Cincinnati loves their female rockstars and the proof is in the pudding. This year's seventh annual Chicks Rockfest, held April 5-8 at the Poison Room, expanded from two nights to four, and from 30 bands to nearly 50 acts. In fact, it's now the second largest indie-band fest for the area, quickly gaining on September's Midpoint Music Festival.
The Chicks Rockfest promotes local and national artists. Cities such as Chicago, Boston, New York and Washington, D.C., were represented with several bands from each. The artist that traveled the furthest distance was Freyja from London.
That's cool and all, but we're kind of partial to the local ladies…
Among the artists from the Greater Cincinnati area were: The Walker Project, The Whitney Barricklow Band, The Jellyhearts, Mercurochrome, Subliminal, Deadly Seven, Pike, Tracy Walker, Star Cherry Seven, Holly Spears, Twisted Wood, The Trojan Rabbit, Backseat Virtue and kelp.
If you missed this year's Chicks Rockfest, several of these women will be featured in the Latitudes Cafe "She Jams" series held at both the Milford and Anderson locations. Check out our article on this series for more details.
We got close and personal with Holly Spears, one of the talented women featured in both the Chicks Rockfest and the She Jams series. We asked her to explain the sounds of the major players on Cincinnati's female artist scene and where we can learn more. Here's what she said:
Kelly Thomas and the Fabulous Pickups
Kelly Thomas is a passionate singer with a Country-meets-Blues feel. Sit back and appreiciate good ol' country singing. She's a beautiful soul with a great back up band.
www.kristenkey.com and www.myspace.com/kristenkey
If you like Avril Lavigne and high-energy pop music, Kristen is your girl. She's pretty much Cincinnati's Pop Princess and always shows the crowd a good time with her rockin' band! Be prepared to jump around and throw your arms up with this girl.
The Walker Project
www.walkerprojectmusic.com and www.myspace.com/thewalkerproject
Carole Walker's powerful voice will blow you away and leave you in awe. Her soulful folk rock is accompanied by her brother's amazing ability to make the bass guitar sing. Chris Walker was just named Cincinnati's Best Bassist by ITAL***City Beat***. He's also Holly Spears' bassist.
www.kim-taylor.net and www.myspace.com/kimtaylor
This alternative, folksy, adult contemporary singer is very clever with her lyrics and is extremely easy on the ears. Kim's soft voice is soothing and comforting to the soul. Wine would go well with a Kim Taylor CD.
The Kelly Evans Trio
Kelly's acoustic/classical guitar, Chris Walker on bass and her drummer are the perfect combination to back up Miss Evans' soulful and jazzy voice. Think jazz club and enjoy the groove.
The Whitney Barricklow Band
www.whitneyb.com and www.myspace.com/whitneyb
If you like Jewel and Lisa Loeb, you'll love the Whitney B Band. Whitney's voice is smooth and pretty, and at times, really big. Her songs are catchy and lyrically lovely. She's got her right hand man (her husband) on guitar, an awesome drummer and of course music man Christopher Walker on the bass. She's fun to chill and listen to, as well as sing along with.
Pale Beneath The Blue
www.palebeaththeblue.com and www.myspace.com/palebeneaththeblue
This poppy, electronica band is led by a singer who some say sounds like Tori Amos and Bjork meets Ben Folds Five for coffee. You may even catch Rhonda on her piano as she sings the lyrics of which she has so artistically placed together in front of her synthesizer and beats.
This folk/rock singer/songwriter/musician could be compared to a mixture of Joni Mitchel and Tracy Chapman. Her adult contemporary music has filled the air of Cincinnati for over a decade. To hear Tracy is to give your ear a treat.
And if that didn't quite fill your belly with enough female rock fodder, here's a few more morsels that might do the trick:
Women Rock Radio. The name says it all. Women Rock Radio is the premier showcase for women who simply rock, and rock hard. From rock to grunge, from metal to punk, from mainstream to indie. Women Rock Radio is out to prove you dont have to be a guy to play hardcore music, and ladylike isnt always what it seems.
Women Rock!: Girls and Guitars
"Women Rock!: Girls and Guitars" is a compilation of songs by the big guns of female rockers. Legendary voices joined together for the 2000 Women Rock concert in an effort to heighten awareness and to help the fight against breast cancer. This CD by Sony Music Special Productions was inspired by the songs these legends performed at this very important event. There are nine tracks (about 38 minutes total time). Included are: Heart ("Barracuda", "Crazy On You"), Sheryl Crow ("If It Makes You Happy"), Wynonna ("Only Love"), Amy Grant ("Takes A Little Time"), Melissa Etheridge ("I'm The Only One"), Cyndi Lauper("Girls Just Want To Have Fun"),and "Destiny's Child (A beautiful rendition of "Amazing Grace"). There is also a touching live track from the concert in which Lauper and Heart, sing Paul Mcartney's, "Maybe I'm Amazed" as a tribute to Linda McCartney.
ROCKRGRL is the only national magazine to exclusively feature, encourage, provide resources for and inspire women. It is a resource for musicians and provides useful information on industry news, starting your own label, juggling music and motherhood, booking your own tour, publicity, getting on the radio, legal issues, gear, studio tips and more.
Women in Music National Network
The Women in Music National Network, accessible online at www.womeninmusic.com, is a non-profit organization that supports the efforts and achievements of women in music through media, education and networking.