The Blue Umbrellas aren't going to deny there's something remarkably riveting about four foxy females dominating their instruments. You can even nudge them into admitting there's a bit of novelty in an all-girl band, and they're not ashamed to flash their feminine lure if it means you'll give them a listen. "Female bands fade out ... but we've established our roots and we're just working on the rest of the tree," bassist Stephanie. "We're not going anywhere but up." By up, they mean spreading their music to the rest of the world. Touring regionally and up to the northeast, The Blue Umbrellas have made their mark playing along side the likes of Antigone Rising (Lava Records), Girlyman (Daemon Records), Bitch and Animal (Righteous Babe Records), Jen Foster (Echomusic), just to name a few. They are no stranger to television or the radio, and make it a point to give back to the community that gives to them. Currently, The Blue Umbrellas are preparing to record their first live CD for release in May. In the mean time they are writing music for two films and working on score for a horror film in Louisville, KY.
Where do they get their distinct sound? Some say if you pour into a blender a little Ani Difranco, Melissa Ethridge, Heart, Coldplay, Indigo Girls, add some sweet and sour mix, you get The Blue Umbrellas. Their backgrounds include country, classical, folk, and eighties rock. Kelly grew up on a Western KY farm where all they had was country. As Gloria's parents were both professional musicians, she was influenced by classical music and the music of her nine brothers and sisters. Stephanie is the youngest of two brothers and a sister, so she got the hand-me-downs of folk and eighties rock. Rhonda, who still to this day has not left the eighties, ties most of her influences to the early stages of MTV and Duran Duran. The culmination of The Blue Umbrellas' histories create emotionally charged musical structure and lyrics complimented by catchy, charging guitar leads supported by a thick and driving rhythm section.
January of 2003 was the mark of their first 4-song EP CD self-titled "The Blue Umbrellas". It captures rock with an ambience soul backed by driving riffs. The definitive CD is a compilation of four songs purposefully put together to show the diversity of their music.
March 2004 brought the first full-length CD release titled "Metamorphose". It is a product of growth for The Blue Umbrellas produced by Peter Rhee. On this versatile collection, you will find the rockin' energy of the 'brellas along with some chest ripping ballads.
April 2006- Marks the release of their second full length album, "With Release". This album has an acoustic groove that blazes and soothes. The songs take the listener through a range of emotion: death, love, heartbreak and back again. Produced by The Blue Umbrellas and Pfilil Stirgwolt of TNT Productions, this CD will take you on an emotional roller coaster.
You can find The Blue Umbrellas at www.theblueumbrellas.com, www.myspace.com/theblueumbrellas, and www.cdbaby.com.
Kelly Shouse - lead vocals and rhythm guitar
Gloria Marshall - lead guitar and vocals
Stephanie Wolz - bass guitar and vocals
Rhonda Baker - drums
With Release (Gyrl Jam) -2006
Metamorphose (Gyrl Jam) - 2004
The Blue Umbrellas EP (The Blue Umbrellas) - 2003
The Blue Umbrellas are not your usual grrrly show
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The Blue Umbrellas aren't going to deny there's something fabulously phallic about four foxy females...The Blue Umbrellas aren't going to deny there's something fabulously phallic about four foxy females dominating their instruments with nary a damsel in distress.
But the gig is up when you nudge them into admitting there's a bit of novelty in an all-girl band, and they're not ashamed to flash their feminine wile if it means you'll give them a listen.
"The energy we create? It's not a big, nasty PT's kind of thing," lead guitarist/vocalist Gloria Marshall, 29, explained.
"We're here to make a vocal contribution to the artistic side," lead singer/rhythm guitarist Kelly Shouse, 29, said. "We want to be known as artists."
"Female bands fade out ... but we've established our roots and we're just working on the rest of the tree," bassist Stephanie Wolz, 26, said. "We're not going anywhere but up."
The quartet — including the usually verbally silent but musically powerful drummer Rhonda Baker, 29 — knew they were emitting arresting tunes when neighbors called the police in the midst of their practices at two different locations.
"The police reported that the neighbors thought something — or someone — was in distress," Shouse recalled.
"You take something you love and ... give it to someone else — that's what we're here for," Marshall said, and that's what the Blue Umbrellas do.
Whether harmonizing on their original songs or covering Jet, Melissa Etheridge, Puddle of Mudd or Prince, the versatile musicians combine to create an eclectic blend of good ol' pop rock enmeshed with funky folk and echoes of country.
The 'Brellas buck the trend of angry grrrl power tunes for a brighter, better repertoire that is cheeky and bold, smooth and surreal, silly and sultry. Often compared to Etheridge, Ani DiFranco, the Indigo Girls and Natalie Merchant, the quartet embodies all of those styles on the full-length release "Metamorphose."
But just when you think you've got the Blue Umbrellas pegged, they're gonna tap it to you all over again just the way you thought they wouldn't.
"We do some rapping in our shows," Marshall said, referring to "Rap Medley," which brings fans to their feet every time. "The things that come out on stage, that's just us."
Part of the Blue Umbrellas' charm is "you want to come out and have fun with us," Marshall said. "We encourage the rowdy crowd."
The Blue Umbrellas will play at 10 p.m. Saturday at Big Dave's Outpost, 1801 Bardstown Road. If you come, dress for the Pajama Jam-themed evening. Prizes will be awarded for the sexiest or homeliest PJs.
The band will tour the East Coast over Memorial Day weekend. Check out the Blue Umbrellas' website at www.theblueumbrellas.com.
They are also busy working on the soundtrack for the play "Good Fences," by Louisvillian Todd Fluhr, which is being adapted into a film titled "Mercy."
"We're so excited about this project," Kelly said. "We get to take an artistic side to (our music). We're here to make a real contribution."
-by Angie Fenton
Louisville Rock Lowdown, The Blue Umbrellas
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I have a soft spot for girl bands, especially when they are really, really good. The Blue Umbrel...I have a soft spot for girl bands, especially when they are really, really good.
The Blue Umbrellas hosted their CD Release party at Uncle Pleasant’s on March 13 and it was a monumental success. The place was packed full with their loyal fan base, a.k.a. the Blue HQ. The band also captured the affection of the rookies immediately. The event featured a pre-party hosted by Tony Boombozz Pizzeria. The food was delicious, the room was adorned with little blue umbrellas on the tables and the alcohol flowed freely (not “free”) from the tap…. The Blue Girls know how to make friends and throw a party and they also know how to play and sing.
The show was in honor of their new full-length release, Metamorphose, which has been a major source of excitement for the band lately. The disc is a follow-up to the groups’ first recording, a 4-song self-titled EP. That one is sold out, but you can pick up a copy of the new 12-song album in local stores now, or better yet, get one at a show. It is a great listen.
The band performed the songs from the new CD in order at Uncle P’s and proved they can duplicate the sound of it live. The girls are talented and energetic and maintain a great connection with the crowd throughout the entire show.
Let’s meet the band: On lead vocals and rhythm guitar is Kelly Shouse. Gloria Marshall carries the duties of lead guitar and backing vocals. Stephanie Wolz plays bass and sings as well. On drums is Rhonda Baker. The songwriting seems to be done predominately by Shouse, but the title track of the CD was written and sung by Marshall. The girls have great harmony in many of their songs and share the parts of performing quite well.
The group has gigs under their belt all over town, including Air Devil’s Inn, Blue Martini, Gerstle’s Place, Granville Inn, Longshot Tavern, Phoenix Hill, Rudyard Kipling, Tailgater’s Bar, Tink’s Pub, Uncle Pleasant’s and more. They also have credit for some out-of-town shows and festivals and are looking to tour more in the upcoming year.
The Blue Umbrellas combine an array of originals with some sweet cover songs when they perform live. Their list of covers is quite diverse ranging from Prine to Guns’ n Roses to Britney Spears and of course, Lynyrd Skynyrd-NASCAR, Sum’bich!
Musically, the band is diverse in their influences, yet cohesive in their own style. A mix of country and bluegrass twang meets folk and rock and roll, added to an upbeat groove and a little humor in the lyrics and you have the Blue Umbrellas. This is a band that can successfully pull off an added violin part without distraction or overbearing of the tune. It is a band that can actually sing in key together. It is a group that seems like they are having a blast playing music. It is addictive, effortless and fun.
The group will be performing a lot this month, so go check them out. If you are interested in booking The Blue Umbrellas, contact Kelly Shouse at email@example.com.
Pick up the new CD, Metamorphose and check out The Blue Umbrellas live as soon as possible, you won’t regret it.
Music scene opens up for Blue Umbrellas
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Stephanie Wolz, of the 2nd Day Air Hub, and her band, The Blue Umbrellas, were recently featu... Stephanie Wolz, of the 2nd Day Air Hub, and her band, The Blue Umbrellas, were recently featured on “Louisville Rock Lowdown,” a segment on 105.1 WLRS’s morning show that highlights hot hometown bands.
Music reviewer and columnist Jason Koerner, also a Metro College supervisor, interviewed the band at the station just before they left for Fox television’s studio to appear on the “Kentuckiana Fox in the Morning Show.”
Koerner wanted the interview with the band after he attended their CD release party for “Metamorphose,” which is The Blue Umbrellas’ first full-length album. He gave both the CD and their performance enthusiastic reviews in his column for “Louisville Music News” magazine. The title of his review says it all: “I have a soft spot for girl bands, especially when they are really, really good.”
“There are a lot of talented women playing music,” he said, “but not often enough do you get to see four of them together actively rocking at Louisville nightclubs and packing in crowds.”
Koerner said that their unique brand of pop rock that weaves together elements of country, bluegrass, blues, and folk speaks to their prowess as musicians. He added that the band’s live performance is fun. “They know how to work a crowd,” he said. But Koerner admitted the fact The Blue Umbrellas is an all female group is “extra cool.”
In light of their recent success, Wolz said The Blue Umbrellas have come a long way since the group formed. Guitarist Gloria Marshall, singer/songwriter Kelly Shouse, drummer Rhonda Baker, and Wolz became friends in Lexington’s music scene. At the time they decided to form a band, Wolz played rhythm guitar and was a vocalist, but decided to teach herself the bass. The women practiced in cramped rooms in their homes, or even in Wolz’s attic. “It would get 90 degrees up there,” she complained. They also had to turn the volume down a few times for the neighbors after visits from the police.
Also back then, the group was called “The Gene Snyder Band,” but decided to change it, Wolz said with a grin, thinking the name didn’t represent who they were and the type of music they played. Then one day three years ago the ladies in the band noticed the blue patio umbrella they were lounging under at a Kentucky Derby, and so claimed their name.
The band currently headlines in several nightclubs from Louisville to Cincinnati. The Blue Umbrellas are also planning to create their own recording label, launch a road tour, and make appearances during several upcoming music festivals.
All the women have what could be considered “day jobs,” and hadn’t planned on success as much as having a good time and enjoying their friendships with each other, Wolz said.
But she’s comfortable with the way things are turning out. “I love it,” Wolz concluded. “There’s a lot of satisfaction in watching people have a good time and knowing it’s us that’s entertaining them.”
The Blue Umbrellas will touch you all over
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For a readily calculable number of years now, I have been holding on to my copy of the 30th Annivers...For a readily calculable number of years now, I have been holding on to my copy of the 30th Anniversary Issue of Rolling Stone, dated Nov. 13, 1997, which features the “Women of Rock” as its cover. I have gingerly moved this thing from house to apartment and apartment to house. The postage label is still entirely intact and there is only one small tear on the cover. Granted, being the kind of woman I am, the cover photo bearing Courtney Love’s shoe of choice sent me into a jealous rage. However, I quickly regained focus as I dove in and learned more about this segment of rock ’n’ roll’s history, whose vitality, variance, zest, lure and sheer provocative thrill I find to be the icing on the most delicious cake imaginable. (See, in my world, I think the cake on the back cover of the Stones’ Let It Bleed album surely fell apart, because there weren’t any little plastic women on top … ha!)
As for the Blue Umbrellas, Louisville’s Ladies of Rock, their viewpoint is something along the lines of “damn the gender and just dig the music.” And that’s cool. This group of women describe themselves and their music as “trendy and chic,” and they dare us, the almighty listening audience, to categorize them into a genre. Contest begins now.
The third release from the band, With Release, enters with penetration, finishes long and has distinctive layers through the mid-palate as well. Opener “Hold Me High” lays the groundwork for lead singer and songwriter Kelly Shouse’s theme of the simple joys of finding one’s partner in life. The next few tracks are slightly recurrent verse until “Vibrate” has its turn at the mic. Let’s let the lyrics speak for themselves on this one: With the sensation my body is delivering and I’m trying to remain calm and clear but it is hard to do when you touch me there.
There you have that. Here is where the ride gets a little bumpy and the map suffers from some wear — “Fields of Green” and “Bloody Games” throw an odd gloom to the buzz you scored off of the prior tunes, but “Take It Easy, Take It Hard” gets you right back on track. The unbridled nature of Shouse’s style is intriguing and straight from the heart, or, dare I say, straight from those other warm pulsing areas of the female body.
This group is testimony to the beauty of simplicity. The songs are catchy, the lyrics quick to stick to memory, and the girls themselves are just having a damn good time.
-by Michelle Manker
“With Release” release
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The Blue Umbrellas drop a new record tonight, and they are working it all day long. They are starti...The Blue Umbrellas drop a new record tonight, and they are working it all day long. They are starting at 8 a.m. with a performance on “Fox in the Morning,” followed by strong coffee. Then it’s “Live Lunch” on WFPK (91.9-FM) at noon for an hour long show, followed by more and stronger coffee.
Then it’s on to ear-X-tacy records, 1534 Bardstown Road, for 6 p.m. show and signing session, followed by a straight-up caffeine IV and the main event at Headliners Music Hall, 1386 Lexington Road (9:30 p.m., $10; ages 18 and over)
Mike Shouse and Troubadours of Divine Bliss will open.
-by Jeffrey Lee Puckett
WFPK Live Lunch (91.9FM)
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The Blue Umbrellas performed a live on-air show on April 7th, 2006 at the WFPK (91.9FM) studios on t...The Blue Umbrellas performed a live on-air show on April 7th, 2006 at the WFPK (91.9FM) studios on their program called "Live Lunch". You can find this performance on WFPK's website, www.wfpk.org in their archives.
WFPK Radio Play
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The Blue Umbrellas were invited to perform live on WFPK’s Women Waves show hosted by Laura Shine on ...The Blue Umbrellas were invited to perform live on WFPK’s Women Waves show hosted by Laura Shine on March 15, 2003. They performed Irrigation and Don’t Rain on My Parade along with an interview about the band. WFPK is part of Louisville’s Public Radio Partnership.
84 WHAS Radio Play
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Fantastic musicians and singers and they deserve to be heard. Mell had the opportunity of working w...Fantastic musicians and singers and they deserve to be heard. Mell had the opportunity of working with a group called The Blue Umbrellas recently during the program she hosts on KET called Mixed Media. We wanted to feature these folks as well because there's some fantastic musicians heard here. (Song Metamorphse played.) That's a really great song. That's the title track, actually, from their new CD "Metamorphose". And, again, I just like the fact that it's a band of all women. I love that. There's not enough of you around. It's Kelly Shouse, Gloria Marshall, Stephanie Wolz, and Rhonda Baker. There's a little bit of everything. That one's a little bit rockier. Some cuts on there are a little more country in nature. I was listening to it and it's a really great CD! It really is, its got a little bit of everything on there. (Daddy's Song played.) Another song on there is called Daddy's Song. . . a very nice little song. . . very catchy.
WMFO Radio Play
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Portions of The Blue Umbrellas’ self-titled EP were played WMFO 91.5. WMFO broadcasts from the camp...Portions of The Blue Umbrellas’ self-titled EP were played WMFO 91.5. WMFO broadcasts from the campus of Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts.
Need to chill? Then you need 'The Blue Umbrellas.'
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This is a band with great style and creativity. With meaningful lyrics, instead of useless fill, The...This is a band with great style and creativity. With meaningful lyrics, instead of useless fill, The Blue Umbrellas create an environment with their music that draws you in and makes you want to be a part of it. With three girls from Kentucky one might expect this to be a bluegrass family band, but veer away from that thought, these women are putting together a sound and a look that has potential to go places. With a true sound, The Blue Umbrellas bring true meaning to ‘easy listening’ not because it is slow and boring, but because it is literally easy to listen to. No harsh sounds coming from you stereo, just true talent.
To gain the best understanding of The Blue Umbrellas you must visit www.theblueumbrellas.com and meet the band of Stephanie Wolz, Gloria Marshall, Kelly Shouse and Rhonda Baker.
To get the true relaxed feel of The Blue Umbrellas, one must listen to Irrigation, track two, on their CD. It shows everything The Blue Umbrellas have to offer from vocal talent to a style of guitar playing that isn’t heard everyday to the simplicity of the classic drum beat. The Blue Umbrellas have a chemistry or vibe that isn’t heard everyday and because of that they can make a name for themselves without fighting other bands trying to be what they are.
The brellas are very versatile. They can do an opener spot of an hour with all originals, or two hour set with all origins or a three hour set with a mixture of originals and covers. Here is a list of originals and covers:
Beat the Game
Don't Rain on My Parade
In My Car
Meant to Be
Talk to Me
To Be Loved
Waiting for Me
We Women Can Drink
Hold Me High
Call My Name
Sign of Change
Fields of Green
Take It Easy, Take It Hard
Drive Me Crazy
Addict (K's Choice)
Hit Me Baby One More Time (B. Spears)
Blister in the sun (Violent Femmes)
Bring Me Some Water (M. Ethridge)
Creep (Radio Head)
In the Pines (Lead Belly)
La Bamba (Traditional)
One Way or Another (Blondie)
Proud Mary (Tina Turner)
Righteously (Lucinda Williams)
Seether (Veruca Salt)
Seven Nation Army (White Stripes)
Sweet Home Alabama (L. Skynard)
When Doves Cry (Prince)
What's up? (4 Non Blondes)
There are no upcoming dates at this time.