“I have more fun than the law should allow!” laughs Liza Verschoor, creator and host of the “Poudre Valley Barn Dance” program on KRFC FM 88.9, a non-profit community station powered by volunteers.
Every week, she spends hours sorting through her huge collection of record albums to select and arrange “hillbilly” music to fill her 2-hour show, then transferring it to CD. On Saturdays, she’s in the studio, telling listeners, “Turn it up, it’s a good one!”
Music has been a huge part of her life forever. “When I was a kid, my parents listened to classic country, and I’d fall asleep listening to the radio. Rockabilly, honkytonk—they’re just nerdy subgenres of hillbilly music,” she says, and her show includes all of them.
Her beloved friend, Aaron Pope, had been hosting the Poudre Valley Hayride show on KRFC when he suddenly passed away in 2004.
“I felt like the show shouldn’t go away,” she muses. So she volunteered to create the Poudre Valley Barn Dance. Her first show went off smoothly, except for one small glitch: “I didn’t bring enough music to fill the time. So I had to start over again from the beginning!”
The Poudre Valley Barn Dance has been a fixture on KRFC ever since, with Liza selecting from her “bottomless pit” of records, perhaps 5,000 albums, “give or take a thousand.” The shelves of albums are so heavy that she recently had an engineer check the beams underneath “to make sure the records wouldn’t crash through the floor.” (All solid, was the verdict.)
Listening to the Poudre Valley Barn Dance is a step back into the golden age of hillbilly and honkytonk music in the ’40s and ’50s, and Liza looks like she belongs in that era, too.
She puts her aesthetician degree to work by styling her hair and makeup—and that of occasional clients—to look pinup-girl perfect. Swingy, flirty dresses, retro pumps and just the right bag complete the look. “I must have 100 purses,” she admits, with tooled leather her latest favorite.
To create the rippling waves in her own hair, “I sleep on pincurls,” Liza sighs. But her wavy, raven-black hair is highlighted with a thoroughly modern cobalt-blue tint.
She loves transforming clients into glamour girls for a special night out. “You made me look like a movie star!” is a typical reaction—and they’re thinking Lana Turner, not Jennifer Lawrence.
When does Liza wear sweats? Never. “This isn’t a costume to me. This is how I dress every day, even to go the grocery store.”
“I’m always ready to meet Dwight Yoakam,” she adds slyly.
But Dwight Yoakam didn’t seem to be knocking on her door, and “I had just decided I was going to be a happy single woman the rest of my life,” when a listener of the Poudre Valley Barn Dance livestream sent her a CD. It was of the band he was playing in at the time—in the Netherlands, where he lived.
“The CD was good. Really good. So I emailed him back.” Once she and Mark Verschoor started talking, “We became insta-friends.”
Several months later, he came to visit. Then he went home to the Netherlands, bought another airplane ticket, and came back to ask her to marry him.
“I like to say ‘the radio station got me a husband.’ ”
Visa complications delayed the wedding, but in 2010, they finally joined their lives.
Mark settled into their north Fort Collins home without missing a beat. A musician as well as a music-lover, he plays upright bass with Coop & the Chicken Pluckers and with the Adam Lopez band, with whom he is in Nashville at the time of this writing, recording an EP—on vinyl, natch.
When Liza and Mark aren’t wrapped up in music, they scout auctions and thrift shops for “Western kitsch,” mid-century furniture, men’s vintage Western clothes (Mark’s specialty) and other treasures for their home and for their booth at the Foothills Flea Market, 6300 South College Avenue, Fort Collins. “It’s something we love to do together. We buy what we like,” says Liza. “Then we can move something out and move in something new!”
Listen to the Poudre Valley Barn Dance on KRFC FM 88.9 on Saturdays, 12 noon-2 p.m., or livestream it at http://www.krfcfm.org/ If you’re intrigued by the thought of being transformed into a retro glamour girl, contact Liza Verschoor by sending her a message via Facebook at http:www.facebook.com/poudrevalleybarndance/