Neighbor records original song in Nashville

Lara Pucik Johnson is an environmental scientist by profession, but she is also a singer-songwriter. Thanks to a winning lottery ticket, Lara recorded an original song in March at a Nashville recording studio with session musicians.

Lara has composed songs for eight years, honing her craft by attending workshops at the Northern California Chapter of Nashville Songwriters Association International. Thanks to a calendar item she saw in Viewpoint, Lara became a member of NSAI. The chapter meets the second Wednesday of each month at Sierra 2, an easy walk from her 26th Street home.

An event at Sierra 2 last fall led to the Nashville trip.

“Our local chapter of NSAI held a Saturday songwriting workshop looking at trends in the Billboard charts and what makes a country hit, featuring Larry Beaird, who runs a recording studio in Nashville,” said Lara. At each workshop around the country, Beaird held a raffle for the opportunity to record a song in his studio. Lara won the raffle for the local chapter.

Before traveling to Nashville in March, Lara recorded her vocal accompanied by her guitar at the home studio of neighbor Rick Lotter of the band Mumbo Gumbo.

Lara and husband Eric planned their Nashville trip to coincide with NSAI’s annual Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival. She attended a two-day songwriting conference, and the couple enjoyed songwriter circle evening performances – “people sitting on stools, taking turns singing their songs with an acoustic guitar and telling the story behind the song. It was magical!” said Lara.

Lara’s recording took place at Beaird Music Group (

“Larry just needed the recording of me singing my song with guitar. He charted it up, handed it to the band, and had me sing a ‘scratch’ vocal for them,” recalls Lara. “Within 30 minutes, he and the five other musicians in the studio came up with the instrumental arrangement you hear on the track. Then it was my turn again in the vocal booth to record over it for real.”

Back home, Lara performs in two seasonal concerts each year with Sacramento-based RSVP vocal ensemble (, a group that raises funds for local nonprofits.

For information about the NSAI Sacramento chapter, visit

Lara’s recording of her original composition, “Maybe I’ll cry,” is at

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