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Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, September 8, 2011

Life connections important to Rinehart's music efforts

By Alan Smith

Korbie Rinehart talked about her life since graduating from high school in Mount Ayr during her concert as part of the Princess Theater gala. Rinehart has her first EP CD coming out before Halloween and is trying to find a publisher for songs she has written.

Life is all about the connections people make with each other. Or as one Beatles lyricist wrote, "I get by with a little help from my friends."

For Korbie RINEHART, trying to make her musical way in Nashville, TN, this has proved very true. Whether it's friends and family back home in Mount Ayr who have provided support for her to follow her dream of song writing and performing, or new friends she has made along the way, RINEHART is counting her blessings.

In coming back home to Mount Ayr to perform in the Princess Theater gala recently, RINEHART was sharing some of the thank yous for those connections -- in words and in music.

Take the finale of the concert, where her mother Kathy RINEHART, joined her on stage for a heart-felt rendition of "You've Got A Friend." That seems to be the theme of her life right now.

Her first EP of seven original songs titled "The Waiting Game" is due for release in October. Finding a manager, musicians, a photographer, graphic designer and more to reach this point have all come through those life connections. Even the inspiration for many of the songs she has written has come from helping friends deal with issues in their lives.

It's a long story from her roots in Mount Ayr to the recording studio in Nashville, TN for her first finished tracks. Flash back to the 1990s and RINEHART was growing up in Mount Ayr. She credits music teachers like Martha LANDPHAIR for helping with her love of music and piano teacher Nancy SACKETT for teaching her how to play the piano, which is so much a part of her life right now. In fact, her first original composition came at a piano day camp at Graceland University in Lamoni.

One of the sessions showed students how they could play a song on a keyboard and the notes would be translated into written music by the computer. She came up with a tune that she is now sure must have been very derivative of "Heart and Soul" and it was printed out.

Her friend Cara SMITH responded when she heard what RINEHART had done. "You wrote that?" Cara exclaimed, giving her a congratulatory hug. "You're hugging me, Cara," RINEHART responded. At the same time, the person at the computer had asked Korbie what the title was to be for the tune. So, quite by accident, "You're Hugging Me Cara" was born.

Her first real song with lyrics came along in her senior year of high school. Angie LONEY was the vocal music teacher and encouraged RINEHART in her vocal music pursuits.

RINEHART wrote a song to sing at high school graduation in May of 2000, which Mrs. LONEY paved the way for her to perform. It was only the beginning.

She found time to write music in her head while working at Lynn's Sinclair, her father's convenience store and gas station.

"Honest, dad," she says in case Lynn is reading. "I didn't do it until all the items were put away and the dusting done."

But there were times when things were slow during her shift and writing music helped stave off boredom.

She was part of the Iowa Ambassador's trip to Europe the summer before her senior year and that opened her eyes to what music was like on a larger stage.

"It glorified music for me in away that I had never seen before, she said. She saw other students practicing for hours and staying up at night just to play music.

It was off to music school at University of Northern Iowa following high school, but RINEHART soon discovered that Cedar Falls was too far away from home and taking all the general studies courses needed even to study music was not for her. She made it through one semester, went to each of the second semester courses once before deciding to look for something else.

She decided to move to Des Moines and moved in with high school friend Lindsey COMER until she could find a place of her own.

Her dad, Lynn, told her that if she could find a job by Valentine's Day he would buy her a keyboard. On the day of the deadline, RINEHART began a job helping to manage the apartments where she was living and she received the keyboard. She just happened to be at the right place when someone had quit and stepped into the job.

When her brother Tanner was ready to graduate in 2003, he had set his sights on a diesel school in Nashville, TN. RINEHART was ready for a change of scenery and decided that she would go there as well.

She came home for the summer, played slow pitch ball with the resurrected Lynn's WannaBees, and prepared for a new chapter of her life.

She went to Nashville, TN that fall, even though her brother Tanner's plans had changed by that time. She found a place to stay with Beth BJUSTROM'S niece, Jaime, until she could get her own place. She found an apartment and went job hunting -- getting some work at 9 West, a clothing store in the Opry Mills Mall, the biggest shopping mall in Tennessee.

She became assistant manager when she was in the right place at the right time, then was named manager of the store in the spring of 2004 at 21.

She became great friends with her store's regional manager and still has a standing invitation to New Year's Eve with him and his girlfriend in Knoxville, TN.

RINEHART also became good friends with the woman who ran the career center in the mall -- she became her Nashville "mom." It was from this friend that she got the heads up that a recruiter was looking for a manager to open an ECKO Unlimited clothing store.

She was interviewed on the spot and by the spring of 2007 was running the store which had 45 employees for the Christmas season. She was doing all the hiring and had put together a young staff and the store -- the only one the company had in Tennessee at the time -- took off.

ECKO Unlimited is an urban brand that has taken off, especially in the southern United States, she noted.

Along the way she wrote songs from time to time. She wrote wedding songs for two of her Mount Ayr high school friends. She wrote others that grew out of helping friends through things like broken relationships.

In the fall of 2009 she had spent six Christmases at Opry Mills Mall managing stores, working long hours every day, with hardly time to catch shows in this music mecca or work on her own music.

With the support of her mom and dad, she walked away from this good job in the fall of 2009. She went to the apartment rental office, paid her rent, and mentioned that she was looking for a job. She had become friends with the apartment manager and was offered some part time work there. She also became a server at T.G.I. Friday's.

"I found a new-found respect for servers in the time I worked there," she said. "But it's not something I would do again."

Eventually she became a fulltime apartment manager again -- being in the right place at the right time -- and with the first 8 to 5 job in a long time had time to focus more on her music.

She played and sang at the song writers' night at Commodore Bar and Grill, in the lobby of the Holiday Inn on Broadway several times. This was fun to get her music out in front of people, but she realized that she needed to "step it up."

That's when things began to fall in place to get some of her music recorded.

One never knows when a friendship or good deed will come back around.

Take Jackie WILSON, a blues singer who made it to Hollywood with American Idol not too long ago. She's one of RINEHART'S friends. It all began when WILSON needed a pair of red shoes in a hurry and came into the store RINEHART was managing at the time. RINEHART didn't have any in the store, but it turned out that she and RINEHART had the same size foot and RINEHART had a pair of red shoes at home. She went the extra mile and got them for WILSON and the two became friends. Last fall WILSON was singing in a show at the Hard Rock Cafe headlined by Sharif IMAN, RINEHART went along to the show with a co-worker at the apartment complex. At the concert there, the co-worker introduced RINEHART to Johnathan AULT, a manager who grew up sitting on Johnny CASH'S knee in Hendersonville, TN.

AULT had managed IMAN at one time. RINEHART'S music was talked up to AULT at the concert and he asked for Korbie to send some of her stuff. He called back the next day, offering to represent her and help get the EP recorded, just because he liked the music.

The guitar player for her EP album? He was a friend of the brother of a girlfriend at the mall. The brother was a R&B singer who the guitar player had played with. He'd be happy to play along.

The drummer? He was a college brother of one of the security guys in the mall that RINEHART was friends with.

Another connection got a photo shoot in Chicago with photographer Alicia DIAMOND. Among DIAMOND'S set ups was finding an old organ that was set in the middle of a stream for a publicity shot.

The EP recording sessions began in June and were done in seven or eight sessions.

"You don't just go in and sing and play the song a couple of times," RINEHART said. "It can take six hours or more to get everything right for one song."

More help?

A fellow in the apartment complex she manages just graduated from sound engineering school. Enter Benjamin COWHERD. When he heard about the project he signed on to do the engineering, again just to help out. He's currently mixing the project.

Jonathan AULT has a friend who owns a duplicating service that will duplicate the CDs for sale.

Burt MURPHY of Podium Ink in Mount Ayr will be helping out with graphic design for the project, another of the friends who are helping the dream become a reality.

By Halloween she hopes to have the whole package in hand. She already has a website and a facebook fan page at That will update fans on when the CD is ready for release and other things that are going on in her life.

And after her Princess Theater gala this year, she's booked back to Mount Ayr next summer, she laughs. The word is that the Junk Ditch Band is planning a reunion at Ayr Days next year and RINEHART plans to be back then too.

She'll also be back once the CD is out to have a CD signing at Country Blossoms.

And she thinks she can probably talk her dad, Lynn, into selling CD's at Lynn's Sinclair.

So what are RINEHART'S goals now?

Songwriting is her love and she hopes that the EP will help her find a publisher for her songs. She'll be knocking on doors of publishers, hoping that the music performed by more than she and her keyboard will help open doors.

Performing the songs herself is fun, but she would like to get them published and out to a wider audience -- maybe some other singer will take them to a wider audience.

"I'm not looking to be famous, I just want to find a way that I can make music the focus of my life, not a sideline," RINEHART said.

Song writing is a way to deal with life's moments of loss and crisis, she finds.

The song she sang at graduation -- "The First Day" -- grew out of the impact of the death in a tragic accident of good friend Ben DODGE here in Mount Ayr.

"I wanted to help others feel better and writing a song was a way of helping me cope and helping me try to help others," she said.

Her misery at being away from home at college showed up in some of her early songs.

"Some of those songs are really dark, but they helped me through the feelings I was having at that time," she said.

Writing songs comes easily, RINEHART finds.

"It's hard to explain but once I get an idea the words and the music come to me -- they sort of write themselves," RINEHART says.

"If I run into a problem, I walk away and when I come back it seems to come together."

"It kind of freaks me out the way that it works, but I think it's a God-given ability, she said.

"For me it's a way to relax, a way to decompress."

No matter what, she plans to keep writing her songs.

"I find that songs are a way I can help put into words things people are feeling but can't put into words themselves," RINEHART says.

Well said.

Photograph courtesy of Mount Ayr Record-News
Transcription and note by Sharon R. Becker, September of 2011

~ ~ ~ ~

Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, September 29, 2016, Page 1

No place like home
Rinehart back in Mount Ayr after Nashville adventure

By Curtis Riggs

Class of 2000 Mount Ayr Community graduate Korbie Rinehart was more than happy to trade the bright lights of Nashville, TN for the serenity of Mount Ayr.

After spending more than a decade in the country music capital, she recently moved back to Mount Ayr a couple of months ago to marry her fiancee', Joe Powell, and to raise her two children Sully, age 2, and Keely, age 9 months. Powell also moved to Mount Ayr from Nashville.

"It was time to go," she said, citing traffic getting much worse and rental prices going through the roof in Nashville in the last five years. "It changed. I became one of the people complaining about all of the new people."

Since arriving back in Mount Ayr, Rinehart and her soon-to-be husband have spent much of their time refurbishing their new home and getting their toddlers to day care.

The adage, "the more things change, the more they stay the same," sums up her feelings about Mount Ayr in 2016. A big change for her upon moving back was that many people had moved into new homes and had new spouses.

"I feel like Mount Ayr should be frozen in time," she said about adjusting to changes in the community.

Powell, a professional commercial and residential painter, wasted no time in getting involved in the community this summer. He was recently hired to paint the front of the Princess Theater.

While she stresses that the move to Nashville was not about furthering her own career as a singer, but she did enjoy taking in much of the music and entertainment while she was there. She recorded one CD, "The Waiting Game," while in Nashville.

She was lucky to have a Mount Ayr contact living there who also knows a thing or two about the music industry. She became friends with Bobby and Pam Ricker. Bobby Ricker had bands around Mount Ayr when he was in high school in the 1970s.

"Bobby tells the best stories," she said about the son of longtime Mount Ayr residents Bob and Lucy Ricker.

While living in Nashville Korbie typically came back to Mount Ayr a couple of times a year to visit her parents, Lynn and Kathy Rinehart.

She was elated on a recent visit when she realized she would not have to get on a plane and return to Nashville.

"I was ready to put my kids in a good school system," she said of the other major reason for returning to her hometown.

"I moved to get to a simpler place," she said, adding it is nice to be able to say "pop" again when referring to a can of soda.

"You had to say Coke down there."

Photograph courtesy of Mount Ayr Record-News
Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, June of 2017

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