummer on the album is Nick Falk, another of her classmates in high school.
Lombard said the CD, released in August, is “still holding the No. 2 spot on Bull Moose sales” and the lead track, “Leave Town,” has been picked up by WCLZ.
“It’s really going well,” Lombard said. “I think one of the things I’ve been saying to people is that it feels really good to have worked so hard on something.”
Lombard’s path to a solo career began early.
“When my father noticed I was singing ‘Edelweiss’ in perfect pitch at 3 years old, he knew something was going on here,” she said.
Her father is a singer and musician, as is her grandfather, she said.
She began studying piano at age 5, then studied trumpet with big-band leader Tony Boffa. Other instruments on her resume include the bass tuba and French horn. She began learning the guitar when she was 9 and played in the symphonic band at Cape High School, she said.
But she went to Wheaton, in Norton, Mass., as an English major “because I grew up as a writer and at that point I felt that is what I wanted to do,” she said. “I wanted to be a teacher, but on the side there was always this part of me, this fire …”
After returning to Portland, Lombard began singing with Gypsy Tailwind, a popular local band.
“My third show ever was opening for John Fogarty on the Maine State Pier,” she said.
She remembers standing on stage and thinking, “Oh, my, what have I gotten myself into?”
She left Gypsy Tailwind in 2009 when she became pregnant with her daughter, Haisel. She is married to Jason McGeachey, owner of Bolder Stoneworks of Cape Elizabeth.
Lombard said her daughter’s birth was the catalyst that pushed her toward a solo career.
“What is more empowering than becoming a mother?” she said.
“Head Full of Bells” began as an idea to produce a five-song EP. She set out to raise money to pay production costs with a $5,000 Kickstarter campaign in 2011. The EP then grew to the eight-song CD, which was recorded in Portland and New York City.
Lombard is still working as a waitress at Caiola’s Restaurant in Portland’s West End, but she is planning a tour of the Northeast this winter to promote the CD. The kickoff will be a concert at Port City Music Hall Dec. 21.
Lombard is realistic about her chances for success in the music business, where “hundreds of thousands of people are trying to do the same thing. It’s absolutely on chance.”
But the long odds don’t frighten her.
“Success for me as a musician is really for my audience to be able to connect with my music. If somebody can relate to that, I feel like I would have succeeded as an artist.”