TOWNSEND -- Deborahanne Mayer didn't sing much.
For the first 40 years of her life she sang only to songs on the radio, with a captive audience of children in the back seat. But when goaded into trying karaoke a few years ago, she found a voice that she never knew existed.
Now she sings to crowds and to loyal fans on YouTube. The aspiring country singer and her band, The Downers, just released their first CD. The self-titled "Debbie and the Downers," dropped on Nov. 20 and early sales reflect her popularity. Selling more than 350 copies in a few weeks, using only social media for marketing, Mayer is thrilled with the early success.
The single mother and full-time legal professional has been expanding her fanbase since she first picked up the microphone in 2008; and is currently expanding her own musical skill set
"I decided to learn piano," she said. "It will help in songwriting to know more about music composition."
She co-wrote two of the nine songs on the CD, all of which are original works by the band.
Not specifically designated as traditional country and western, the West Townsend transplant from Westford describes her genre as "feminist country."
Influenced by strong female voices from the industry's past -- Patsy Kline and Loretta Lynn -- Mayer's union with the band is a matter of kismet more than design.
Mitchell and Mayer recruited other area musicians from Putney, Vermont, where the album was recorded over a two-year period, and where they can be seen live most weekends. She had previously released a solo album years earlier but realized that surrounding herself with a consistent group of professional musicians would amp up her voice.
The mother of two girls juggles work as a legal title examiner, family, piano practice, and dog-owner duties during the week. Then she makes the 90-minute drive to gigs in Vermont. It is the busy but rewarding life of a musician, leaving her very little time for her other passions; fitness and hiking.
Debbie and The Downers do not have any local performances on the horizon but anxious fans can order the album at the band's website or Facebook page.
Links to her songs are ubiquitous on YouTube and at the band's Facebook page, where fans can also purchase the CD for a song. One track, Whole Wide World, is gaining traction among new listeners.