Pamela Means

Pamela Means

 
Boston, Massachusetts, USA
SoloFolkJazz

"Means is, quite simply, superb." HiFi Magazine, London UK
"Good stuff." Neil Young
"...visionary...combination of Michael Franti and Chet Baker..." Northeast Performer Magazine
"...as real and honest as it gets..." Indie-Music.com

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Biography

"Within the industry, and in print, I've been called both a 'white Tracy Chapman' and a 'black Ani DiFranco'. Lame and unimaginative, to say the least. Another media outlet said, 'Pamela Means is in a class by herself.' I like that one."  -  Pamela Means

"So what sets [Pamela Means] apart from other Martin-armed songwriters who are pretty convinced they have a way with poetry and angst? For starters, Means plays a snarling, energetic guitar. She's got chops - more than the other gentle pickers of her ilk will ever have. Means' voice is hard-wired to her heart: emotional, raw, angry when it needs to be, yet supple and warm as an embrace. The truth may not always be pretty, but Means is a stunningly effective messenger."  Oregon Live, Portland OR


Pamela Means, singer-songwriter and jazz musician, with "mad guitar-and-vocal skills" (Time Out New York) has toured throughout the US, Canada, Europe and Australia, selling tens of thousands of her seven independent releases along the way. Currently, Means is on a strict songwriting diet, writing songs for a new album set to begin production in 2014! 

Pamela Means's multiple honors include being named Falcon Ridge Folk Festival's "# 1 Most Wanted New Artist," "Wisconsin Folk Artist of the Year," "Wisconsin Female Vocalist of the Year," and her politically provocative album, Single Bullet Theorywas voted 2004's "Outmusic Outstanding New Recording." Pamela Means was twice voted "Best Acoustic Act" of the year in her hometown of Milwaukee WI, and later nominated for the "Outstanding Contemporary Folk Artist" Boston Music Award. Curve Magazine calls her "one of the fiercest guitar players and politically-rooted singer-songwriters in the music industry today."

Pamela Means has shared stages with Pete Seeger, Ani DiFranco, Indigo Girls, Joan Baez, Howard Zinn, Angela Davis, Eve Ensler, David Strathairn, Neil Young, Shawn Colvin, and many more. Notable appearances include the Newport, Falcon Ridge and Clearwater Folk Festival(s), SXSW Music Conference, Woodford Folk Festival (Australia), and Stockholm Pride (Sweden).

With virtuosic musicianship, razor wit and a disarming sense of humor, Pamela Means is building a vibrant and remarkable career, delighting audiences from Anchorage to Amsterdam to Sydney to Stockholm to Honolulu and New York. Thrilled audience members often exclaim they've 'never seen anyone play guitar like Pamela Means!' Plus, Ani DiFranco said to Pamela Means, "you groove so deep, so deep I can't get out. And I wouldn't want to."
 

AWARDS
Best Singer-Songwriter Beloit Int'l Film Festival
Top Ten Albums of the Year (Pamela Means Jazz Project, Vol. 1)
Wisconsin Folk Artist of the Year
Wisconsin Female Vocalist of the Year
Falcon Ridge Folk Festival Most Wanted New Artist
Outmusic Outstanding New Recording Female (Single Bullet Theory)
(2-time) Milw WI Shepherd Express Readers Poll Best Acoustic Act
Boston Music Award Nominee Outstanding Contemporary Folk Artist
Indie Gods of Guitar Competition Silver Award

Lyrics

Two Halves

Written By: Pamela Means

tuning: CADGBE; full capo II, partial capo V (strings 1-5)
by pamela means
copyright pamela means / phylorra music, bmi 2002

jersey troopers take a walk
high paid lawyers bargain talk
about the poison in the system
how they drank it down and became victims
today they overturned convictions
of louima's civil rights violations
by a gang of nypd's finest
who were really just thugs
with a penchant for violence
is that him walkin' now
ol' jim crow
comin' from all of them parties
WEF, WTO
he's a sharp dressed fella'
with a tight grip on the globe
has all the connections
to keep the high high
keep the low down low
keep the high high
keep the low down low
when i'm out there on the road
those traffic laws i do uphold
i don't need to be pulled over
by a big dick cop with a billy club boner
behind a badge and a loaded weapon
over time i've learned this lesson
though there are two halves of me
there's only one half they will see
though there are two halves of me
to a racist cop out on the beat
another black bitch is all i be
to a racist cop out on the beat
another black bitch is all i be
but, i be
yes, i be

*o.d.

Written By: Pamela Means

tuning: standard; full capo IV
by pamela means
copyright pamela means / phylorra music, bmi 2003
*(oleaginous diplomacy: government initiatives made on behalf of oil companies)

iraq iran
north korea try to stand
bush bin laden and saddam
each of them with dirty hands
meet dick cheney oil merchant
former head of halliburton
had an oil transport plan
a pipeline through afghanistan
then chairman cheney left the post
to join the george who lost the vote
now next in line he often quotes
whispering of ancient rome
the cause of economic toil
is disruption of the oil
greet the dawn of an american peace
a new world order century
we need more military bases
to force feed american faces
on each and every continent
with resources to compliment
our addiction to affluence
and the whims of pretend presidents
the stage is set for a ruler to enter
stormtroopers will stop dissenters
rome did not negotiate
mapped the land and laid to waste
i am caesar i am george
my empire is well on course
well, of course
i got a fine penthouse in washington
kick back and watch the potomac run
patio's perched toward the setting sun
bought the oval office i am my daddy's son

Augusta

Written By: Pamela Means

tuning: CGCGCE; full capo II, partial capo VII (strings 3-5)
copyright pamela means / phylorra music, bmi 2003

after the show i watched a show about earthquakes
predicting underground movement of the earth's plates
a tiny twig snaps then the branch breaks
the very same way the human heart aches
i sleep alone tonight up here in maine
but i've got a perfectly memorized view of your face
your right cheek where i watch your pulse race
one of your wonders that fascinates
your mother has been welcoming
she opened the door to your family
but the pain of rejection has a reach
even all the way from athens, greece
you were told to tell half your life
to keep your secret as a sacrifice
but you're the only one who is compromised
you're the only one with anguish in her eyes
the main difference between them and me
i love you for all you are yet to be
every fiber of your entire identity
you are my happiness you're inspiring

Love and Dust

Written By: Pamela Means

wild things run fast
the devil's on a joyride
forgiveness is my task
to make the most of my time

i'm the polar night
that is never done
when the winter might
well, she lets no sun

i cannot hold a river
i cannot run a stream
take this message to my mother
i saw her in my dream

the moon is a maiden next to god
here/hear my little poems
of love and dust
of love and dust

Amsterdam

Written By: Pamela Means

i wanna wake up in amsterdam
oude kerk prins henrikkade
holed up in a houseboat on the southern canal
i wanna wake up in amsterdam

i wanna wake up in amsterdam
where smiles are made and weighed by the gram
find me in the koffieshop at 3am
i wanna wake up in amsterdam

red bike ride 'round vondelpark
evening descends over noordermarkt
let's get lost at old van gogh's
or smoke a spliff on haarlemerstraat

you and me a laughable pair
giddy gliding giggling on air
nobody listens nobody cares
when i hold your hand and kiss you by the stairs

full moon peek over amstelkerk
meet you by the bench in my 'jazz cafe' shirt
you bring the wine i'll bring the green
this is one of my favorite places indeed

chet baker rest in peace
pour a whiskey shot for him in the street
'neath the window where he fast fell asleep
mellifluous misty melodies

pink triangles at kaisergracht
climb anne frank's steps ponder terrible thoughts
feeling grateful for all we've got
sharing silence along prinsengracht

i wanna wake up in amsterdam
oude kerk prins henrikkade
hiding in a houseboat on the southern canal
i wanna wake up in amsterdam
find me in the koffieshop at 3am
i wanna wake up in amsterdam
free to be who i am
i wanna wake up in amsterdam
free to be who i am
i wanna wake up in amsterdam

New Orleans

Written By: Pamela Means

fat cat fingering the real estate pages
buying up lots ten cents on the dollar
ol' snatch and grab, poor folks on the slab
things so bad it "makes me wanna holler..."

it was a blow job, it was another hit
it was a snow job by the government
see the lawnboy when the golf course is built
down where all the ninth ward houses used to fit

it was the very next day, katrina went away
we heard police cacklin' on the radio
sayin' 1-2-3 go! listen to the levees blow
1-2-3 go! look at all the people flow

german shepherd hangin' on a fence by the throat
alligator swimmin' by an overturned boat
down at the jailhouse on the ground floor
prisoners in wheelchairs barricaded door

new orleans, new orleans, new orleans, new-o
new orleans, new orleans, new orleans, new-o

did you find the road home, well you can't go home
without a firehouse or a place for the groceries
we can't build the store if we don't have the power
we can't get the power cuz they're hoggin' the utilities

fi fie fo fum fema wanna tell you somethin'
thank you for the five hundred dollars
thank you for the trailer but i'll have to see you later
my lungs ain't fit for formaldehyde
thank you for the trailer but i'll have to see you later
my lungs ain't fit for formaldehyde

new orleans, new orleans, new orleans, new-o
new orleans, new orleans, new orleans, new-o

it was a blow job, it was another hit
it was a snow job by the government
see the lawnboy when the back nine is built
down where all the ninth ward houses used to fit

Pollock in Pink

Written By: Pamela Means

began with words soup kettle heating
decibals rose back hand a'leaping
up from the table across her jaw
the lady he love lay in a curious sprawl

panic sussed him out of a saturday stupor
scooping up his wife religion in the two door
i'm sorry baby he kept repeating
sobering thoughts down the avenue speeding

with a thud and a clink
her head hit the sink
in the space of a blink
a pollock in pink

stitches came out ten days later
crescent scar shape of remainders
no charges filed domestic dispute
their three year old child saw the whole bloody truth

with a thud and a clink
her head hit the sink
in the space of a blink
a pollock in pink

Tuesday Come Early

Written By: Pamela Means

something dying something dead
came back to life and peeked her head
coulda' been the stage coulda' been a brand new face
pair of browns behind straight black frames
or red hair long in green summer shades
something changed

mama said i could be anything
coulda' been a mermaid coulda' been a goddamn king
sit on a hill and do the same damn thing
i sit on a hill and do the same damn thing

it ain't over til it's over and it sure ain't over yet
the thing about love you have to let it
room to move and space to set
swing over the moon if you have the mettle
savor that swoon step off the pedal
savor that swoon step off the pedal
savor that swoon