Helena Nash has emerged as one of the finest harmony singers on the acoustic folk stage today. Her evocative voice and shimmering harmonies create a soulful, modern sound with an ancient backbone. "Nash’s voice is so soulful it magically transforms whatever she sings," says Len Righi, of The Morning Call in Allentown, PA.
Helena’s rolling home during three of the past five touring years with folk & soul duo BUTTERFLY SKY was a shiny silver tour bus from Texas. Though no longer touring as a band, former duo members Helena Nash & Greg Greer released a long-anticipated new album in February 2008, "Painting A Moving Train," recorded at Leopard Frog Studio in Kingston, ON, Canada.
The themes Helena touches on in her music mirror her modern yet timeless sensibility, telling stories that might have resonated in a human heart at any period of history. The eclectic sound created by Helena’s current touring ensemble, Joe Jencks & Helena Nash, invites inventive and powerful expression of Helena’s harmonies, as well as showcasing her soulful lead singing. Her luminous spirit and joy of singing shine brightly through the music. In the words of fan Jer Lesman, “I’ve never seen anyone glow the way Helena does when she sings.” Helena is also invited in for recording projects from LA to Philly, adding her voice and harmonies to other artists’ albums and recording projects.
THE BACK STORY:
Steeped in the roots and folk traditions of Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago, Helena also holds a music degree from Monmouth College in Illinois. A trumpet player for many years in school, she has a dedicated and diverse history as a vocalist. Helena’s ensemble experience ranges from a funk-rock band to classical choirs to all sorts of jazz ensembles, Dixieland, pop, madrigals, show choirs, theatrical productions, percussive improv, doo-wop, folk, soul bands and you name it.
Since about the time she began to talk, Helena has harbored a love for joining her voice with others and for a making beautiful noise. In fact, there’s a crawling picture of Helena from that era, harmonica clamped in smiling mouth, blowing teeth marks right into the instrument. Harmony singing with Dad and his guitar began around the age of four, and Helena started performing publicly soon after.
Jump past hundreds of ensembles and performing experiences in various educational settings over the next 20 years, and you find Helena in Chicago in the 1990’s involved in music production at several recording facilities, as well as her mastering facility, Colossal Mastering. During this time she served for two years on the Board of Governors for the Chicago Chapter of the Recording Academy (“The Grammy People”).
After a 10-year stint in Chicago, in 2003 Helena hit the road, touring full-time with singer-songwriter Greg Greer. They converted a shiny silver Kerrville Lines coach bus and called it home for a chunk of the following four years. Billed as BUTTERFLY SKY, the duo lived and played music all over Texas, the Northeast and the Midwest, bringing their signature harmonies to such venues as Steel City Coffee House near Philly, Jefferson Freedom Café in Fort Worth, Texas, and Anderson Fair in Houston. The album “TURN” was released during this time.
PAINTING A MOVING TRAIN - ALBUM RELEASED FEBRUARY 2008:
In 2008 Helena Nash & Greg Greer released “Painting A Moving Train,” a 13-song album recorded in Canada at Leopard Frog Studio with producer/engineer Chris Coleman. The textured album is a rich weaving of flavors ranging from the tight two-part harmony of “Dance Around The Fountain” and vibrant, layered vocals of “To Believe,” to the country-flavored fiddle of "Mr. Lock Man (Mend My Love)" and the bohemian voice- and clarinet-driven “Abby.” The album’s harmonies and instrument choices offer unexpected aural delights around many corners.
A hallmark of Helena’s song choices and writing is a universal embracing of traditions and a celebration of human spirit. “Grace of God,” track five on the album, is written in English, Arabic, Sanskrit, Italian and Cherokee, and speaks of “a spirit living through us all/that doesn’t want a name.” Also penned by Helena, “Wandering Seed (Where Is My Home)” is a gospel-infused soul piece about the search for home and nourishment: “Where is my home/Where do I belong/Where am I going/How can I stay strong/Where is my home/Where can I breathe/Bless me with water/Plant this wandering seed.”
“Painting A Moving Train” is available online at the www.helenanash.com store or at shows across North America and Canada.
Helena Nash is a member of the American Federation of Musicians Local 1000 and The Folk Alliance.
Helena tours most of the time with Joe Jencks (www.joejencks.com).
Two voices, two guitars, sometimes a cello.
BUTTERFLY SKY "TURN" 2004 Shadowbox Records (duo album with Greg Greer)
HELENA NASH & GREG GREER "Painting A Moving Train" 2008 Shadowbox Records
Nash's Soulful Voice
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"Nash's voice is so soulful it magically transforms whatever she sings." -- Len Righi, The Morning..."Nash's voice is so soulful it magically transforms whatever she sings."
-- Len Righi, The Morning Call, Allentown, PA
BUTTERFLY SKY - Every Song
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"BUTTERFLY SKY makes me feel good! Every song of theirs seems to have a special turn of phrase, one..."BUTTERFLY SKY makes me feel good! Every song of theirs seems to have a special turn of phrase, one that opens a little window of possibility and illuminates another corner of the heart. They are wonderful performers, generous and warm, on and off the stage."
-- Pat Wictor, Performing Artist, New York, NY (www.patwictor.com)
BUTTERFLY SKY - Spans Time/Geography
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“The original music of BUTTERFLY SKY spans time, genres and geography in a way I have never heard be...“The original music of BUTTERFLY SKY spans time, genres and geography in a way I have never heard before. I simply cannot get enough.”
-- Barbara Connolly, Event Planner, Nashua, New Hampshire
BUTTERFLY SKY - Harmonies
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“Helena’s crystal clear, well-crafted harmonies weave themselves around Greg’s smoky-voiced, enigmat...“Helena’s crystal clear, well-crafted harmonies weave themselves around Greg’s smoky-voiced, enigmatic lyrics. They create a sound that you need, and want, to listen to again and again. BUTTERFLY SKY provides a wonderful evening of listening.”
-- Walter Lee, Coahoma Community Concert Series, Coahoma, TX
My Texas Music Review
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Greg Greer and Helena Nash are Butterfly Sky. Both possess the talent for a fabulous solo career, bu...Greg Greer and Helena Nash are Butterfly Sky. Both possess the talent for a fabulous solo career, but together they create a synergistic environment that continues to churn out great tunes and dazzle audiences border to border. Greer’s voice is warm and inviting as he ambles flawlessly through stories of Americana. Nash is excellent as a supporting vocalist to Greer’s crooning, but shines when it’s her turn to take the lead. Greer pens all the cuts except “Freedom Too” which is penned by Nash. If you listen to this song and you are not moved, sit down for an hour with Helena and let her explain it to you. You might well be enlightened. Her a cappella delivery of this near-Bengali styled composition is a highlight of the album and a showcase of her powerful voice. The debut disc is “TURN” (Shadowbox) and it’s a treasure of influences from jazz to folk, from blues to world beat. Butterfly Sky takes to the air and soars with a comfortable subtlety that takes them to new heights. A harmonic gem with flawless phrasing, this disc is a must-buy for lovers of good folk music.
Set varies depending on the needs of the individual presenter. Ranging from all traditional and covers to all original modern roots music.