Sherwood residents hit the road for two-month tour of art and music

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Jen Harlow (Predoehl), Amelia Stanaway and Amanda Stanway perform atop an ice cream truck during a recent performance in Malibu, Calif. The idea of shoving off on a two-month cross-country art and music tour aboard a converted ice cream truck wasn’t a decision Amanda Stanaway, Jen Harlow (Predoehl) and Amelia Stanaway suddenly came up with. But that’s exactly what the three Sherwood residents did on Sept. 1 in an effort to “create a heritage performance journey filled with art and song.”

Amanda Stanaway, a Sherwood resident, activist and musician, said she first dreamed about taking a cross-country tour in an ice cream truck a decade ago, as a way to see the United States in an effort to get a diverse look at children of all American cultures.

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Amelia Stanaway (hidden behind microphone), Amanda Stanaway and Jen Harlow (Predoehl) cut Stanaway's 'Indian Summer' in San Francisco recently.
Shortly after sharing that dream, her life changed with the arrival of her daughter Amelia, now 8, which changed her plans.

“It wasn’t until the last year I believed I could merge the vision with my current life as a musician and a mother,” Stanaway said via an email conversation while already on the road.

Yearning for that journey was further enhanced by a drive north last fall to visit her grandmother in the hospital for what she thought would be the last time.

“There are so many stories she has told me in my life, and I didn’t yet have the times and dates or the wheres and whens,” said Stanaway, who has been dubbed by some as a “gutsy folk singer.”

Her grandmother recovered, and she was able to write down stories about her grandmother’s life.

Stanaway said she had been looking for an ice cream truck for the past two years and found the 11-foot-long GMC box van in Puyallup, Wash., near where her grandmother lives.

Meanwhile, Harlow said she has wanted to know about her Cherokee and Choctaw heritage, which is rooted in the Southwest.

“Our family heritage and traditions root in our native blood,” said Harlow.

An artist who has learned over the years to paint fast by creating murals, Harlow recently added live performance painting to her business, allowing her to “create a painting, start to finish, in 20 minutes to 90 minutes.”

“When I heard that Amanda was going to go across the country in an ice cream truck, we started brainstorming how we as two artists, could put a show together in a creative way,” said Harlow, who owns Blue Plume art studio in Sherwood.

Plans in the upcoming weeks are to perform concert/art demonstrations with planned events in some larger cities such as San Francisco, and booking other “pop-up and pop-in” concerts in smaller venues such as art galleries and coffee shops.

“We set up the roof stage and perform right on top of the truck, and communities around the U.S. are loving it,” said Stanaway, who has two albums under her belt and will release her “Indian Summer” album at the end of the tour. That album will include one song that features Harlow.

All three women said they’re enjoying the trip that is already in full swing.

“I am excited to cross many things off my bucket list,” said Harlow. “One of the coolest things we’ve gotten to do is camp on the rooftop stage and watch the stars, then wake up and watch the sun rise.”

Meanwhile, Amelia, who is a born storyteller and creates her own songs, said she’s looking forward to the remainder of the journey.

“I am excited about traveling, seeing new places, trying new things and being with mom and Harlow,” she said. “The ice cream truck is pretty awesome too.”

As of last week, the trio had traveled throughout Oregon, down the coast of California and through Arizona.

At that time, they also had planned to travel to Roswell, N.M., for an “alien pop-up show.”

You can follow their trip via their blog or on Facebook.

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