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MP3 Nicole Campbell - Songs From the Red Room

Textured, beautiful, and sexy vocals backed by a lush band give this emotionally charged rock album a definite groove.

9 MP3 Songs
POP: Folky Pop, ROCK: Americana

Sexy, yet accessible. That speaks volumes of the singular voice of Nicole Campbell. Seductive as it slides through the scales, and approachable, as it comes from the meeting place between her heart and soul.

Nicole Campbell was born to sing. "For me, music was not a choice, but rather a calling," she says with conviction and her casual charm. "At age three, my grandfather taped me singing a skewed version of a Christmas carol my father had taught me, in tune with most, if not all, of the words intact," and she''s never looked back.

Campbell began studying piano at age seven only to be drawn to playing by ear. Later she focused on honing and training her developing voice as a teen "because I knew I wanted to be one of those people you heard when you turned on the radio." Accolades and awards rolled in, allowing Campbell to earn a music degree in vocal performance from Willamette University - but all the while she knew she was preparing for a life in popular music.

Turning from the rigidity of opera and classical voice toward the freedom of rock-n-roll, Campbell formed her first official band in Portland a decade ago. Though she released a single on Puddlestomp in ''92, the real turn came when Ivan''s Wish was formed two years later. The power-quartet made a swift side entrance into the Portland scene by releasing a fierce, but friendly, beautiful monster of a debut, fiR, before ever playing out live. Then they backed up their promise with Campbell melting mics throughout the Northwest. Ivan''s Wish burned bright and fast; eight months later, at the top of their game, Campbell watched the band dissolve before her eyes.

Her reaction? Campbell returned to mining alone for her music. Waves of relentless guitars and pounding rhythms have been replaced by her acoustic 6-string and various eclectic accompaniments. The tack is more subtle, sensitive and certainly less severe. Personal. Approachable. And there''s that voice. The voice Spin described as "sweet sounding, folky niceness that''s about as far away from grunge as Portland is from China." Campbell''s delivery, rich with character and confidence, enhances her spot-on narratives which entice the listener to come closer and closer.

The warmth, honesty and passion assure you''ll be well tendered.

Of her first release, Little Voice, we say this:

Nicole''s first full-length, solo CD "Little Voice" is a debut solo album that offers 11 of her well crafted, evocative songs and is more than just "girl with guitar." Campbell''s sculpted sound includes electric and acoustic guitars, mandolin, violin, cello, upright and fretless bass; everything from sultry serenades to full blown rock. This lush collection of textures and feelings will reach inside and leave the listener deeply touched.

Of her newest release, Songs from the Red Room, we have these thoughts to offer:

Did you ever stop to wonder about the in-between moments? The moments that disappear so quickly after they have occurred that their memories are left strained and shadowy. Like the instant just before you first kiss the lips of someone you''ve had your eye on for some time. The gleam in their eye, the tilt of their head, the simple chemistry brewing in a way that makes you hope they kiss as good as they look. That''s when you should take a long deep breath and calculate the history as it''s about to shift. Nicole Campbell knows this moment. It''s one of the shards of time she has dialed down to being key to the memories she recalls on Songs From The Red Room with the prescient tune "Breathe."

Campbell gives voice to the sentient cornerstones of life most of us leave taciturn. Songs of gut twisting long distance love, the body victorious over the mind, romantic indecision and the lascivious nature of desire. An incisive snapshot into the romantic and intellectual trials of a woman who wears the heart as a badge of vivacious mortality, Songs From The Red Room takes a tour through Campbell''s uncanny arsenal of emotive tales.

Lulling and lush, her vocals are the vital element in the sonic tableaus that producer Tony Lash has helped her to create. Departing from her down-home singer/songwriter roots and classical vocal leanings, this CD finds Campbell''s songs at their most mercurial. Layered acoustic and electric guitar, organ and Wurlitzer, thick cello, revolving drum loops, undulating bass and a voice that can''t help but tell you the truth that you were too distracted to notice.

Recorded over the course of 4 months with producer/musician Tony Lash (Heatmiser, Dandy Warhols, Eric Matthews) and engineer Jeff Saltzman (Sunset Valley, King Black Acid), Campbell channeled her influences wisely to create a dulcet blend of emotionally unsparing rock and introspective musical explorations. Spending the better part of 2000 holed up in her bedroom (the actual Red Room) she crafted over 20 songs, the finest of which evolved into Songs From The Red Room.

Campbell enlisted a diverse array of Portland luminaries to lend their musical talents to this effort. The opening track "Road To You" features the guitar, bass and Wurlitzer expertise of Luther Russell. Additional bass guitar brilliance was lent by Eric Furlong (Sunset Valley), Brian Cutler, and Phil Baker (Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye, Linda Ronstadt), additional drum talents offered by Ned Failing (The Strangers, On a Llama), and cello magic by Lori Presthus. The deepest pool of commissioned genius on Songs From The Red Room, however, belongs to producer/multi-instrumentalist Tony Lash. Besides offering his patented brand of rich sonic visioning, Lash also contributed resonant layers of drums, off-center guitar, mysterious noises and a bevy of vintage keyboards to the mix.

In support of Songs From The Red Room, Nicole Campbell will be touring the nation''s scum ridden rock clubs giving the usual cynics far more than they deserve. Her disturbingly charming stage presence has caused her to become well known in certain circles for tempering her glowing rock with raucous wit and superb musicianship. She is a bona fie entertainer, and 4 out of 5 audience members agree that they have left Campbell''s live performances feeling considerably better than when they arrived.

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