Karen Salmon, married and the mother of four, has been called “desperate” and “distracted” in her exploration of what it means to take up songwriting in her 40s. Since she first picked up a guitar eight years ago, she finds herself writing in the bathroom or her minivan in order to have any hope of completing a song. (Like her more gifted and prolific songwriting friends, she wishes she could write in her sleep!) Karen performs regularly as a solo artist and with the band Things That Fly (@Things That Fly Chicago with @Heidi Serwer and @Joe Goodkin). Her debut solo album, due out this spring, is titled Blue Sky Up Ahead and sits in a cozy intersection of rock, folk and country. Her music is alternatively playful and stark—and has clear undertones of overcooked meat and unfolded laundry. Karen wakes up to Led Zeppelin, goes to sleep to Ella Fitzgerald and dreams about Loretta Lynn.