Nicole Christian is a little roots, a little country and a whole lot bottle-neck blues. She is a multi-instrumentalist who specializes in lap-style Dobro, slide guitar, flute and bass guitar. Whether solo or with the band, she's sure to get your feet tapping.
Nicole got her start performing and producing music events in Toronto at venues such as Hugh’s Room, The Silver Dollar, The Supermarket, Graffitti's and The Reservoir. Her single “Good Man” has been featured on radio stations across Canada and she performed on an episode of “Toronto’s Talent” for Rogers TV, as well as was a guest on CUIT's radio show, HOWL. Prior to her album release last September, Nicole was featured in The Toronto Star, as well as on Newstalk1010 and CBC Radio, where she played her single “Barn Dance” (co-written with Stephen King) live on air.
Nicole spent the fall of 2010 on a North American a tour with fellow bluesman Alfie Smith that included stops in Rochester, Buffalo, Syracuse, Montreal, Ottawa, Hamilton and Kingston, and the summer playing festivals including Burlington's Sound of Music, Toronto's Roncy Rocks and Kingston's Tabu Music Fest.
Her newest release, Run Rabbit Run, was voted the Best Debut Blues and Roots Album of 2010 by the Underground Blues Network and in August she was named a finalist in the Toronto Blues Society's annual Talent Search. In October Nicole was nominated for two Hamilton Music Awards, one for Best Blues Album of the Year and one for Best Female artist of the Year. She was a featured performer at this years OCFF and the Blues Summit 6 in Toronto.
Nicole is currently performing primarily in Southern Ontario as a duo with Alfie Smith.
For more info,visit www.nicolechristian.org
Nicole Christian - Vocals, Bass, Acoustic Guitar, flute, slide guitar
Alfie Smith - Lead and Slide Guitar
Last Day to Fall (March 2004)
Abode of Crows (April 2007)
Run Rabbit Run (Sept. 2010)
Barn Dance (Run Rabbit Run) has been played on CIUT, CBC, Newstalk1010 and Jazzfm. Good Man is currently playing on several internet radio stations including Midnight Blues Special Radio.
Stephen King Takes Shining to Toronto Blues Singer
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Published On Sun Aug 15 2010 Paul McLaughlin Special to the Star When Nicole Christian was in... Published On Sun Aug 15 2010
Paul McLaughlin Special to the Star
When Nicole Christian was in Grade 5 in Rochester, N.Y., her teacher asked the students to write a letter to their hero. Christian chose horror writer Stephen King, whose books she was devouring.
“My teacher was a little miffed,” Christian says. “Everybody else was writing to world leaders and presidents.”
Remarkably, King wrote back. He thanked her “for taking the time to enjoy my work.” Christian had the letter framed and it hung in her bedroom until she left home at age 18 for the University of Toronto to study the concert flute.
Now married and living in Toronto, the 28-year-old works as a waitress in the Beaches while pursuing a career as a blues singer and songwriter. She performs around Toronto in a group called Nicole Christian and the Caravan.
A few months ago she once again wrote to King, although she felt sure he would not respond to her new request: She wanted to use his words.
A self-described “huge Stephen King fan,” Christian has read most of King’s 50-plus books, many repeatedly. “I read It, which is about 1,200 pages, every couple of years,” she says. Another favourite is Bag of Bones. “It has no cover, like a lot of my King books, because they’ve all been dragged over hell and earth.”
A central character in Bag of Bones is a blues singer who was murdered in the 1920s. King wrote some song lyrics in the book. “He would write a line and maybe 50 pages later another line, but there isn’t a complete song by him,” Christian says.
A few years ago, she got the idea to take what King had written, add her own lyrics and melody, and create a song. It took her two years to come up with the melody, which came to her one night this year while re-reading the book at a Pizza Pizza.
By May, as she was starting to work on a new CD, her third self-produced collection, she was ready to record the King-inspired song, which she called “Barn Dance.”
Then it dawned on her that she was likely violating King’s copyright. “I’d say the lyrics are 60 to 70 per cent Stephen King,” she says.
Christian searched the Internet for a way to contact King, a task that proved difficult. She finally sent a message through stephenking.com. A day later, Marsha DeFilippo, King’s assistant, replied saying that the request had been forwarded to “Steve.”
Buoyed by the quick reply, Christian began recording the song. By late June, with her money already spent laying down tracks in the studio, Christian had not heard back.
She posted another message on the fan site (it doesn’t allow direct email contact to DeFilippo) repeating her request. Once again she received an answer within 24 hours. This time, however, it came from her hero.
“She can use the words, but I don’t get the sole credit,” King wrote via DeFilippo. “She and I share, with her name first. Steve.” He didn’t request any financial compensation.
“I flipped out when I saw that,” says Christian. “All my life I grew up wanting to be a writer and now I can put on my resume that I’ve co-written a song (which can be heard here) with Stephen King!”
Nicole Christian....Run Rabbit Run
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With a voice mildly reminiscent of Sue Foley, Nicole Christian delivers a unique and hauntingly bea... With a voice mildly reminiscent of Sue Foley, Nicole Christian delivers a unique and hauntingly beautiful Debut Album, filled with a special style of homegrown roots and blues music, the likes of which we do not often have the good fortune of experiencing.
You could perhaps call Nicole Christian a struggling young singer/songwriter/musician, but those struggles have really started to pay off, especially when she is able to use little bits of her lifes stories to make such fresh and engaging music.
"Run, Rabbit Run" consists of 11 Tracks, 10 of which were written solely by Christian, and 1 (Barn Dance), that was co-written with Stephen King, yes that Stephen King. How exactly that came about is quite a story in itself and I urge you to check out the following article, titled, Stephen King takes shining to Toronto blues singer .
All the Tracks on "Run, Rabbit Run" really have a rich home cooked feel to them, thanks in part not only to Nicole's, amazing voice and instrumental work, but also because of the many other elements she has brought to the table, via a group of musicians she calls The Caravan. Consisting of 11 Artists, The Caravan brings together another 18 instruments to the mix, including, believe it or not, Deer Toes. This mix of Talent along with Nicole's voice and expertise on the Ruby Resophonic, Gibson 12 String, and Acoustic Guitars, make for a incredible musical experience that if this Album is any indicator, must just sound amazing at her live shows.
Pinning done a specific style or genre of music is not really that easy, because, to me anyways, "Run, Rabbit Run" is more of a Mosaic that fully and uniquely captures a wide number of styles which are mixed together in such a way that it truly becomes a style all her own. A little bit of Roots, Blues, Canadiana, and Alt Country, all thrown in the blender and coming out the other end as simply magic.
My introduction to Nicole Christian, via "Run, Rabbit Run", was an absolute pleasure and I for one cannot wait to listen to her next release, with many more to come from this exceptional talent.
"Run, Rabbit Run" is an Album chalked full of new and refreshing sounds, and is one which I highly recommend.
Review By John Vermilyea (Blues Underground Network)
Shelter Blues a Resounding Success!
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News and Events Top Stories Shelter Blues a Resounding Success! It was a packed house last Satu...News and Events
Shelter Blues a Resounding Success!
It was a packed house last Saturday as The Savannah Room on College street played host to a hip evening of music benefitting The Toronto Humane Society. And what a benefit it was, raising $500 to help Toronto’s animals in need.
The evening of folk, rock and blues was called Shelter Blues by its organizer Nicole Christian who is a musician and part-time dog walker here at the Toronto Humane Society.
Performers at the event included Undadogg, Flickershow, Nicole Christian and the Caravan, as well as surprise guest Arthur Renwick who played with Peter Verity.
Various local bands and businesses donated merchandise that was given away as door prizes. Those included: $70 worth of merchandise from Danforth-based pet boutique Bark ‘N’ Scratch, $60 worth of tickets from The Bad Dog Theatre Company, a $50 gift certificate from Murphy’s Law Irish Pub on Queen Street East, as well as jewellery from Dragonfly Design on Adelaide, and CDs from local musicians.
Thanks to Nicole Christian who organized the event, all the performers, The Savannah Room which donated $100, and of course to all those people who came out to support The Toronto Humane Society and hear some great music at the same time!
It’s due to the generosity of people like this that The Toronto Humane Society is able to keep helping all of the animals from Toronto and across the GTA!
Nicole performs primarily original, homegrown tunes with a bit of twang. Old blues covers of Mississippi John Hurt, John Lee Hooker and Howlin Wolf often make their way into the set list, as do obscure covers by indie artists such as The Wooden Sky, Alfie Smith, Kevin Quain and Samantha Martin.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.