Dear Marsha,
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Dear Marsha,

Denver, Colorado, United States | Established. Jan 01, 1995 | SELF

Denver, Colorado, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 1995
Band Rock Country




"Hit Pick"

Dear Marsha

, Friday, November 10, and Saturday, November 11, at Josephina's, has emerged as one of the local scene's most energetic and exuberant bands. Take, for example, the name of the band's debut CD, released in 1998:
Woo-Hoo! , an exclamatory moniker that mirrors the band's attitude toward live performance. Dear Marsha averages seventy shows a year and tours in four states outside of Colorado, bringing with it a power grrrl rock sound with a twisted shade of soul and wicked humor. Marsha's leading lovely ladies and co-founders -- vocalist Raina Ayres and Wendy Clay, a guitar mama who can't stop hoppin' (on tables, on barstools, whatever) -- are on a quest to marry acoustic music with the energy of electric rock; in this pursuit they've filled out the band with some solid players, notably Bulgarian-born Emilia Shopova, a classically trained percussionist who can put Sheila E's work on the timpani and congas to shame. With influences like Janis Joplin, Melissa Etheridge and Lenny Kravitz, Dear Marsha mixes in the occasional ballad among its many rock tunes -- which range from the subject areas of life, love and failed relationships, to seeing someone with his fly open. And to demonstrate that the band has not forgotten its mostly southern roots (Clay and Ayres hail from the Lone Star State), Dear Marsha even delivers, on occasion, a stirring rendition of "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" that's so authentic it's sure to inspire everyone to resin up that bow. - Westword

"Dear Marsha on their "crazy connection,""

By Chip Chandler — Digital Content Producer
A few minutes before we called her musical partner, Wendy Clay was trying to explain the indelible chemistry between herself and Raina Ayres that has made their band, Dear Marsha, last for more than 20 occasionally tumultous years.
"We have a crazy connection that took a while to navigate, but that connection is now better than it ever was," Clay said.
Then, Clay and I connected with Ayres via FaceTime, and we started chatting again about the duo's original meeting at Amarillo College and the origins of the band, which led to — at least initially — a romantic relationship between its founders.

"We are so connected musically that we didn't know what to do with that connection we had," Ayres said.

"I said basically the same thing!" Clay laughed.

Ayres and Clay will show off their lasting, crazy connection in Amarillo for the first time in about a decade in a trio of Dear Marsha shows: as part of the FireSongs concert series at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at FireSlice Pizzeria, 7306 S.W. 34th Ave.; at 9 p.m. Friday at Austin's Texas Pub, 3121 S.W. Sixth Ave.; and at 4 p.m. during the Pride Festival at Memorial Park, 28th Avenue and Washington Street.

The duo originally met as students at Amarillo College, catching each other's eye when Clay was leaving jazz band and Ayres was leaving choir class.

"I remember Wendy having a mullet," Ayres said.

"I thought we weren't going there," Clay mock-growled.

"The first time I saw her sing was at a karaoke night," Clay added. "And she got tipped by a drag queen."

"I don't think Wendy and I spoke until the first time I went to her house to sing with our old band, though," Ayres said.

That was the ill-fated country band Crystal Cadillacs, the name of which still causes the duo to chuckle. (For an apocryphal explanation of the name "Dear Marsha," check out the separate interview I did with Ayres and Clay for FM90, playable above this story.)

Soon, the musical spark they felt encouraged them to leave that band and launch their own — and, eventually, to start dating for several years. Dear Marsha, which relocated to Denver in 1997, found success on the indie rock scene, including tours through Europe and around the country.

"We did it independently back in a time when it wasn't done that often," Clay said, recalling having to learn the intricacies of bulk mailing rules to send out flyers in a time before Facebook event invitations became ubiquitous.

By the time Woo Hoo, the band's only album to date, was released in 1998, the band had developed a fervent following of "Marshans" that supported them, at first, in gay bars and coffee shops, and later in any number of mainstream bars and venues.

The transition to straight clubs wasn't a hurdle, Ayres said.

"I think our fans would hear comments at first, but as soon as we got to play, it was a (total) turnaround," she said. "To me, that was cool that we changed the minds of audiences who wanted to leave. We were so kicka-- that we changed their minds."

"That, or they had enough to drink," Clay cracked.

"I have to give it up to our crowd, though," Ayres continued. "They're the ones who had to sit around them. We just played."

After a few years, Clay and Ayres were on the outs romantically.

"There were some times we called each other a b---- and flipped each other off between verses on stage," Ayres said, laughing. "It got weird after (the breakup), it really did.

"There were times I didn't know if (the band) would make it through it," she continued. "That's why we had a retirement party five times."

"Sure," Clay said, "we went through some rough times, but we had some very good times, too. It's just like any marriage; we just didn't get rings."

Eventually, though, they found that "we could never go more than six months wihtouth playing together," Ayres said.

And that crazy connection never went away, they said.

"It's such a huge comfort," Clay said. "I don't even know the last time we used a set list. We just know where the other is going."

They said they're especially looking forward to the varied lineup of shows they have planned for their Amarillo return.

The FireSongs gig will be two hours of all-original music.

"We haven't done an all-original show in ...," Clay said, drifting off.

"Ever," Ayres concluded.

The Austin's gig, though just featuring the twosome, will show more of their rocking side —the full, four-hour set that Clay had described to me in our first interview 16 years ago as "coffee drinkers on acid."

"It's still true, but it hurts more than it used to," Clay said.

And for Sunday's performance at Pride — their first in Amarillo, though they've played Pride festivals around the country — longtime bandmates John Gillen and Tim Steele will drive down from Denver.

"Pride is always a really big deal," Clay said. "Our following from Day 1 was with that crowd, and this is paying them back. It's an honor to be asked to play." - PBS - Panhandle

"Dear Marsha – Woo-Hoo!"

Dear Marsha’s debut release is a fun, thoughtful and surprising CD. The band is led by the incredible vocals of Raina Ayres, and backup of Wendy Clay. The rest of the band includes Russ Griffin Jr. on lead guitar, Chuck Alexander on bass, and Scott Neil on drums. Additional guests on the CD are “Mr. Bill” Dennis on harmonica, Micheal D. Weadick on congas, and Hannah Alkire on cello.

The CD is filled with many addictive songs. The best of these are “Lookin’ Thru You (Chicken Song)” Dear Marsha’s standard with cowbell, and bullhorn, “The Lie” about lying to oneself in a relationship, “Lonna” a haunting song about loss, and “Stay and Fight” about whether a relationship is going to be worth the battle. Many of the songs betray Dear Marsha’s Texas roots with almost country riffs hidden in rock beats. Raina and Wendy drive the CD with vocals, and a sound that captures you with its sincerity and strength.

Finally, Dear Marsha is an energetic group that can draw a great crowd. Look for Dear Marsha as they do a multi-state tour to promote Woo-Hoo. Until they make it to you, but the CD. - FemMusic Magazine

"2016 in Review: Top 10 Amarillo concerts"

8. Dear Marsha: The much-awaited return of this indie-rock duo to its hometown resulted in an explosion of music — from an acoustic night at Fire Slice to a full rock show at Austin's Texas Pub (the only of the three I missed) to a joyful family performance at PrideFest. Here's hoping it doesn't take another decade or so for Wendy Clay and Raina Ayres to perform here together again. (June 23-26, multiple ve - Chip Chandler Panhandle PBS



  • Released: 1998
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Groovy Green Records(1998)
  • Producer: Raina Ayres, Wendy Clay
  • Engineer:  Bill Wilkinson
  • Recorded at : Mountain Works Studio
  • Mastering: Colorado Sound
  • Singles: “The Lie”, “Dont' Ever Let Me go”



With nearly 1200 performances under their belt, Dear Marsha is a well-oiled rock & roll machine. They play upbeat, energetic rock tunes, and have become known as "the band that has too much fun!" they play all over Colorado, Texas, and other regional states, in addition to shows in Europe and Scandinavia. 

They have developed a major following and love their fans (Marshans)with as much passion as their fans love them. Getting to know this band will have you saying things like "Who's your daddy?" ... "hot, sticky, and wet!" ... and "Marsha did me Dirty"

“Dear Marsha brings with it a power grrrl rock sound with a twisted shade of soul and wicked humor”. 

“Marsha's leading lovely ladies - are on a quest to marry acoustic music with the energy of electric rock."

Band Members