By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Nov 16, 2004 at 5:20 AM

{image1}In the early '90s, Pamela Means' name was on marquees all over the city, and she quickly became one of Milwaukee's favorite singer/songwriters. She was a regular at the now-defunct Celebrity Club, Hooligan's, The Coffee House and Shank Hall.

"After a couple of years playing the bars regularly in Milwaukee, I was feeling a sense of being stifled creatively," says Means. "I felt I wasn't growing enough as an artist. I needed more but wasn't sure what that meant."

While visiting friend Peter Mulvey in Boston, Means finally had a moment of clarity and decided Boston was the place for her. She left Milwaukee in September 1994.

"I was immediately inspired and drawn to the city and its thriving culture and music scene. Within a year, I moved and started from scratch. It was one of the most challenging and most rewarding experiences I've ever had," says Means, 35.

Mulvey, who grew up in Milwaukee, returned to Brew City, but Means stayed in Boston. She later moved 100 miles west of Boston to Northampton, Mass.

"It's smaller and cute with the Berkshires in the background. I still prefer the East Coast because of its proximity to so many major cities," she says.

In 2003 Means launched her fifth self-released album, "Single Bullet Theory." Currently, she is writing songs for a new album and performing a weekly residency side project of all jazz, on electric guitar with occasional drums and upright bass accompaniment called "Strictly Jazz with Pamela Means." She plans to make a live recording of that project as well.

Means was named Falcon Ridge Folk Festival's "Most Wanted New Artist," and both Wisconsin's "Folk Artist of the Year" and "Female Vocalist of the Year." She has also been a Boston Music Award Nominee.

Means performs over 150 shows a year at clubs, coffeehouses, colleges and festivals across the country, most notably the Newport Folk Festival, Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, South by Southwest Conference, Southern Womyn's Fest and Michigan Womyn's Festival. She is also a favorite at innumerable regional Gay Pride events, Take Back the Night rallies and Black History Month celebrations.

She has shared the stage with artists including Ani DiFranco, Joan Baez, Neil Young, Shawn Colvin, Richie Havens, Patty Larkin, Melissa Ferrick, Violent Femmes, Pete Seeger, Janis Ian and Holly Near.

With lots of friends and family in Milwaukee, Means will return for a visit, and maybe a show or two, in early 2005. She says the singer/songwriter scene in both Milwaukee and the Boston area is hotter than ever, possibly because many musicians feel politically motivated.

"I see more people picking up guitars and using their voices to speak truth to power," says Means. "That's the wonderful balance of being up against a hyper-conservative administration, the left gets louder."

Pamela Means' Web site is

Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.

Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.