No one forgets the first time they saw Tami Neilson. She can hush a room with an original song that channels the hurting spirit of Patsy Cline or the sensuality of Peggy Lee, or bring the audience to its feet on a rockabilly raver.
She’s an artist with real range, whose powerful voice can take on big ballads, golden-age country, heartfelt Gospel, soul-infused R&B, Western swing, even old-style rock ‘n’ roll. Tami encompasses them all and is a personality-powered cyclonic force of nature in stylishly retro attire, long lashes and a stacked-high beehive.
The early records saw her in a self-created territory between mainstream country and alternative country, a couple recorded around the kitchen table back home in Canada with brother Jay, who is now an acclaimed producer and songwriter. Then awards started coming in New Zealand for albums that added breadth to her “country singer” label: Best Female Artist, Best Country Album, Best Country Song, an APRA Silver Scroll (songwriting) award and Album of the Year nominations. Her Dynamite! album of 2014 received rave reviews in Britain’s MOJO and the Guardian named it a Top 10 Best Country Music Album. Tami’s songs appeared on the Netflix series Wanted and the terrestrial TV series Nashville.
The road has now led to CHICKABOOM!, which is something different again, and even more personal. “In the past year, I started to notice something,” she says. “The artists I would spend time with backstage at festivals, the ones I gravitated to the most and followed on social media ... artists like the Secret Sisters, Shovels & Rope, Kasey Chambers, Brandi Carlile ... they all have family performing with them. When you tour away from loved ones, it makes a world of difference to have part of your village with you on the road. Not to mention, nothing can come close to that special blend of blood harmonies and silent communication that only comes from being onstage with a person for over 30 years. Family has always been a huge part my music-writing, recording and creating with me, but I wanted family on this project and on the road with me again.” Brother Jay flew to Auckland, New Zealand from Toronto to record a selection of new songs that have unmistakable sibling magic and harmonies. “I don’t think he quite understands what he’s gotten himself into but now the album’s coming out it’s a bit too late. Sucker,” she laughs.
1 Call Your Mama 2:26
2 Hey, Bus Driver! 2:13
3 Ten Tonne Truck 2:22
4 Queenie, Queenie 2:09
5 You Were Mine 3:43
6 16 Miles Of Chain 3:29
7 Tell Me That You Love Me 2:03
8 Any Fool With A Heart 2:43
9 Sister Mavis 2:44
10 Sleep 2:19