Arkansas’ Pam Setser

Growing up in Mountain View, Arkansas (home of the Ozark Music Center), for singer-songwriter Pam Setser, it all began with her family. “I started singing when I was 5 years old,” she recalls. “My dad was already playing some guitar; mom played some autoharp…so we started playing as a family band, The Simmons Family.” She feels blessed to have been able to play music with her parents. “I am the youngest of four children, so music was a great outlet for me to see places I wouldn’t have experienced otherwise. We had lots of fun and adventures together, and I treasure those memories.” Pam also sang in church. “My grandpa was a Baptist preacher,” Pam says, “so the church was and still is a part of my life.”

Pam learned to play the autoharp when she was eight. “I would lay it on my lap to play so I could use my left hand for strumming,” recalls the left-handed musician. “My mother tried to teach me on a right-handed mountain dulcimer, but I was having trouble…So, Lynn McSpadden, the maker, said, ‘Let me make her a left-handed dulcimer.’ And that was what I needed.”

A major step for Pam came at age 21, when she became the lead female vocalist for a show called “The Country Music Story” in Hot Springs, Arkansas, a gig that lasted three summers. After marriage, kids, 23 years working for the Mountain View Telephone Company, and ten years as a business development officer for Bank of Mountain View (now Centennial Bank), she decided to pursue music again, on her own terms.

“Most of the songs on Crooked Ridge are more familiar songs, whereas on Now, most of these songs are first-time recordings,” Pam explains. She enjoys a diversity of Americana music, and that is reflected in the 13 songs on Now. But at the end of the day, it is all about the song. “I didn’t pick the songs thinking about genres. I picked the songs because I liked the words and melody. When we recorded them, each song took its own direction.”

By Dan Walsh

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