The Paddyfields could be considered a chamber of commerce for country music.
"A lot of people make comments that they never liked country music, but they like us," says Gigi Paddy. "It's the harmony thatopens up another dimension for people."
They come by their harmony naturally. The sister trio turned professional about five years ago at the urging of relatives at family gatherings. They made their debut at a music competition on the EasternShore.
Originally from Churchton, this South County trio -- Gigi,Christy, and Chelle (pronounced Shelly) -- range in age from their early 20s to their early 30s. They are the featured act at 7 p.m. tomorrow night for the final concert in the South County Cultural Arts Series, at the Lula Scott Center in Shadyside.
"We're known locally," said Christy, "and just this year we're starting to get called for jobs instead of having to call. We have a four-song demonstration tape that we sell at our concerts, and we've talked with some people down in Nashville."
All three credit their parents with much of the support that has kept their efforts alive.
Their mother, Ida, handles the administrative end. Their father, Warren, a farmer and former member of the county police department, provides financial support.
As Gigi says, "If it weren't for Mom and Dad, we wouldn't be here -- I mean besides the most obvious sense. They're our chief supportersand fans. Last year, we went to Nashville on Dad's tobacco crop, andwe're looking to do it again this year."
"We really enjoy it," said Ida Paddy, "and I really enjoy managing the girls. Everyone we've met has been so helpful. And the best thing has been that we've progressed to the point that we feel that we are really quality show material."
Another mark of their growing recognition, at least regionally, is that for the past two years the Paddyfields have been chosen to perform the theme songs of Washington's annual Cherry Blossom Festival.
"It takes a while to get established," said Christy, "but there areplaces where we've been asked back once and even twice. We're branching out into the tri-state area of Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Plus, we're having a good time."
None of the three plays musical instruments. Instead, they either work with a band, knownas Rock 'n Country, or with pre-recorded music.
They have an easy-going style, marked by smooth harmonies and strong solos from each singer.
They created their musical name, the Paddyfields, partly from their family heritage, partly because it fell to eldest sister Christy to fill out the application forms for the music contest.
"I didn't know what to call us, so I wrote down 'Paddyfields,' " she said. "Our name was Padfield back in England, and when we got to America it was shortened to Paddy."
The sisters claim a wide range of interests and influences. "We like some of Patsy Cline's things," said Christy, "and in the current country music scene like the bands Restless Heart, Shenandoah, and singers like Kathy Mattea and Winona Judd."
"I love Jimmy Buffett," added Gigi, "and he's not even country, and Wilson Phillips of rock 'n' roll.
Chelle sings the praises of anunconventional rock band called Extreme, citing their willingness topunctuate their heavy metal sound with harmonies as well as a capella sections.
But for the Paddys, it probably was inevitable that they wound up in the country genre.
"We grew up on country music," Gigi said. "Our dad's always been a big country music fan and living out in the country, we were brought up on Hank Williams and Chet Atkins and Roger Miller and all those guys. It just seemed kind of natural."
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