To be completely honest, you can’t swing a dead cat without hearing about some new Americana Artist or group these days. Nobody knows what Americana means most times. Is it country or folk or roots? What are the rules anyway? Can Americana rock or swing? I figure it’s kind of like obscenity. You know it when you hear it. What do you call song writing when it does not waste any time with poetic license? Tells a story clear and plain, about real experiences, places and people that exist in…well…America.
Nelle Porter-Jones writes clear and plain. She tells a story. There are no “hearts like wheels” or “Horses with no names”.
When she sings about carnival boys you can feel the summer night air and smell the popcorn. Dogs run over the hill ahead of its master to a waiting lover, a union soldier’s wife trades pride for resentment and in some motel room in the heartland someone is planning a final exit.
All these tales and more are delivered with a strong woman’s voice. The lyrics are evocative and so is the emotion. There is no question as to what the songs are about. They speak directly to the listener.
Nelle Porter-Jones has assembled a solid band to back her up. Mining modern American musical styles. Country, folk and roots for sure. They also indulge in early Jazz, blue grass and swing (and maybe some rock). It’s not like the Americana Police are going to issue a summons for stylistic abuse.
Nelle and her bandmates connect, they are easy and fun. Setting each song up with personal asides and inside jokes that everyone in the room is in on. They also dig deep into the current and past Americana and Country Song Book, Covers of Cash, Patsy, Emmy Lou Gram as well as well-loved traditional pieces in their unique style.
Ellen Friedler: Member of the Ken Hardly Playboys and DANG! She has come a long way from the Church choir.
Jeff Gilhart: perhaps best known from his days in Back Seat Sally. He has been engineering and performing in multiple noteworthy musical and Film projects
Jim Connor: In the 80s he was keeping the beat for Miche and the Anglos, more recently he has been with Meg Gehman and This Other Life.
Tim Clark: Started Big Drum, the first Song Writer Round Robin in town. He went on to tour nationally with family entertainers, The Dinner Dogs. He formed DANG! in 2003 which slowly morphed into Stay the Plow
Don T******a: Knows Jim Conner and is a member of the Federal Witness Protection Program so that his boss does not find out he is a killer bass player.