Andrea Nardello celebrates the release of her new EP, Echo, with special guests John & Brittany and Will McCranie!
Acclaimed singer-songwriter Andrea Nardello was sidelined by writer’s block for two years before a simple love song she wrote for her girlfriend heralded a new era of emboldened self-identity and reinvigorated creativity. This surge of positivity and assuredness is reflected in the songs on her stately seven-song EP Echo. “There is so much change captured in this EP,” the Philly-based singer-songwriter says with palpable excitement. “I’ve found my true voice as a singer-songwriter - there is an old school soulfulness there - and there is just more honesty all around. I’m embracing everything about myself, from my personal life to my creative drives.”
Andrea has garnered favorable comparisons to Melissa Etheridge and Shawn Colvin for her gift for melding pop songwriting smarts with a confessional and literate songwriting style which often explores relationships, romance, and family life. Her refined accessibility draws from folk, rock, soul, and even the swagger of hip-hop. She’s built a respectable indie artist profile through DIY ethics and tireless touring.
The Echo epoch started from writing the breathtaking song “Home To Me.” It was a pure and amorous gesture, unburdened by any career or creative motive. Andrea later played the song to her girlfriend over headphones during the romantic dinner in which Andrea proposed marriage. “That phrase ‘Home To Me’ is one of those things she always says, wherever we are traveling, if I’m with her, she says it feels like home. I had that line in my head for a while but I had to hold onto the song until I found a ring,” Andrea recalls, laughing.
The track marked a profound change in her life. Around this time, Andrea joined a writer’s group and fell into an orbit of inspiring creative people like singer-songwriter Matt Duke, artist/songwriter/music biz entrepreneur Jason Spiewak, and producer Matt Chiaravalle (Warren Zevon, Brendan James). “I was in a good place emotionally, but I just didn’t know how to overcome that sense of self loathing artists get where they hate everything they write so they never finish anything,” she explains.
Andrea wrote a song a week for a year, demoed 20 songs, and picked the strongest seven for Echo. The EP glows with her dreamy folk sensibility accented by tasteful musical flourishes like organ and rootsy electric guitar filigree. Her vocal phrasing has a weary confidence that’s both comforting and inspiring, especially when she takes a stand on self-esteem on “Beautiful Girls.” “That song is about feeling beautiful and learning how to be comfortable in your own skin,” Andrea says thoughtfully. “I remember growing up, I knew I was attracted to girls at an early age, but I didn't know how to how to express myself. I needed to understand my beauty and worth to find happiness within. That's why in the song I talk about getting one chance to live life because we can't worry about what other people will think.”
The sweetly sorrowful “One Good Reason Why” is the harrowing story of the couple everyone thought would last forever breaking up. The song depicts a painfully complex dissolution where one person is trying to fight for the relationship and the other is trying to explain why they want out. In the chorus Andrea sings: "You owe me one good reason why, we shouldn't try.” Ultimately, the protagonist realizes they are worthy of love, and, in the end, the chorus includes the powerfully redemptive line "I am the one good reason why you should have tried.”
The stunning “I Am The Water” uses multiple metaphors of a musician’s career path to illustrate the power of staying true to your inner directive amidst confusing and, often dispiriting, criticism. “The third verse is for the fans,” Andrea confesses. “It’s those people you see in the audience loving every minute of your show. They are the water, they are what keeps me going.”
Andrea was interested in working with producer Chiaravalle after marveling over the crisp warmth of his work on Brendan James’ recent album. Echo was tracked at the legendary Maid’s Room studios in the Lower East Side of NYC and it feature’s Tony Lucca’s ace rhythm section Stephen Bentz and Mic Capdevielle better known as “The Rollaways.”
“Music has gotten me through so many things. It’s an outlet, and the concept of ‘echo’ on this EP is so meaningful with all the changes I’ve been going through,” she says. “This EP is my echo. These songs are personal, but I want these songs and lyrics to echo for my fans and come back to me through their different interpretations and reflections because it’s only real when there is that meaningful connection.”
In the less than three years since dropping their debut EP in the summer of 2011, John & Brittany (John Faye and Brittany Rotondo), Philadelphia's most unique songwriting duo, have risen from the city's thriving open mic circuit to become a serious rock act to contend with, already having shared stages with the likes of The Smithereens, Everclear, Gin Blossoms, and Matthew Sweet, in addition to headlining their own shows at hometown venues like World Cafe Live and TLA. Inspired by their mutual love of punk and new wave, as well as songsmiths like Alejandro Escovedo, Ida Maria, and Jack White, John & Brittany create music with a chemistry that is unforced and undeniable.
J&B's 2013 full-length album Start Sinning, is a 32-minute musical blitzkrieg that, at its core, is about the discovery, or perhaps re-discovery, of the power of rock n roll. The title track impressed Little Steven Van Zandt enough for him to select it as a "Coolest Song In The World" on his Sirius/XM channel Little Steven's Underground Garage. The song placed at #3 in LSUG's year-end listeners poll (behind only Joan Jett and Deadbeat Poets), and #12 on Little Steven's personal year-end top 20.
2013 also saw J&B's music video for the single "Paper Planes" air on over 100 video outlets in the US and Canada, and ultimately airing on MTV-U's The Freshmen and on MTV.com. Unsatisfied with having only one record out in 2013, the band also released their first live acoustic offering in November. "Crookedletta, Crookedletta," was tracked before a live in-studio audience at Springhouse Sound in King of Prussia, PA, with bassist Michael O'Brien and drummer / studio owner Carl Bahner. In December, the band was named Musical Artist of the Year by the Philadelphia chapter of RAW Natural Born Artists. J&B capped off the year with a headline set at the annual WMMR Mistletoe Jam in front of over 500 rock n roll fans.
Along with the inevitable shows in larger venues, 2014 will see John & Brittany focussing on brand new music, continuing to take it directly to the people. Still performing on a regular basis as a duo, J&B have recently begun volunteering for the non-profit Musicians On Call, playing for patients in local hospitals. They also continue to host the weekly Wednesday night open mic at Legendary Dobbs (the storied 200 capacity club that introduced Philly to Nirvana, Tool, Oasis, and Green Day on their first tours). Wherever J&B go, IT'S HAPPENIN', BABY!
After years performing with other bands and artists, Will McCranie is back to how it all started — just him and his guitar. He released his latest single “Ain’t That Strange?” on February 19, 2013. The track was originally written by McCranie a few years ago, but with the help of producer / musician Matty Amendola they created a song that is a true reflection about the possibility and timing of falling in love. The single’s raw vocals laid evenly on an upbeat, toe-tapping track has remnants of some of the great singer / songwriters like Edwin McCain and Duncan Sheik.
If that wasn’t enough, he is also in the studio recording his upcoming album, I Know I Didn't Know Anything with Amendola. "I Know I Didn't Know Anything is definitely going to surprise people", says Amendola. "It is a true testament of how McCranie has grown as a person, as musician and most importantly as a songwriter. He really commits to each track and puts his own twist on it. You feel like after listening to the tracks that you have opened a beautiful music box filled with love, life, happiness, sadness, honesty and truth." It’s a mix of all these feelings and experiences that really make McCranie a songwriter you can connect with and who is only going to bring you alongside him on this musical journey.
Roll the windows down. Buckle up. And here we go...