Skip to Content Skip to Navigation

Janet Emma & Seven West: Foreword

Janet Emma - Singer/Songwriter

And so we find outselves in the year 2016.  The journey continues....


Obsessed with songwriters & harmony singers from the moment she set foot in Virginia at age 15, yet uncertain she possessed what it took to contribute, Janet Emma spent two decades singing under the radar & learning from greats like Townes Van Zant, Gram Parsons, The Louvins, Emmylou & Buck.  Later she would follow every note her brother Randy Thompson & others close sang & played.  The Americana Stage concert venue in Downtown Leesburg was established soley by Janet Emma circa 1996 to satisfy a passion for presenting & promoting the often unnoticed & exceedingly talented writers of the songs that made mainstream radio.  Many friends were made & collaborations ensued.  What is now coined as a genre ‘Americana’ had no voice in the days prior to industry rag Gavin Americana & later The Americana Music Association.  Janet would later volunteer w/ the AMA Conference in Nashville for it’s first 7 years.  Passion can only hide for so long.  At age 38, Janet started the alt-country group One Horse Town that garnered the 2006 Washington Area Music Award for New Artist of the Year boasting 8 songs written by Janet Emma & Julia Kasdorf produced by the inimitable Jon Carroll of Mary Chapin Carpenter & Starland Vocal Band fame.  In 2009, Janet reached a little farther west to record w/ mentor & songwriting hero Walt Wilkins supported by his wife Tina & the The MystiquerosGhostfields, engineered at Jumping Dog Studies in Cedar Park, TX by Ron Flynt, went on to earn 3 ‘Wammie’ nominations for Best Female Country Artist, Best Debut Recording, And Best Country Album in 2009.  Given the project was made almost exclusively in Texas w/ Texans, just being nominated was a high honor.  Janet built a new group based on this project dubbed Janet Emma & Seven West.  The group continues to evolve, now welcoming David Kitchen, Kevin Dudley, Michael Andre Aubin, Jill Hales Barnes & other DC luminaries going forward. Seven Westers have, in the past, included revered players including Colin Thompson, Bill Williams, Ariel Francis, Jesse Shultzaberger, Rico Petrocelli, Erik Burham, Rudy Bizdik & more.  Janet hopes to record in the coming year with Cruz Contreras of The Black Lillies at the helm.  

The journey through music & friends & soulful collaborations continues!  New songs are being written, new shows booked & new collaborations coming to the Seven West stage!  David Kitchen continues to wield his rippin', unmatched telecaster magic, Mike Aubin joins Jem & 7West on drums, Patrick "The Hammer" Thornton will be throwing down on bass, & Kevin Dudley will be slinging acoustic & bringing his Texas tinged (& oh so welcome) vocals to the mix.  WHAT a treat.  Angel singer Jill Hales Barnes will fly in from AZ whenever possible, but most especially for The Old Waterford Schoolhouse show September 9th!  We'll be surprising you with a few speical guest sit ins on banjo, mando, tele & who knows WHAT!  New songs, old songs, new harmonies & arrangements.  We have missed you.  Can't WAIT to share summer nights of music with YOU!


Spread the word.  We're so looking forward to seeing you!


Great music, great friends, good juju.  Good times.  Here we come!


Love, Jem & the 7 West Tribe

Janet Emma

Janet Emma & Seven West - Hella Band o' Musicians

Things often start out small, and then grow into bigger Sunflowers.  :).  Janet Emma's music project is no exception.

Produced by Austin's revered Walt Wilkins at Jumping Dog Studios in Cedar Park, TX, Janet Emma's 2009 release Ghostfields drew 3 WAMA nominations in spite of having been made in Texas with a helluva list of musicians hailing from the Lone Star State.  We thought that was very generous of WAMA DC, so thanks WAMA!!

Some of DC's finest heard the call, and have joined to become Janet Emma & Seven West, delivering a rollicking, swinging dose of original and hand picked dance tunes.  Angus Mackay keeps it rolling on upright bass, while David Kitchen & Colin Thompson nail down the rippin-est of guitar slinging virtuosity.  The inimitable Robbie Magruder keep time like a human metronome.  Ariel Francis recently joined in to round out this fantastic dance hall style Virginia based band.  And they are having a helluva good time doing it.  Special guests Jill Barnes & Susan Gaeta weave angelic harmonies - and.make the stage look a lot prettier in the process.  Jesse Shultzaberger, artful beat keeper for The Woodshedders and Deep Swell,  joins from time to time.  Lucky us.  :)

Ghostfields - Produced by Walt Wilkins, Jumping Dog Studios, Austin, TX

I don’t always know, with great certainty, what is best for me. And I rarely know what’s best for anybody else. I’ve spent the past couple of years washing colors that were untrue from the "painting"....the work in progress…that is ME. Some of the stains were washed out against my will. I got used to them, was afraid how dull I’d be without them…perhaps I feared they defined me. I’ve been blessed to be loved by artists who have brought new color and taught me how to use it, to blend it, to apply it. The dark splotch that has marred my painting is shrinking. I’ve got mentors.. artists.. who, even when I didn’t want to paint anymore, came and shined light on my painting and pointed out what was good, and encouraged me to keep on. I can hear….see…feel God through them when I am in the dark. By the time you hear these songs, I probably won’t be living in them anymore. I will have moved on, because I wrote them down and let them go. I want to be a painting that tells a story when I grow up….a human story… hopefully a story that ends peacefully and leaves this world a little better than I found it. There is a believer in me somewhere. No matter what happens, that believer gets up every day, goes to bed at night and dreams, and wakes up and follows that dream again. I’m lucky like that. I hope you are lucky, too. Thanks for listening. Hug your kids...or somebody elses kids. Make Peace. Coexist. Recycle. Slow down. Play outside. Breathe. Give Thanks.

David Kichen - Telecaster Monster Man

If you have not caught the The David Kitchen Band and/or the Thrillbilly's show, you're missin' out.  Stop missin' out and go see.

Angus Mackay - Big Upright Bass Fiddle Slinger

Go catch Angus w/ his swinging groups Hang Over Royale & The Atomic Swing Club.  We are damn happy to have Angus rockin' the big upright bass fiddle w/ us.  He's on FB, ya'll.  Stop by and see where he's playing.

Robbie Magruder - Human Metronome

Robbie doesn't talk much, especially about himself, so you'll be loathe to find him on FB, etc.  Soooo... just come shake his hand and tell him yourself how rockin' he is on his drums.  We LOVE Robbie Magruder!

Ariel Francis - Mad Rhythm Guitar

Go see Ariel Francis on FB, or better yet, playing bass in the David Kitchen Band and then some.  We're pretty excited he's slingin' with us.

Colin Thompson - Bad Ass Guitar Boy

He's the real deal at 21 years old.  Look out Derek Trucks.