Andrea Revel
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Andrea Revel

Band Folk Singer/Songwriter

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"Brian Eno Would be Proud"

The test of a great songwriter nowadays seems to be not only how well they can perform with just an acoustic guitar (anybody can do that), but how well they can incorporate contemporary sounds into their approach. Some like Joe Henry, have excelled at it in recent years, but many end up lost in the world of drum & bass. Not Andrea Revel, though. On this sophomore release, the Montreal-via-Calgary native has painted a mesmerising sonic landscape, which is more importantly supported by equally enchanting songs.

Although she describes it herself as "Morcheebe goes to Nashville", 'Citysong's' vibe is more accurately represented in how well Revel manages to inject soul into cold, clinical electronica. Failure to do so is almost always the downfall of songwriters who undertake such an experiment, and even Jeff Tweedy could take some lessons from Andrea Revel, judging by the ironic lifelessness of 'A Ghost is Born'. Most of Revel's songs here, such as "The Past is Never Past" and the utterly gorgeous "Rainy Day", will convince even the staunchest traditionalist that modern technology and old-fashioned balladry can co-exist. Brian Eno would be proud.
-Jason Schneider - Exclaim!


"Brian Eno Would be Proud"

The test of a great songwriter nowadays seems to be not only how well they can perform with just an acoustic guitar (anybody can do that), but how well they can incorporate contemporary sounds into their approach. Some like Joe Henry, have excelled at it in recent years, but many end up lost in the world of drum & bass. Not Andrea Revel, though. On this sophomore release, the Montreal-via-Calgary native has painted a mesmerising sonic landscape, which is more importantly supported by equally enchanting songs.

Although she describes it herself as "Morcheebe goes to Nashville", 'Citysong's' vibe is more accurately represented in how well Revel manages to inject soul into cold, clinical electronica. Failure to do so is almost always the downfall of songwriters who undertake such an experiment, and even Jeff Tweedy could take some lessons from Andrea Revel, judging by the ironic lifelessness of 'A Ghost is Born'. Most of Revel's songs here, such as "The Past is Never Past" and the utterly gorgeous "Rainy Day", will convince even the staunchest traditionalist that modern technology and old-fashioned balladry can co-exist. Brian Eno would be proud.
-Jason Schneider - Exclaim!


"Local Disc Roundup"

*4/5 stars

Technically Andrea Revel may not be a local artist anymore since she relocated to Montreal over a year ago, but it was here where she first made her name, first with an excellent world folk album, "Mile 0", and then as a part of "Rogue Folks" with Kris Demeanor and Chantal Vitalis.

"Citysong" marries Revel's folksy, rootsy side with light electronic beats and atmospherics, for a moody and often intoxicating disc.

Once or twice it sounds a little forced, but on most of the songs - especially "Jezebel" and the Chris-Isaac-esque "The Past is Never Past" - it works incredibely well with Revel creating a sexy, sometimes melancholic late-night listen.
- Mike Bell - The Calgary Sun


"Local Disc Roundup"

*4/5 stars

Technically Andrea Revel may not be a local artist anymore since she relocated to Montreal over a year ago, but it was here where she first made her name, first with an excellent world folk album, "Mile 0", and then as a part of "Rogue Folks" with Kris Demeanor and Chantal Vitalis.

"Citysong" marries Revel's folksy, rootsy side with light electronic beats and atmospherics, for a moody and often intoxicating disc.

Once or twice it sounds a little forced, but on most of the songs - especially "Jezebel" and the Chris-Isaac-esque "The Past is Never Past" - it works incredibely well with Revel creating a sexy, sometimes melancholic late-night listen.
- Mike Bell - The Calgary Sun


"Calgary's Loss is Our Gain"

Folksingers who turn to electronica can be dicey prospects, often sounding like the most self-conscious of banwagon-jumpers. But Andrea Revel has the right idea: Make the beats part of the fabric, rather than layering them on top of already complete songs.

Revel's second album might be a collection of bedroom tapes, but they're hardly callow rehearsals. The former Calgarian (and current Montrealer) is intropective without being indilgent and sophisticated without being standoffish, and knows when to keep the machinery to a background hum: "Don't You Forget Me" and "Rainy Day" are affecting ballads that don't need much of a programmer's touch, so they don't get much of one. The country inflections on some of the down-tempo songs are signs of where Revel comes from; Calgary's loss is out gain.
-Jordan Zivitz - The Montreal Gazette


"Calgary's Loss is Our Gain"

Folksingers who turn to electronica can be dicey prospects, often sounding like the most self-conscious of banwagon-jumpers. But Andrea Revel has the right idea: Make the beats part of the fabric, rather than layering them on top of already complete songs.

Revel's second album might be a collection of bedroom tapes, but they're hardly callow rehearsals. The former Calgarian (and current Montrealer) is intropective without being indilgent and sophisticated without being standoffish, and knows when to keep the machinery to a background hum: "Don't You Forget Me" and "Rainy Day" are affecting ballads that don't need much of a programmer's touch, so they don't get much of one. The country inflections on some of the down-tempo songs are signs of where Revel comes from; Calgary's loss is out gain.
-Jordan Zivitz - The Montreal Gazette


"Live Review at Cafe Esperanza with Karyn Ellis & Joellen Housego"

By: Aidan Nulman

Go figure. For my first solo concert review, Wetlabel sent me off to a show that featured so much estrogen, it made The View look like a monster truck rally.

Walking into Pharmacie Esperanza, it felt like I’d entered a 1950s kitchenette with funky décor. Andrea and Lisa greeted me at the door and showed me to a couch, right next to where they were set up to play. People were eating dinner and chatting away.

After about twenty minutes, Lisa Hoffman walked onstage to kick off the show. Her music is kind of light, with lyrics that try to be fresh, intelligent, and witty – all attributes that were pretty well achieved in the second song of her set. But while her musical ability was not bad at all, I still found myself questioning her songwriting skills. With criticisms of Bush being summarized as him “sticking private parts in my head,” for example, her lyrics often left me questioning exactly what it was that she was trying to say.

Two of Lisa’s three songs were all over the place, trying to cover more ground than a single one should. While most of her segments worked individually, there was no reason to mash them all together. If Lisa sat down with her guitar – “Fight For Your Mind” written on the instrument in pen –and focused, I’m sure she could write tracks that would be less rattled and more critical and relevant. After her third song, “Lost and Found”, she went back to the door to check tickets.

The real show then began when Joellen Housego took to the microphone to play a few songs. Her ukulele gave the music a very unique sound from the beginning of the set. While her soft and resonant voice worked pretty well on its own, it was a perfect anchor to Randy and Andrea’s harmonies on many of her tunes.

Joellen’s writing was great. Her songs came across mostly as light, innocent stories that were fun to listen to. “Gonna run you over like a steamroller / Maybe I can make you lose your composure” went my favourite song of hers, “King of Monster Island.” The song was, in fact, based on a Life in Hell comic strip (by Matt Groening) that she had read, she explained to the audience afterwards.

During Joellen’s set, a friend of hers named Randy (from a group called Dante’s Flaming Uterus) accompanied her not only with vocal harmonies, but also with clarinet and mandolin for several of her songs. Both of these instruments were played incredibly, most notably during her sixth song, when Randy went into an impressive mandolin solo.

After a cover of Warren Zevon’s “Johnny Strikes Up the Band,” a song dedicated to Hunter S. Thompson as well as Zevon himself, Joellen made way for Andrea Revel.

Andrea’s songs were original and interesting, and her guitar contrasted well with her high voice. She might as well have been describing herself in her song, Ella, which was really about Ella Fitzgerald: “A voice like a summer night / Melodies that make wrong seem right.”

Joellen returned Andrea’s favour and accompanied her on the violin for a few songs. Her playing added a whole new dimension to “White Noise,” and while the plucking of the violin strings she did during “Jezebel” was odd, it worked.

Andrea’s songs were well-written and clever. “Jezebel” took a bunch of old stories, such as the bible story of Delilah and Samson, and somehow added suspense. In “Flapper Jane,” a tribute to Betty Boop, she plays with her choice of words: “I like the sound of the sex / --- Oops, I mean sax.”

Andrea was absolutely incredible. Her writing is fresh, her voice is angelic, and her guitar playing is simply out of this world. Her music had everyone enjoying the evening, from the little kids to the couples sitting at the tables, and even the wall-leaners in the back couldn’t help but look at her in admiration. What surprised me was how such a phenomenal singer-songwriter drew such a small crowd.

After a short sound check, it was Karyn Ellis' turn to play. As a singer-songwriter, she’s certainly got the singing part down pat. All she needs is a little bit of work on the writing aspect. And it’s not even that she writes badly – in fact, all of her songs were quite good… they were just almost carbon copies of each other.

While Karyn’s voice sounded like good champagne tastes, that wasn’t enough to keep my interest from waning over the length of her ten song set. Five of her songs sounded eerily similar, and only two were actually exceptionally different.

After announcing her song “Sugarbeet,” Karyn received wild applause from the ever-present Randy, obviously a fan of beets. Unfortunately, that was the highpoint of energy for this otherwise vocally talented Toronto native. Her set started at one level, and disappointed by not moving anywhere different.

After her 9th song, Karyn left us with her finale, aptly titled “Another Sad Song.” And thus ended a satisfying night, and one which let me listen in on a few of Canada’s unknown female vocalists’ stories and secret pa - Wetlabel


"Live Review at Cafe Esperanza with Karyn Ellis & Joellen Housego"

By: Aidan Nulman

Go figure. For my first solo concert review, Wetlabel sent me off to a show that featured so much estrogen, it made The View look like a monster truck rally.

Walking into Pharmacie Esperanza, it felt like I’d entered a 1950s kitchenette with funky décor. Andrea and Lisa greeted me at the door and showed me to a couch, right next to where they were set up to play. People were eating dinner and chatting away.

After about twenty minutes, Lisa Hoffman walked onstage to kick off the show. Her music is kind of light, with lyrics that try to be fresh, intelligent, and witty – all attributes that were pretty well achieved in the second song of her set. But while her musical ability was not bad at all, I still found myself questioning her songwriting skills. With criticisms of Bush being summarized as him “sticking private parts in my head,” for example, her lyrics often left me questioning exactly what it was that she was trying to say.

Two of Lisa’s three songs were all over the place, trying to cover more ground than a single one should. While most of her segments worked individually, there was no reason to mash them all together. If Lisa sat down with her guitar – “Fight For Your Mind” written on the instrument in pen –and focused, I’m sure she could write tracks that would be less rattled and more critical and relevant. After her third song, “Lost and Found”, she went back to the door to check tickets.

The real show then began when Joellen Housego took to the microphone to play a few songs. Her ukulele gave the music a very unique sound from the beginning of the set. While her soft and resonant voice worked pretty well on its own, it was a perfect anchor to Randy and Andrea’s harmonies on many of her tunes.

Joellen’s writing was great. Her songs came across mostly as light, innocent stories that were fun to listen to. “Gonna run you over like a steamroller / Maybe I can make you lose your composure” went my favourite song of hers, “King of Monster Island.” The song was, in fact, based on a Life in Hell comic strip (by Matt Groening) that she had read, she explained to the audience afterwards.

During Joellen’s set, a friend of hers named Randy (from a group called Dante’s Flaming Uterus) accompanied her not only with vocal harmonies, but also with clarinet and mandolin for several of her songs. Both of these instruments were played incredibly, most notably during her sixth song, when Randy went into an impressive mandolin solo.

After a cover of Warren Zevon’s “Johnny Strikes Up the Band,” a song dedicated to Hunter S. Thompson as well as Zevon himself, Joellen made way for Andrea Revel.

Andrea’s songs were original and interesting, and her guitar contrasted well with her high voice. She might as well have been describing herself in her song, Ella, which was really about Ella Fitzgerald: “A voice like a summer night / Melodies that make wrong seem right.”

Joellen returned Andrea’s favour and accompanied her on the violin for a few songs. Her playing added a whole new dimension to “White Noise,” and while the plucking of the violin strings she did during “Jezebel” was odd, it worked.

Andrea’s songs were well-written and clever. “Jezebel” took a bunch of old stories, such as the bible story of Delilah and Samson, and somehow added suspense. In “Flapper Jane,” a tribute to Betty Boop, she plays with her choice of words: “I like the sound of the sex / --- Oops, I mean sax.”

Andrea was absolutely incredible. Her writing is fresh, her voice is angelic, and her guitar playing is simply out of this world. Her music had everyone enjoying the evening, from the little kids to the couples sitting at the tables, and even the wall-leaners in the back couldn’t help but look at her in admiration. What surprised me was how such a phenomenal singer-songwriter drew such a small crowd.

After a short sound check, it was Karyn Ellis' turn to play. As a singer-songwriter, she’s certainly got the singing part down pat. All she needs is a little bit of work on the writing aspect. And it’s not even that she writes badly – in fact, all of her songs were quite good… they were just almost carbon copies of each other.

While Karyn’s voice sounded like good champagne tastes, that wasn’t enough to keep my interest from waning over the length of her ten song set. Five of her songs sounded eerily similar, and only two were actually exceptionally different.

After announcing her song “Sugarbeet,” Karyn received wild applause from the ever-present Randy, obviously a fan of beets. Unfortunately, that was the highpoint of energy for this otherwise vocally talented Toronto native. Her set started at one level, and disappointed by not moving anywhere different.

After her 9th song, Karyn left us with her finale, aptly titled “Another Sad Song.” And thus ended a satisfying night, and one which let me listen in on a few of Canada’s unknown female vocalists’ stories and secret pa - Wetlabel


"The Best of Both Musical Worlds"

Andrea Revel finds current success (and a bit of Calgary) in old Montreal

- by Martin Kemp

When singer-songwriter and all around free spirit Andrea Revel left Calgary a few years ago to finish her sophomore album Citysong, her plan was to be gone for just a few months.

Following a stream of friends to La Belle Province, including musical collaborator and Citysong producer Michael McCann of Behavior Music, Revel’s intent was to simply wrap up the production of the album that started in the Inglewood apartment McCann and she previously shared.

Instead she has put down her electronica-infused folk roots in Montreal, immersing herself in the artistic community there – a community that includes more than a few former Calgarians.

Upon arriving in Montreal, Revel’s first roommate was FUBAR director and ex-Cowtown resident Mike Dowse, who at the time was working on the critically acclaimed film It’s All Gone Pete Tong. He was a big supporter of the Citysong project, both through moral support and production space.

“When Dowse went to do It’s All Gone Pete Tong, we moved the (recording) studio in his bedroom,” laughs Revel. “Eventually Mike McCann opened Behavior Music in the same studio Pete Tong was working out of, and I finished the album there. So we’ve been all over the place from Inglewood to Montreal.”

When asked if Citysong, a Morcheeba-esque fusion of voice, guitar and dreamy electronics, would have turned out the same if she hadn’t moved to Montreal, Revel is quick to answer.

“I actually don’t think it would have been the same album had I stayed in Calgary, because only four songs were finished before I left,” she explains. “Everything else came out once I was there. All the things I was experiencing in leaving Calgary came out in the music. I think some of the songs are pretty sad, and that was sort of me dealing with leaving my hometown.”

Montreal has also paid off for Revel not only through increased opportunities for performance, but film and TV work as well. Her music has appeared on television series Zoë Busiek: Wild Card and ReGenesis, as well as the French-Canadian film Amnesie – L’Enigme de James Brighton and a couple of Lifetime Network programs.

The increasing buzz around Revel’s musical boundary pushing has reverberated as far as Portugal, where Citysong has been re-released, in advance of a tour of that country next year.

It is clear that Revel is benefiting from her new surroundings, while also keeping Calgary close to her heart. She likely couldn’t escape the influence of her former home even if she wanted to, due to the strong network of Calgary expatriates she’s a part of in Montreal.

Her current roommate is Brigitte Dajczer, who occasionally still plays with Calgary’s Rembetika Hipsters, and Revel plans to perform in early 2006 with Kris Demeanor who is currently spending time in Quebec.

Demeanor and Revel comprised two-thirds of the impromptu Rogue Folk collaboration, performing in Calgary several years ago. The other member of the group is local songwriter Chantal Vitalis, with whom Revel will share the stage at an upcoming Ironwood show.

In hindsight, Revel observes her move to Montreal has a lot to do with simply having access to performance opportunities she didn’t have in Western Canada.

“I do find Montreal inspiring, but I find Calgary inspiring as well,” she says. “I just think it’s easier to work in the east if you live the east. I find it easier to come back to Calgary to play than I think it would be to play in the east if I was still living in Calgary.”

And she can, after all, still come home to visit.


- Ffwd Magazine


"The Best of Both Musical Worlds"

Andrea Revel finds current success (and a bit of Calgary) in old Montreal

- by Martin Kemp

When singer-songwriter and all around free spirit Andrea Revel left Calgary a few years ago to finish her sophomore album Citysong, her plan was to be gone for just a few months.

Following a stream of friends to La Belle Province, including musical collaborator and Citysong producer Michael McCann of Behavior Music, Revel’s intent was to simply wrap up the production of the album that started in the Inglewood apartment McCann and she previously shared.

Instead she has put down her electronica-infused folk roots in Montreal, immersing herself in the artistic community there – a community that includes more than a few former Calgarians.

Upon arriving in Montreal, Revel’s first roommate was FUBAR director and ex-Cowtown resident Mike Dowse, who at the time was working on the critically acclaimed film It’s All Gone Pete Tong. He was a big supporter of the Citysong project, both through moral support and production space.

“When Dowse went to do It’s All Gone Pete Tong, we moved the (recording) studio in his bedroom,” laughs Revel. “Eventually Mike McCann opened Behavior Music in the same studio Pete Tong was working out of, and I finished the album there. So we’ve been all over the place from Inglewood to Montreal.”

When asked if Citysong, a Morcheeba-esque fusion of voice, guitar and dreamy electronics, would have turned out the same if she hadn’t moved to Montreal, Revel is quick to answer.

“I actually don’t think it would have been the same album had I stayed in Calgary, because only four songs were finished before I left,” she explains. “Everything else came out once I was there. All the things I was experiencing in leaving Calgary came out in the music. I think some of the songs are pretty sad, and that was sort of me dealing with leaving my hometown.”

Montreal has also paid off for Revel not only through increased opportunities for performance, but film and TV work as well. Her music has appeared on television series Zoë Busiek: Wild Card and ReGenesis, as well as the French-Canadian film Amnesie – L’Enigme de James Brighton and a couple of Lifetime Network programs.

The increasing buzz around Revel’s musical boundary pushing has reverberated as far as Portugal, where Citysong has been re-released, in advance of a tour of that country next year.

It is clear that Revel is benefiting from her new surroundings, while also keeping Calgary close to her heart. She likely couldn’t escape the influence of her former home even if she wanted to, due to the strong network of Calgary expatriates she’s a part of in Montreal.

Her current roommate is Brigitte Dajczer, who occasionally still plays with Calgary’s Rembetika Hipsters, and Revel plans to perform in early 2006 with Kris Demeanor who is currently spending time in Quebec.

Demeanor and Revel comprised two-thirds of the impromptu Rogue Folk collaboration, performing in Calgary several years ago. The other member of the group is local songwriter Chantal Vitalis, with whom Revel will share the stage at an upcoming Ironwood show.

In hindsight, Revel observes her move to Montreal has a lot to do with simply having access to performance opportunities she didn’t have in Western Canada.

“I do find Montreal inspiring, but I find Calgary inspiring as well,” she says. “I just think it’s easier to work in the east if you live the east. I find it easier to come back to Calgary to play than I think it would be to play in the east if I was still living in Calgary.”

And she can, after all, still come home to visit.


- Ffwd Magazine


"A Delicate Mix of Folk and Electronica"

Review: Andrea Revel - Citysong
By: Amy Brown
Rating: 8/10
Reviewed: March 24, 2005

When reviewing a CD with a personality as complex as Andrea Revel’s second LP Citysong, it helps when you can draw on other artists for comparisons and references. The different tracks on the LP can be compared to the likes of Sarah McLachlan, Natalie Merchant, and Metric front woman Emily Haines’ solo work. However, the changing nature is, in one way, a good thing for Revel. Citysong is awash with different themes, moods, and sounds. Revel’s voice even changes tone to fit the mood of a given song. For one track, she is a sultry jazz songstress and within seconds, she transforms into mournful crooner.

The lyrics change from poetry to natural dialogue on different songs. The lyrics of “Ella” and “Jezebel” paint that you truly have to hear to understand. Lyrically, they are quiet like typical psychedelic songs in how they provide a picture with metaphors. Conversely, “Rainy Day” is a concise first person narrative of a very lonely girl. Both types of lyrics are present on the album, and it is amazing how she can keep them separate in some songs, and then combine them beautifully in others.

The mood of Citysong is slightly bi-polar; with themes ranging from happy, empowering and tragic. As much as the changing themes on CitySong shows off Revel’s talent, it can be hard to follow the entire CD through a full run without thinking you are bi-polar yourself. Certain songs offer a positive outlook with a spirited guitar and keyboard. Others are great for those times when you feel sad and want a song that comforts. I know that Revel is trying to make a point about duality, but the drastic mood changes throughout the album make me wish that Revel had made Citysong a little more consistent.

Andrea Revel is most definitely a promising young woman. She is a part of the Canadian female singer/songwriter tradition and overall her LP is quite smartly crafted. With a delicate mix of folk and electronica it is surprisingly good.

Recommended if you like:Natalie Merchant,Iron & Wine
Edited byJustin Adler

- Wetlabel


"A Delicate Mix of Folk and Electronica"

Review: Andrea Revel - Citysong
By: Amy Brown
Rating: 8/10
Reviewed: March 24, 2005

When reviewing a CD with a personality as complex as Andrea Revel’s second LP Citysong, it helps when you can draw on other artists for comparisons and references. The different tracks on the LP can be compared to the likes of Sarah McLachlan, Natalie Merchant, and Metric front woman Emily Haines’ solo work. However, the changing nature is, in one way, a good thing for Revel. Citysong is awash with different themes, moods, and sounds. Revel’s voice even changes tone to fit the mood of a given song. For one track, she is a sultry jazz songstress and within seconds, she transforms into mournful crooner.

The lyrics change from poetry to natural dialogue on different songs. The lyrics of “Ella” and “Jezebel” paint that you truly have to hear to understand. Lyrically, they are quiet like typical psychedelic songs in how they provide a picture with metaphors. Conversely, “Rainy Day” is a concise first person narrative of a very lonely girl. Both types of lyrics are present on the album, and it is amazing how she can keep them separate in some songs, and then combine them beautifully in others.

The mood of Citysong is slightly bi-polar; with themes ranging from happy, empowering and tragic. As much as the changing themes on CitySong shows off Revel’s talent, it can be hard to follow the entire CD through a full run without thinking you are bi-polar yourself. Certain songs offer a positive outlook with a spirited guitar and keyboard. Others are great for those times when you feel sad and want a song that comforts. I know that Revel is trying to make a point about duality, but the drastic mood changes throughout the album make me wish that Revel had made Citysong a little more consistent.

Andrea Revel is most definitely a promising young woman. She is a part of the Canadian female singer/songwriter tradition and overall her LP is quite smartly crafted. With a delicate mix of folk and electronica it is surprisingly good.

Recommended if you like:Natalie Merchant,Iron & Wine
Edited byJustin Adler

- Wetlabel


"Reveling in Andrea"

An interview with Andrea Revel, a Canadian singer redefining the boundaries of folk music

by Chris Sikich in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

On her second album, Citysong, Andrea Revel shows the world folk music does not just have to be saturated with lyrics and guitars; electronic arrangements, genre-bending beats, and high end production values can also enter the mix. A threat of imminent impermanence haunts the album’s ten tracks, which, while sometimes offering more style than substance, meld into a catchy soundtrack about the multiple identities of cities and their inhabitants.

A native of Alberta, Canada, Andrea Revel has been a musician for most of her life. She said in a phone interview that she began with piano lessons at six years old and then moved onto the flute. "I really love the acoustic sounds of instruments, the natural sound of instruments," Revel said. "What attracts me to folk music are the lyrics, the storytelling and the political elements, the human elements. I find it very touchable." She never was affiliated with rock or electronica until her sister, who in Revel’s words is, "super-anti-folk," introduced her to electronic, urban and trip-hop genres. Producer Michael McCann and his Behavior Music production studio helped Revel integrate an electronic, urban-feel into Citysong.

Citysong took one and a half years to produce, stretched out by a move across Canada, from Calgary to Montreal, Revel said. The move from her Alberta home to Quebec represented a move from a more rural environment to one she described as a "chic urban" setting. This shift in time and space echoes throughout Citysong. Revel said that the concepts of "country girl, city girl, urban music and folk music, past and the present" create a dualism found throughout the album.

Citysong evolves from her first work, 2000’s Mile Zero, an album that stays true to her folk roots with a pinch of international flavor, such as the sitar found on "Home" and "Beneath Me." On Citysong Revel’s voice — part Ani DiFranco, part Sarah McLachlan, with a hint of Natalie Merchant — and guitar pair with sleek electronic arrangements courtesy of producer Michael McCann. Revel recorded much of the album in unusually domestic spaces. Due to economic and time restrictions (she was working three jobs) Revel and McCann recorded much of the album in the intimacy of closets, attics, and bathrooms. Revel explained that she would "be stuck in a small space because when you sing you want to have a very flat sound so you can manipulate it more." "I was in the bathroom with pillows," she said, "trying to get the right sound. We were trying to create our own indie studio by hanging laundry off the walls."

"White Noise," Citysong’s opening track, exemplifies Revel’s merging of folk with electronica. A mini-guitar solo opens the song, which is only the first piece in the montage of sounds presented. Electronic rhythms, drums, other strings, and, most importantly, Revel’s voice, hauntingly distorted in the electronic mix, catapult the listener into the overwhelming hum of the city. Her onomatopoeia for the white noise — "doda-da-dadum" — puts an exclamation point on the piece; her voice as folk instrument becomes a lullaby for the electronic urban landscape.

This fusion goes even further in the album’s pinnacle, "Jezebel," Revel’s take on prostitution and drug addiction. Inspired by the pre-dawn walks Revel took to work when she first moved to Montreal, the song exchanges much of Revel's guitar work for the music of an expansive electronic orchestra. While walking to her job at a coffee house, Revel stated that she would see "almost purely men, drunks" with the only women seen "were junkies or prostitutes." Revel said, "I really was trying to get into their minds and understand why they were who they were and what made someone able to do to what they do to manipulate or get money." These women’s voices become the voice of a twisted chant, backed by a the echoes of guitar strumming, uttering "I’m a Jezebel with a silver tongue/ My palms are open gimme some." Revel paints an aural portrait of a modern take on Samson and Delilah, where female Delilahs "take [their] lover’s might" to obtain money for drugs. Fate, apparitions, and the ill-repute nature of the song’s characters make it the most complex on the record.

Revel’s knack for storytelling also shines through on "Ella." The liner notes state it is "for John Revel." Revel’s uncle, a forester by trade, was a big fan of Ella Fitzgerald’s, and once told Revel he had had tea with Fitzgerald at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto. From this story came "Ella." Here Revel’s voice has a fuller, breathier quality than found on most other tracks, flowing with the electronic rhythms as one line blends in with another: "Songbird takes him far away/ Trapped on vinyl/ Caged in mid-flight" Revel sings of her uncle’s appreciation for Fitzgerald. As the song comes to a close, Revel’s voice takes off like a - Dragonfire


"Reveling in Andrea"

An interview with Andrea Revel, a Canadian singer redefining the boundaries of folk music

by Chris Sikich in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

On her second album, Citysong, Andrea Revel shows the world folk music does not just have to be saturated with lyrics and guitars; electronic arrangements, genre-bending beats, and high end production values can also enter the mix. A threat of imminent impermanence haunts the album’s ten tracks, which, while sometimes offering more style than substance, meld into a catchy soundtrack about the multiple identities of cities and their inhabitants.

A native of Alberta, Canada, Andrea Revel has been a musician for most of her life. She said in a phone interview that she began with piano lessons at six years old and then moved onto the flute. "I really love the acoustic sounds of instruments, the natural sound of instruments," Revel said. "What attracts me to folk music are the lyrics, the storytelling and the political elements, the human elements. I find it very touchable." She never was affiliated with rock or electronica until her sister, who in Revel’s words is, "super-anti-folk," introduced her to electronic, urban and trip-hop genres. Producer Michael McCann and his Behavior Music production studio helped Revel integrate an electronic, urban-feel into Citysong.

Citysong took one and a half years to produce, stretched out by a move across Canada, from Calgary to Montreal, Revel said. The move from her Alberta home to Quebec represented a move from a more rural environment to one she described as a "chic urban" setting. This shift in time and space echoes throughout Citysong. Revel said that the concepts of "country girl, city girl, urban music and folk music, past and the present" create a dualism found throughout the album.

Citysong evolves from her first work, 2000’s Mile Zero, an album that stays true to her folk roots with a pinch of international flavor, such as the sitar found on "Home" and "Beneath Me." On Citysong Revel’s voice — part Ani DiFranco, part Sarah McLachlan, with a hint of Natalie Merchant — and guitar pair with sleek electronic arrangements courtesy of producer Michael McCann. Revel recorded much of the album in unusually domestic spaces. Due to economic and time restrictions (she was working three jobs) Revel and McCann recorded much of the album in the intimacy of closets, attics, and bathrooms. Revel explained that she would "be stuck in a small space because when you sing you want to have a very flat sound so you can manipulate it more." "I was in the bathroom with pillows," she said, "trying to get the right sound. We were trying to create our own indie studio by hanging laundry off the walls."

"White Noise," Citysong’s opening track, exemplifies Revel’s merging of folk with electronica. A mini-guitar solo opens the song, which is only the first piece in the montage of sounds presented. Electronic rhythms, drums, other strings, and, most importantly, Revel’s voice, hauntingly distorted in the electronic mix, catapult the listener into the overwhelming hum of the city. Her onomatopoeia for the white noise — "doda-da-dadum" — puts an exclamation point on the piece; her voice as folk instrument becomes a lullaby for the electronic urban landscape.

This fusion goes even further in the album’s pinnacle, "Jezebel," Revel’s take on prostitution and drug addiction. Inspired by the pre-dawn walks Revel took to work when she first moved to Montreal, the song exchanges much of Revel's guitar work for the music of an expansive electronic orchestra. While walking to her job at a coffee house, Revel stated that she would see "almost purely men, drunks" with the only women seen "were junkies or prostitutes." Revel said, "I really was trying to get into their minds and understand why they were who they were and what made someone able to do to what they do to manipulate or get money." These women’s voices become the voice of a twisted chant, backed by a the echoes of guitar strumming, uttering "I’m a Jezebel with a silver tongue/ My palms are open gimme some." Revel paints an aural portrait of a modern take on Samson and Delilah, where female Delilahs "take [their] lover’s might" to obtain money for drugs. Fate, apparitions, and the ill-repute nature of the song’s characters make it the most complex on the record.

Revel’s knack for storytelling also shines through on "Ella." The liner notes state it is "for John Revel." Revel’s uncle, a forester by trade, was a big fan of Ella Fitzgerald’s, and once told Revel he had had tea with Fitzgerald at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto. From this story came "Ella." Here Revel’s voice has a fuller, breathier quality than found on most other tracks, flowing with the electronic rhythms as one line blends in with another: "Songbird takes him far away/ Trapped on vinyl/ Caged in mid-flight" Revel sings of her uncle’s appreciation for Fitzgerald. As the song comes to a close, Revel’s voice takes off like a - Dragonfire


Discography

LPs:
- Presently recording "House of Sticks" (2008)
- "Citysong" (2005); Different City Records Portugal
- "Citysong" (2004)
- "Mile 0" (2000)

Compilations:
- TVN Style: W Kobiecym Stylu Vol. 2 (2007); Universal Music Poland
- St-Sulpice (2007) – ICM Records
- Costa Del Sur (2006) – Water Music Records
- Ethnica 4 (2006) – EMI Greece
- What is Indie? (2006) - Stand Alone Records
- Stress Free! No Stress Added (2005) – Different City (Portugal)
- Regenesis: TV Series Vol. 1 (2005)
- Hold Your Ground (2001) - The Activist Network
- Double Mo Live (2000) - Double Mo Cafe

Photos

Bio

Revel “will convince even the staunchest traditionalist that modern technology and old-fashioned balladry can co-exist. Brian Eno would be proud” (Exclaim!).

“Revel is introspective without being indulgent and sophisticated without being standoffish.” (Montreal Gazette)

“Revel marries her folk-roots side with light electronic beats and atmospherics for a moody and intoxicating disc.” (Calgary Sun)

This scribbly haired Montrealer could have been the love child of sultry Peggy Lee and Chuck Berry. En direct, Revel's sweet and beguiling voice soars whether above her trademark acoustic guitar loops or twangy Gretsch duo-jet.

Revel has toured Canada extensively and shared the stage with Jeremy Fisher, Andy Stochansky, Jorane and David Francey. Wetlabel describes her live performance as “…absolutely incredible. Her writing is fresh, her voice angelic and her guitar playing is simply out of this world.”

Her second LP Citysong broke the top ten on several college and indie radio stations in Canada and the US; CKUA radio ranked it among the top three Albertan LPs (fall 2004). Citysong was licensed to Difference Music in Portugal and made its European debut in 2006. Revel’s music is also featured in the television series Re-genesis, Zoe Busiek; Wild Card, 1-800-Missing and in the Montreal films L’Enigme de James Brighton and What is Indie?. In the spring of 2006 Revel co-wrote Clap!Shake!Jump! for Old Navy’s North American ad-campaign. Revel is presently working on her third album to be released fall 2007.