Nashville +1, CU -1

CU singer/songwriter (and Urbana native) Kayla Brown will officially depart for her new home in Nashville on Monday, following a series of send-off shows. For the last four years, Kayla and I have spent several days each week playing shows together after having met at Cowboy Monkey’s open mic night. What started as a weekly acoustic gig at Silvercreek grew into spending every weekend night together driving around Central Illinois playing tiny bars, arenas, weddings, private parties, stadiums, and other ridiculously random shows. A band (Darling Disarm) was born, with originally just Kayla on guitar/vocals, Kristen Costagna on cello, and myself on drums/vocals, but which eventually morphed into a stronger unit with the addition of Tyler Bundy on bass and James Treichler on drums (unfortunately promoting me — a terrible lead guitar player — to the lead guitar position).
Before our fateful meeting, though, Kayla had long been established as a local musician. While still enrolled at Urbana High School, she fronted the girl (literally) group Feaze, which had a release on Parasol Records. Sarge’s Elizabeth Elmore took Kayla under her wing and when Kayla emerged a couple of years after Feaze’s demise, she was reborn as a singer/songwriter—armed with honest songs and an acoustic guitar. She also made waves as DJ LilBigBass, specializing in Drum and Bass and packing scratching skills that would impress many other prominent CU DJs.
Following a duo show Friday at Danville Stadium (opening for the Brat Pack) and a full-band show at Turtle Run in Danville on Saturday, Darling Disarm will take the stage at the Highdive on Sunday evening. The show kicks off at 8 p.m., and many longtime friends will participate (look for Brandon T. Washington, Ryan Groff, Krukid, Nate Jones, Larry Gates and many more) before Darling Disarm takes the stage at 9:30 p.m. The craziness will just be beginning, though, as Live Karaoke Band will take the stage at 11 p.m., allowing everyone to have a chance to get onstage and have fun before the night is over.
On a personal note: it’s not often, I imagine, that you find your musical soul-mate, but I was lucky enough to do just that. In four years I’ve been able to watch Kayla Brown go from shy, stage-frightened singer to confident, able powerhouse; punk-ass kid to mature woman with her head on straight. It worked well because her weaknesses were my strengths, and vice versa, and with me not being the best singer or player, she made me want to be better. She has become a part of my family and while we’ll continue to work together, I’m incurably sad to see her go. We’re all rooting for you, Kayla.

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