Following my dream: Can a woman – say, 'North of 40' – still follow her dreams and find her way back to Europe to showcase her new sound with her new band?  This video blog is a sample of the journey that will culminate with the film "North of 40."  I hope you'll come along for the ride as I document this trek in music and video.

North of 40 ep. 19 | Sundown Rising Preview

June 28 is when Sundown Rising is available everywhere. It has been such a joy to write, record, and produce this album.  From the incredible musicians who brought their passion (looking at you John Kregor, Steven C. Manns, Mike Gee…

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North of 40 ep. 18 | La La Boutique

I left academia in 2022 to pursue songwriting and performance full-time. For those that don’t know, I’ve been calling this my ‘North of 40’ journey. Leaving the security of a full-time job to follow my dream has been scary, but…

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North of 40 ep. 17 | Chicago Tribune

Thanks to Chicago Tribune critic Rick Kogan for supporting this leap of faith I'm taking with my music. There are days when I question my sanity. Thankfully performances like the recent ones at The Alamo in Springfield and Mamie's in…

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North of 40 ep. 16 | Dawn of the New Day


I shared last week that being on this North of 40 journey is ‘exhilarating, difficult, frustrating, and rewarding.’ One of the ‘difficult’ things is social media. Not my comfort zone at-all, but friends explain it's the must-do for all artists…

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North of 40 ep. 14 | New album Tease

Just a month away from the release of ‘The Flame.’  Here's a sample of some of the songs you'll hear on this bluesy 11-track release. Can't wait for you to hear the entire album!


North of 40 ep. 13 | Meet bass player Steve Manns

Introducing the multi-talented bassist Steve Manns, who has been playing with Denise since Spring. Steve is also an emerging Voice-over actor, as you can hear in this episode of 'North of 40.'

North of 40 ep. 12 | A New Gig Car!

 Denise has been praying for a new vehicle to get her around Chicago and downstate on her ‘North of 40’ journey, as her gig calendar is filling up for the summer. A prayer is answered. ;-)


North of 40 ep. 11 | Stuff Becomes Real

Denise was about to come to a crossroads. How could she balance the responsibilities of heading the Lincoln College Music program with the time needed to have a full-time music career and produce a film?

The school made that decision…

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North of 40, ep. 10 | Progress Report

Denise gives a progress report on her 'North of 40' journey.  She's checked off a couple boxes:

1) Producing new live music video to show to clubs and venues

2) Secured gigs, including returning gigs to showcase the new sound

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North of 40, ep. 9 | The "Wide Eyes" video debut

Here’s the 2nd video from our Nap House Studios shoot at Cometogetherspace Gallery.

Follow along in 2022 as Denise work to answer her own question positively: "Can a woman ... say 'North of 40 ... make her dreams come true…

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North of 40, ep. 8 | First video sample

Denise shares a short snip from the first of two videos produced by Nap House Studio and shot at Bloomington, IL's 'ComeTogetherSpace'.

'Amen to Happiness' was written by Denise and guitarist John Kregor. It will appear on the EP 'The…

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North of 40, ep. 7 | Previewing "Summertime Skies"

Denise previews a song from her upcoming EP “The Flame.”

It’s a song inspired by, and dedicated to, her mother. Patricia La Grassa (McGuigan) immigrated to the United States from Glasgow, Scotland when she was 20-years old. She brought nothing…

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North of 40, ep. 5 | First Show With New Band

The "North of 40" journey continued last Friday at Phyllis’ Musical Inn in Chicago with an affirmation. As passionate as I am to document the dream of this “North of 40” woman hoping to return to Europe with the new…

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North of 40, ep. 4 | Unwinding w/Loki

Denise is waiting for video coming soon from Nap House Studios and getting ready for her upcoming gig at Phyllis's Musical Inn in Chicago.  

Today, Denise unwinds from songwriting in her favorite way: visiting her favorite friends in the neighborhood…

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North of 40, ep. 3 | Video Shoot Day

Next step in the dream (being documented in film) to return to performing in Europe is new video to showcase the evolving La Grassa band sound. Did the Nap House Studios shoot yesterday.

NHS and Matt at Cometogetherspace Gallery are…

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North of 40, ep. 2 | New Demo Video

The next task for getting back on the music map is new demo video for venues and festival bookers. My most recent videos don't accurately reflect what I'm evolving into, though Pieces of Peace is getting there. This weekend, the…

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North of 40, ep. 1 | Opening Statement

Looking up and forward to making 2022 the year of dreams. Can a woman – say, north of 40 – find her way back to Europe to showcase her new sound with her new band?  Here’s the message, hope you'll…

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