Poetic lyrics set to fingerstyle acoustic guitar and mountain dulcimer melodies have made Seattle-based Heidi Muller one of the Northwest's leading singer/songwriters and song interpreters. Muller's four self-produced albums, released on her own Cascadian label, have been enthusiastically received by folk music fans throughout the United States. Muller's "Good Road" is the theme song for Northwest Public Radio's Inland Folk show, while her 1989 album Matters of the Heart, was nominated as Best Folk Album of the Year in the Northwest Area Music Association awards.
A finalist in the Kerrville Folk Festival's New Folk songwriting contest in 1989, Muller inherited her love of music from her parents. Muller's mother played classic tunes of the 1920s and '30s on the piano, and her father loved to recite poetry. Muller was also inspired by an uncle who played East German folk music on the zither.
Learning to play guitar at the age of eleven, Muller played in several high school rock bands. In the late 1960s, however, Muller was inspired by the folk-pop tunes of Joni Mitchell and James Taylor and traded her electric guitar for an acoustic model.
While attending Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy, Massachusetts, where she earned an undergraduate degree in psychology, Muller shared a dormitory room with multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Gail Rundlett. The two women began to perform together as a duo in 1975, and became regular performers at church coffeehouses, Boston Ethical Society meetings and clubs including the Sword And The Stone in Boston.
A turning point in Muller's musical approach came when she attended a performance by Bill Staines. According to a recent interview, Muller learned from Staines that "an artist could work independently without a record label or an agent." In the years since, Muller has remained independent, booking her shows and releasing her albums on her own label.
After graduating from college, Muller moved temporarily back to New Jersey before continuing on to Houston, Texas, where she spent two and a half years balancing her musical career with a day job as a transitional counselor.
Muller moved to Seattle, Washington, in 1981, where she continues to reside. Her debut album, Between the Water and the Wind, was released on cassette in 1985 and was followed by Matters of the Heart in 1989, Cassiopeia in 1992, and Giving Back in 1996.
Muller's songs have been covered by Gail Rundlett, Small Potatoes, Marsha Webb, Straw Into Gold and Waterbound. She continues to teach and lead workshops on all levels of mountain dulcimer, folk guitar, songwriting and music business skills. Muller is a board member of Victory Music, an all-volunteer group that publishes a monthly magazine, hosts open-mic nights, and teaches business skills to musicians in the Seattle area. ~ Craig Harris