NEW PORT RICHEY — Last year when Grace Askew auditioned for Season 4 of NBC's The Voice, she made it through two lines of the Nancy Sinatra classic These Boots are Made for Walkin' when judge Blake Shelton placed first claim on the Memphis crooner for his team on the show.
During her time as a contestant, the blues and country singer made it to the top 32 vocalists in the competition and was named a top 3 favorite contestant by Yahoo! Music and Rollingstone.com. Locals will get a chance to catch the singer up close with a performance on Thursday at the New Port Richey Library.
"I'm really looking forward to performing for y'all, this will be my first-ever official Florida show!" said Askew, 27, who has played guitar since age 13 and writes her own material.
Over the past four years Askew has toured with and opened for musical luminaries such as Marty Stuart, Hayes Carll, T-Model Ford, Ray Wylie Hubbard, James McMurtry, Band of Heathens, Lisa Marie Presley and Jesse Winchester. Her most recent singles include the original tune Empty Rooms and her covers of the classics These Boots Are Made for Walkin' and Me and Bobby McGee are also available on Amazon, CD Baby and iTunes, along with some earlier recordings.
"As for the (library show) set list, I'm about to release an album in early August, so I'll most likely have a majority of my set involve the newer material, coupled with a cover or two from some of my musical heroes (Tom Waits, Harry Nilsson, Mississippi John Hurt)," she said.
Ann Scott, associate director and outreach librarian for the New Port Richey Library, calls Askew "a true original."
"She's got those deep Memphis roots as well as an independent soul," she said. "Her artistry does not fit in some prepackaged box. She exemplifies what it means to be a 'unique,' someone true to oneself, embracing musicmaking and storytelling in an authentic way that can guide us all to find our own roots."
Askew looks forward to her first performance in a library environment.
"Ann Scott, bless her heart, has been so patient in getting this show put together, and I'm so honored to be considered for the library," she said. "I'm assuming it will be a great listening audience, which is what I prefer, after years of playing in loud, rowdy bars … this will be a much-welcomed atmosphere, ha!"