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Elizabeth Lyons not taking success for granted

Elizabeth Lyons is bill Friday Joe’s Bar.

Elizabeth Lyons is on the bill Friday at Joe’s Bar.

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♦ 8:30 p.m. Aug. 24

♦ Joe’s Bar, 940 W. Weed

♦ Tickets, $15

♦ (312) 337-3486;

She’s in her 20s, but country music singer/songwriter Elizabeth Lyons knows her mom still occasionally tosses and turns at night, worrying about her little girl.

“I had been in Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Missouri in less than 24 hours, and both my mom and my credit card company were concerned about me,” laughs the up-and-comingsinger-songwriter. “It can be hard to keep track of me these days.”

Indeed, with a guitar in her passenger seat and an endless array of dreams travelling around in her head, Lyons is living the life of an independent country music artist trying to make her name known in an ever-changing genre.

“There is nothing better than being in the car all summer getting feedback about my music,” says Lyons, who is currently visiting a long list of small-market radio stations to support the current single and music video for her song “Everything Tonight.”

“I even gave the girl at Subway who was making my sandwich yesterday my card. It’s all about trying to spread the word and creating a bigger story.”

The foundation for her dream of a career in music was in fact laid right here on the North Shore. Raised on a mix of classical piano lessons, church choirs and theatrical shows as a member of the Children’s Theatre of Winnetka, it wasn’t until a bit later that country music began to take hold in the life of the 2009 New Trier Township High School graduate.

“My mom is from a small town in Iowa, so every time we would visit my grandma or my great grandpa, they would be listening to Hank Williams or Patsy Cline,” says Lyons, who will come home to play Joe’s Bar on Aug. 24. “Yet, it wasn’t until an old boyfriend gave me this mix CD of music that had country artists like Tim McGraw and Lonestar on it that I realized just how much I loved all types of country music, other than just Taylor Swift.”

While her long blonde locks and strong determination may remind many of a young Swift, Lyons says she is following the path of a slew of country music rising stars, most notably Illinois’ own Brett Eldredge.

“Everyone has their own path, but Brett Eldredge is one of those artists that has shown how you can stay true to yourself,” says Lyons, who graduated from Vanderbilt University in Nashville this past spring. “His new album truly reflects his personality, which is exactly what I want to do.”

In the past year, Lyons has begun seeing glimpses of success. She has sold more than 60,000 downloads of her music on iTunes, and her latest music video for “Everything Tonight” made it to No. 8 on iTunes Top Country Music Videos chart.

“It’s been a really wild ride,” she says. “I mean, last fall I walked out of class and got a text I was charting on the National Country Album iTunes charts. I never thought I would chart at all. Now it’s about building on that success.”

Building on that success means Lyons will be spending a lot more time in her car, with her ever-present To Do list lying on the passenger seat.

“I want to get my song on SiriusXM The Highway and I want to get my video on CMT,” she says enthusiastically. “I have a timeline in my mind, but I know you can’t control time. I’m just trying to live in the moment.”

Tricia Despres is a local free-lance writer.

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