Julie Bernard

Music gave me wings to fly. 

I grew up in San Francisco during the remarkable musical explosion of the 60s and70s. After seeing my first show at Winterland, (Big Brother & the Holding Company who opened for Jimi Hendrix), I became obsessed with music. I learned to play piano, fiddle and taught myself basic guitar. I was too shy to think I could actually perform, but my need to do more music still kept growing and I learned to sing. 

I let my obsession go when I started working, got married and had a child. I always had some angst inside of me and didn’t know why, until many years later when a dear friend asked me a poignant question, “If you could do what is in your deepest heart, what would it be?” Without hesitation I said, “Play music in a band”, to which he replied, “Then go do it!"

Was it really that simple? I had never played in a band. The thought of doing it seemed way out of my reach, but… I decided if that was truly in my deepest heart, I needed to GO DO IT!  In that moment, I vowed to myself to say “yes” to whatever came my way. Remarkably, here’s what happened next…

I said yes to life and life said yes to me! 

I began my new musical adventure by playing with and starting quite a few bands for about 6 years. Then, in 2013, I met Gary Vogensen (master guitarist & singer) and Russ Gauthier (multi-instrumentalist, singer, arranger, producer, sound tech) and it changed my life. Gary & Russ have played with many well-known musicians and most notably toured for many years worldwide with New Riders of the Purple Sage (one of my favorite bands, EVER). Gary, Russ and I started our Americana band, the Rivertown Trio and we have played music all over the Bay Area ever since. People tell me what I have done has inspired them to live their lives differently, though for me, I just felt compelled to do something that has always been in my deepest heart and there was no stopping it.

Through this magical, mystical, joyful journey, I have learned how to work creatively with other people, to trust my instincts and the importance of doing what you love in your life. So whatever that is, GO DO IT! You will never regret it.

Oh, and please come see the Rivertown Trio. You won’t regret that either.  

Julie Bernard

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