MUSIC IS SOUND THERAPY FOR LOCAL SINGER By Donna Burch Bee Staff Writer (Published Friday, March 9, 2001) Ann Loureiro isn't quite sure where she picked up the unshakable need to make music. Like her hazel eyes and barely-able-to-sit-still-for-five- minutes demeanor, it's just something that's always been a part of her. 'I've always wanted to play music,' says Loureiro, an acoustic guitarist. 'My family wasn't musical and I wasn't exposed to it growing up. But I love it. 'I love writing and recording music. It's my personal therapy.' Loureiro is one of many Modesto-area musicians who are excited about the increasing opportunities to play regularly for a hometown audience. 'This is a good time for local musicians,' Loureiro says. 'The community is really opening up and is supportive of good artists. It's exciting.' Loureiro has released her debut CD, called 'Party Line,' on her own label, Just Kidding records. The 13-track disc was produced by Mitch Easter, who has worked with several well-known artists, including R.E.M., Suzanne Vega and Ben Folds Five. For years, Loureiro, a Modesto native, lived and worked in Los Angeles, where, among other things, she played in small club venues and worked for I.R.S. Records, the independent label that kick-started the careers of some of the biggest musical acts of the 1980s, including R.E.M., The Police, The Bangles and the Go-Gos. 'I wanted to be in a band like R.E.M.,' she says. So she joined an all-girl quartet called The Tomboys. While she liked being part of a group, being a solo artist gives her the chance to do music her way. Home again Loureiro returned to Modesto several years ago to be closer to her family. She also married Brian Kline, who co-wrote several songs on 'Party Line' and plays guitar on several tracks. The song she's gotten the most response to is the CD's opening track, 'Ice on an Angel's Wings,' co-written by Loureiro and Kline. 'I stole the riff for my song from Brian,' she says. 'He was playing it one day and I just said, 'Ok, I'm going to take that, thank you.'' Loureiro said her music is influenced by various artists: R.E.M., Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders, and the pop diva herself, Madonna. Madonna? 'Her songs are just so ... poppy and catchy.' It's hard for Loureiro to categorize her music. In fact, she's reluctant to compartmentalize it. 'I give vague answers to that question when I'm asked to describe my sound,' she says laughing. 'It's a little alternative, a Little Rock, a little country, a little pop.' The past few months have been hectic for Loureiro as she's worked on promoting her music and lining up gigs. 'It's hard to be a one-person record label,' she says. She wants to assemble a host of musicians and take her show on the road. But until then, she'll get her stage practice by playing at small coffeehouses, including tonight's show at the J Street Cafe in Modesto. Cafe owner Jim LaGrone has been a Loureiro fan for several years and remembers when he first heard her play. 'She came in off the street and said she heard that we have live music and that she wanted to play. 'I loved her sound automatically. And as word got out, more people would come in to hear her play.' Early stage fright Given her confident attitude and apparently bottomless well of energy, it's hard to imagine that Loureiro had to get over the fear of performing live. 'I was really scared and self-conscious,' she says, recalling the first time she played in front of an audience. 'I was in Southern California, and it was a hole in the wall. My voice was shaking.' It's not the only time she remembers being shaken. There was the time she learned that Heartbreakers guitar player Mike Campbell was in the audience at one of her shows. Then there was the time she met the group's frontman and her musical idol, Tom Petty. 'I couldn't say a word,' she says. 'I was so star struck.' When asked what she hopes listeners will glean from her music, her answer is simple: 'I want them to feel good. I'm there to provide them with a good time. I'm trying to give them a positive message, too. I hope it gets heard.' 'But if they just have a good time listening,' she said, 'that's cool, too.' Learn more about Loureiro and listen to sound bites from her CD, 'Party Line,' at her Web site: www.annloureiro.com.