Saturday, December 9, 2023

Tunes in Town: Liberty Dolls

The Liberty Dolls are an all-female trio. (Liberty Dolls)

WILLIAMSBURG — “Tunes in Town” is an occasional series that will catch up with some of the local musical talents that call Hampton Roads home.

The Liberty Dolls were created by JJ Brazil. After moving to Gloucester from Tennessee, Brazil always had a dream of creating an all-female trio.

“I remember doing one of the shows, The Marvelous Wonderettes. I saw the original cast in Los Angeles and as a musical theater performer, seeing the original cast, I knew I had to do that show someday. I knew I wanted to put together a group that was similar to that one day,” Brazil said.

Searching for other local singers who might be interested in being part of the trio, she found Rebecca Hartt and Becky Hogge. Once the trio was set, it was time to begin rehearsals.

“It was a labor of love. We’ve been together for three years and we’re a professional group. We rehearse about twice a week. We basically pick different songs from the groups that we love and make them our own. It’s great fun and we really interact with our audiences during our shows,” Brazil said.

Performing at a recent show. (The Liberty Dolls)

The three women provide music at various events around the Williamsburg area. Their Andrews Sisters/McGuire Sisters vibe takes many listeners back to their childhoods.

“I wanted a trio group that was really good with harmonies, just like the Andrews Sisters. When you have wonderful harmonies that go great together it produces such a wonderful sound. Any performer gets a natural high off of just enjoying hearing the intricate harmonies and music that comes from such a fun little group,” Brazil said.

Their repertoire includes songs from the 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s. Popular selections performed by the Liberty Dolls include hits like “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” “Sugartime,” “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree,” “Rum and Coca-Cola,” “Stupid Cupid,” “Breaking Up is Hard to Do” and more.

“We are boppin’ and doo-woppin’ through the decades as I always say,” Brazil said.

A Liberty Dolls special, the trio also loves to perform patriotic songs and medleys. Brazil often tears up as she watches the veterans in the audience stand for their military branch song.

“We watch men in their 70s struggle to stand up when their armed forced medley is played. It’s so heartwarming and lovely. I really wanted to be able to bring these medleys back. When we see these older people at these retirement facilities, clapping their hands, it’s special to be part of,” Brazil said.

A Liberty Dolls show also includes fun costumes, themed to the decades and music they are playing.

The costumes are just as important as the performance (The Liberty Dolls)

For Brazil, it’s the special connection that the Liberty Dolls share with their crowds that she loves the most, musicians or not.

“Sometimes we’ll be singing a song and I’m looking at the other girls and I’m just so happy because it sounds really good. We work really hard and we always have people come up to us after and say ‘We loved your music’ or ‘Your harmonies were very tight.’ These comments come from musicians, and that’s the highest compliment. When musicians come up to you and they know how difficult what you are doing is, and they tell you they love it, it’s a huge deal,” Brazil said.

For more information on the Liberty Dolls, visit their website.

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