Wallace Gerdy grew up surrounded by guitars in a supportive environment that nurtured her musical curiosity.
There was just one problem: All of her dad’s instruments were right-handed, and she is a leftie. She tried playing the right-handed guitars with little luck.
“We ended up switching to left-handed, and I haven’t been able to put it down since,” Gerdy says.
Gerdy, a 2013 graduate of Lancaster Country Day School, will perform Monday at Kaleidoscope. She just released her first single, “Sunny Monday,” which garnered comparisons to Sheer Mag, Liz Phair and Ron Gallo from WXPN’s The Key.
She’ll perform again in Lancaster on April 14 as part of Launch Music Conference and Festival.
Gerdy is the daughter of John Gerdy, founder of Lancaster nonprofit Music for Everyone and frontman of blues rock band The Willie Marble Experience. She says her dad gave her a strong musical foundation, introducing her to such classic rock artists as Bruce Springsteen, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd.
When she started to explore music for herself, Gerdy gravitated toward punk-pop acts.
“I think, like, Green Day was one of the biggest early groups for me,” Gerdy says.
She started playing guitar at age 10, and by 16, was jamming with high school friends in the band Colored Vinyl. Gerdy also played guitar in Lancaster Country Day’s jazz band for four years.
Colored Vinyl ended when its members went off to college. Not long after arriving at Philadelphia’s Temple University, Gerdy started performing with punk band Androgynous Jesus. After that group ended, she joined Mattress Food.
“It’s a super good time,” Gerdy says. “The music is really fun.”
While she wrote songs in high school for Colored Vinyl, Gerdy’s been spending a lot more time writing her own music the past two years.
“I’ve been writing all the time, and it’s just become super, super important to me,” Gerdy says. “I think until then, I’d really been focused on being a good guitar player. I had always wanted to tell my story and talk about the things I thought were important, and I think I’ve really come into that in the last couple of years, where I’m writing super consistently.”
Her solo project, Wallace, gives her an outlet to share those stories. She describes the bright and cheery lead single “Sunny Monday” as “a fun little love song.”
The track was recorded with Jon Sambrick at Lancaster’s Thornwall Studios.
“I think that he just gets this really rich and full sound that I think is really hard to get,” Gerdy says of Sambrick. “I think he makes it really sound like you’re there with the music.”
Gerdy is working with Sambrick on the rest of her full-length debut, which she hopes to have out by the end of summer.
She says “Sunny Monday” is a pretty good indicator of the songs that are yet to come.
“It’s maybe a little bit poppier than the rest of the album, but that’s not to say the album doesn’t still have poppy qualities throughout,” Gerdy says.
There’s a distinct ’90s vibe to Gerdy’s music, which she says happened organically.
“When I started writing this music, I was really into Third Eye Blind at the time ... and also, a lot of, I guess, more catchy rock ’n’ roll, more hooky kind of stuff. And I think that kind of lends towards that ’90s feel.”
The Kaleidoscope show is the last of four dates on a mini-tour with Lancaster three-piece Cousin.
“I’m really humbled to be with all these awesome musicians,” Gerdy says.