Folk artist Hoyston plays at the Mill today


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When Jenny Hoyston first came up with the band name Paradise Island, she didn’t know it was also the name of the birthplace of comic book hero Wonder Woman.

Now, when she performs her one-woman show, the name fits.

Hoyston will play her folk-country music at 8 p.m. today at the Mill, 120 E. Burlington St.

Admission is $6.

For this show, she plans on playing the acoustic guitar and the ukulele, which, she said, is one of her favorite instruments.

“I think the main appeal of the ukulele for me is how tiny and portable it is and how you’ve got an instrument almost like a guitar,” she said. “Having the ukulele with me on tour is a good stress reliever as well.”

While the ukulele will be her main instrument of focus during her performance, sometimes Hoyston uses an old drum machine — or what she calls “a hip-hop free-style machine” — to add electronic beats to her dark-theme songs.

Having previously been a member of the band Erase Errata, the Texas native never thought her passion for playing music would turn into a full-time solo career.

“It’s kind of nerve-racking to be the whole show, because it’s easier to have a drummer and bass player,” Hoyston said. “But it also allows flexibility, and I have the freedom to completely change my set.”

Luke Tweedy, the owner of Flat Black Recording Studio, met Hoyston through a friend who told him to go see her band Erase Errata at a venue in Iowa City.

Her talent blew Tweedy away, and from then on, he not only toured with her, he also produced several of her records.

“I am a huge fan of [hers] musically, and I think what she does is on a different level,” Tweedy said. “The success she has seen, such as international touring, sharing the stage with the likes of huge groups such as Sonic Youth, all stems from a commitment to her craft, creativity, and hard work.”

Eventually, Hoyston moved to San Francisco, where she met Jarrett Mitchell.

While in California, Mitchell produced the CD of one of her collaborators, William Elliott Whitmore.

“Will and [Hoyston] played a lot together because they had the same country-folk style to their music,” Mitchell said.

Playing in the California music scene not only allowed for collaboration opportunities, it also allowed Hoyston to give back to her community.

Every July in Northern California, she produces a music festival called Fabulosa Fest on a 700-acre ranch, where she invites anywhere from 12 to 25 female acts.

The three-day event sponsors a lot of organizations during the year and raises money for youth charities.

“I was excited to do a festival such as this because most have few women and don’t normally think of female acts,” she said. “We wanted to have a venue for that opportunity.”

Whether she’s touring with her band, playing solo, or organizing a music festival, Hoyston believes that music will always be part of her life.

“Lyrically, [Hoyston] sings about the things I want to hear, and musically, she is creative and not afraid to experiment,” Tweedy said. “I hope I am able to work with her for the rest of my life.”

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