Nicole Daspit remembers pedaling her bike down the back roads of Perrysburg when she was a little girl, fantasizing about living in one of the big farm houses with a front porch and an oak tree.
Living off of U.S. 20, the then-Nicole Govert dreamed of open spaces.
"I hated living in a suburban development," she says. "I was inspired by all natural things. I remember playing in a creek, then the next year it was all bulldozed over. Those were poignant memories for me."
They were memories that inspired the first track on "1600 Miles," the debut album of The Goldbrickers, a band she and her her husband, Bob, formed.
That track, "Big Bulldozer," talks about the continual encroachment of development on nature and those big farms she loved as a child.
After graduating from St. Ursula Academy in 1987, Daspit, 35, went to school at Georgetown University in Washington. A restless spirit, she spent a year in Dublin, before visiting California and seeing the northern mountains for the first time.
"I was like, 'Where have you been all my life?'●"
She now lives in Sebastopol, about 90 miles north of San Francisco.
As she talks, it's easy to envision her in the '60s, talking about nature and freedom and the search for herself. It comes across in her music, which has been described as Americana but more often gets called alternative country when it's played on California stations.
"My lyrics aren't traditional. A lot of times in country it's about singing the blues, a lot of heartbreak, you done me wrong kind of thing. That's not me. I like to use references to our land in a context of exploring relationships."
Influenced by Bob Dylan, James Taylor, Simon and Garfunkel, and Dwight Yoakam, the Goldbrickers also draw on the love of traditional bluegrass instrumentation, such as the banjo and mandolin.
"It's hard to describe us,'' says Daspit. "Maybe country, folk, rock."
At one point, they had a record deal with a small label in Los Angeles, but they have been making overtures to large labels, working contacts that Bob, a music producer, has developed over the years. They are planning a second album and a tour up the coast, hoping to broaden their fan base at fairs or outdoor venues.
For now, they have a following in northern California, a Web site, www.thegoldbrickers.com, and their album is sold on Amazon.com.
"One day we hope to make our main living from music. Bob's dream is to play every day. For me, in addition to singing, I want to get my songs out there."
Songs about freedom and those wide-open spaces.
Good news for J.J. O'Shea and Jim Van Deilen. Their Sunday Ramble program, which spotlights local bluegrass and traditional country talent, is moving to WJDE-97.3 FM. The station is more powerful than their previous home, WCWA-1230 AM.
Tomorrow's show will be at 7 p.m. and will feature the Hand Hewn String Band.