Lola Spencer doesn’t really know for sure why Special Olympics West Virginia keeps requesting her to help with its opening ceremonies at Live on the Levee, but she’s glad they do.
“I guess they like me,” she said. “It’s special to me. My sister was a poster child for the March of Dimes in 1964.”
Friday will mark Spencer’s seventh opening ceremony appearance at Live on the Levee. She’ll be joined by her band, Mothers Nature, a group that plays a little bit of this and a little bit of that.
“We’re a party band,” she said. “We’re a variety band, a dance band.”
The St. Albans resident said she started Mothers Nature in 1999 as a band that didn’t particularly specialize in one brand of music or another.
“We didn’t want to be a group that just played country or just played rock,” she said. “We wanted to be able to play whatever we wanted and just have a good time.”
There are some standards, though.
“I don’t think people would let me go if I didn’t play a little Stevie Nicks. We also play some Prince and some Chaka Khan.”
Generally, though, the band tends to fly by the seat of its pants. The set list is very loose.
“We play for the crowd,” she said. “We try to give them what they want.”
Spencer said the faces in the band have changed over the years. New players have joined, just as others have left. Still, the band is pretty much the same kind of band it’s always been.
“We do more songs,” she said. “We do funk and pop, and even some stuff from the ’50s and ’60s. Not everybody will do that, but I like to try to be different.”
For fans of the band, Live on the Levee might be their best chance to see Mothers Nature. While Spencer said she and the band sometimes play Roni’s, in Elkview, they aren’t spending a lot of time in the clubs anymore.
“We do a lot of corporate events,” she said. “We get booked for private parties.”
Spencer keeps busy. Near the beginning of the year, she joined Gypsy Highway, another variety band.
“It’s different from Mothers Nature,” she said. “We’ve got five singers in the band. Everybody plays instruments, and some of us swap them out on stage.”
Part or all of that band will be featured at Live on the Levee, Spencer added.
The singer is also playing with guitarist Jamie Hedrick as part of the acoustic duo, LoJam.
“Music is what I do,” Spencer said. “I’ve really buckled down to take it full force.”
Reach Bill Lynch at email@example.com or 304-348-5195.