New England Music Scrapbook
Miss Xanna Don't? Some guy at a bar once asked her name. She said, "Xanna." He asked, "Oh, you mean like Xanadu?" And she answered, "No, like Xanna don't." That's her story and she's sticking to it.
According to Boston Rock, Issue 100, Miss Xanna Don't told Emilia DuBicki, "When I was a kid, I hated country music. I just thought it was so tacky. Now I've come to appreciate it as being real music." At the time of the interview, early in 1990, she was singing her country repertoire mostly in rock clubs up and down the Northeast coast. The music acts she favored included Rosanne Cash, Del Fuegos, k.d. lang, and Dwight Yoakam.
Miss Xanna Don't has been backed by some excellent bands, including the Blood Oranges and the Wheelers and Dealers. She must have been simply amazing when she sang in front of the Swinging Steaks. She recorded "Dead Flowers" for the legendary Rolling Stones tribute album, Boston Gets Stoned. Through the miracle of overdubbing, she sang harmony behind her own lead vocal. It was quite effective. I would take the cover of this song by Miss Xanna Don't, any day, over the original. One thing, though--I don't remember the Stones's version on Sticky Fingers making specific reference to k.d. lang.
The booklet that comes with the Boston Gets Stoned disc reports that Miss Xanna Don't studied voice at the Boston Conservatory of Music. It adds that she was a professional jello wrestler for three years. And no doubt she was a credit to the sport.
Miss Xanna Don't contributed "Midnight Blue" to the North by Northeast compilation. It is easily one of the best recordings on the album. Clearly jello wrestling is not the only field that she was born to master. Though this style of singing seems out of keeping with her musical background, she has much ability for "the country thing." Her voice shows good flexibility on "Midnight Blue" and she seems to have a knack for putting together a worthy band.
In the September 3, 1993, issue of the Boston Phoenix, Brett Milano reported that Miss Xanna Don't told him, "I've been the country queen of Boston for five years; to do it for six would be a little ridiculous. The music I've made here isn't as country as I want it to be; the players here like it but aren't willing to make it their life." Referring to Ann Richards, she said, "It truly inspires me to be living in a place with a female, Democratic governor with a beehive." In the September 3, 1993, issue of the Boston Globe, Steve Morse wrote that her role in bringing country-rock to Boston should not be underestimated. He predicted that she would be missed. He was right. -- Alan Lewis
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