Carrie Biell
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Carrie Biell

Band Americana Singer/Songwriter

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Dec
18
Carrie Biell @ Double Door

Chicago, Illinois, USA

Chicago, Illinois, USA

Nov
28
Carrie Biell @ Berbati's Pan

Portland, Oregon, USA

Portland, Oregon, USA

Nov
06
Carrie Biell @ Tractor Tavern

Seattle, Washington, USA

Seattle, Washington, USA

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Music

Press


"For her youth and innocent countenance, Carrie Biell is a surprisingly deft singer-songwriter with strong, concrete lyrics, a sharp focus, and a knack for gentle, graceful hooks. Though I have only had the opportunity to see her without her band, apparently the show is even stronger when she plays with support. If that's the case, then Ms. Biell should offer tonight's audience a thoughtful and most impressive set."
-JEFF DeROCHE The Stranger - Up and Coming Jul 12 - Jul 18, 2001 - The Stranger


"was surfing some today and I ran across a new favorite. Carrie Biell harnesses all that is right with music today. A reflection to the past with a grasp on the future. Her songs have been playing all day and I can't get her beautiful raspy twang out of my head. Some of her influences are stated to be: Bonnie Prince Billy, Neil Young, Loretta Lynn, Cat Power, Carissa's Wierd, and PJ Harvey... Biell's band consists of Carrie Biell (Guitar, Vocals, some cello), Joe Wuollet(upright bass), and Steve Norman (dobro and electric guitar).
-THE PERM AND THE SKULLET - April 12, 2006 - The Perm & The Skullet / Blog Spot


Carrie Biell
April 4th, 2006 in new music

Carrie Biell is out of Seattle, and she has 3 full-lengths under her belt, however I had just discovered her recently and you should certainly check her out. I love Blackness Ain’t the Thing to Be - I was walking to work the other day with that on the headphones and found myself staring down people on the sidewalk - the guitar tone is just that badass. You can listen to some more songs on her myspace page, and pick up her most recent album on CD Baby. - Yerbird Records / Yer Blog


When Carrie Biell begins to sing, her voice grabs your attention completely. With a slight raspy twang delivered in a half-whisper, Biell commands attention with subtle quirkiness. While it's not a particularly beautiful singing voice, it is striking in its uniqueness.

Biell's music style fits well with her voice, sort of an alt-country sound that is understated and simple. Steel guitar, banjo, mandolin, bass and drums meander along in no hurry, laying down a quiet and steady pace for Biell to paint her melancholy vocal pictures. - Mish Mash


Carrie Biell - When Your Feet Hit the Stars (Independently released CD, Soft pop)
Although she has been entertaining audiences in her hometown of Seattle, Washington for the past several years...this is the first time that we have been exposed to the music of Carrie Biell. Upon hearing the first few seconds of "Cross the Line" we knew we were in for a treat. When Your Feet Hit the Stars is an excellent, soft album featuring thoughtful, pensive, and ultimately hummable pop tunes. Biell's music sounds something like a cross between Janis Ian and Suzanne Vega and yet...she never gives the impression that she is aping or copying the sound of others. The arrangements on this album fit the songs perfectly. These tracks have a nice thick sound that is pushed over the edge thanks to some exceedingly tasty pedal steel guitar playing. Carrie has a beautiful, sincere voice that is immediately effective and real...and her songs seem to come straight from her heart. We can't find anything negative to say about this album. Killer cuts include "Don't You Blame Me" (our favorite), "Gone Without Me," "Swinging," and "Bound To Be." An excellent spin that gets even better over time... (Rating: 5+) - Babysue


Carrie Biell
By Rob Bergquist

Photo by Cat Biell

With the breadth and fullness of voice of someone twice her age, and the lyrical depth to match, it might come as a surprise to learn that singer/songwriter Carrie Biell didn’t start speaking until after she started grade school. “To be honest, there are still times that I am self-conscious about the way I talk,� Biell says amidst a flurry of conversation. Raised by her deaf mother — who slowly went blind — it’s no wonder then that this Seattleite would grow to write tactile songs that linger on each unique sound, like those that make up her latest album, When Your Feet Hit the Stars, released last month.

Biell formed her first band with her twin sister while in middle school, playing bass and mimicking the grunge scene. It wasn’t long before she tried a hand at writing her own music on guitar. By the time she was 17, Biell was persuaded by a friend to produce her own album. Titled Symphony of Sirens, this recording ended up garnering Biell enough attention to open for artists like Kristin Hersh, Eleni Mandell and Jenny Toomey. “While I would never record like that again, it really was a great learning experience. And it did open a lot of doors for me,� Biell says.

After going on to self-release two albums of mellow pop, Carrie decided to restructure her approach. She started working with local guitarist Steve Norman and her new sound was born. “Steve and I have done a lot of growing together as musicians. I can bring him a song and he knows almost instantly what to add to it, and he loves to learn new instruments so that we can get the sound just right,� says Biell. She also took her time to be selective about the rest of her band, choosing artists that could work and have fun together. “I finally feel like I have the right group of people to go on tour with,� she says, gearing up for her first West Coast tour that just concluded late last month.
On When Your Feet Hit the Stars, Biell exhibits an intense curiosity focused primarily on personal relationships and internal reactions. “I like to write when I am really emotional; or at night when I am alone. My songwriting is kind of like my journal,� she says. And while the album has a distinctively folk/country feel, it is Biell’s brooding vocals that set it apart from most material of that genre.

Biell pulled out all the stops when putting together this album: hiring an engineer she couldn’t quite afford, calling radio stations up and down the coast, working with Nice Promotions in an effort to get licensing deals. “It’s been a long time coming, this album, but all the work and money we’ve put into it is really worth it and I’m really excited to share the final product with people,� Biell says. It is clear her determination and passion for her music is unwavering. Biell attributes much of this to her mother. “She is really independent and it’s amazing because it definitely gives me a reality check and keeps me on track.�

Being integrated into the Seattle music community provides a great deal of inspiration for Biell as well. “A lot of the different music I hear here will inspire me to write new songs,� she says. Bands like The Cave Singers, Lightning Dust and Band of Horses have recently stimulated Biell’s writing. She sees her music going in a more psychedelic direction on future recordings as her sound continues to mature and expand. “I hope that 10 years down the road I am just that much better,� Biell says, adding, “I’ll also be a lot more self-aware.�

For Biell, music has always been the best way to forge and maintain connections. Whether it’s with her bandmates in the context of a recording session, the audience gathered around her at a show or with her mother — about whom much of Biell’s new album is about. It is fitting then that the album art for When Your Feet Hit the Stars is an image of a young girl, being pushed in a swing by her mom, trying to make her feet touch the stars and quietly aching — at the behest of her mother — for that tangible connection to the external world. - Performer Magazine (West Coast)


http://depts.washington.edu/kexp/blog/?p=2679

Song of the Day: Carrie Biell -
Don’t You Blame Me

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s featured selection, chosen by Midday Show host Cheryl Waters, is Don’t Blame Me by Carrie Biell from the self-released 2007 album When Your Feet Hit the Stars.

Influenced by the likes of Loretta Lynn, Neko Case, and Bruce Springsteen, Carrie Biell straddles the line between indie-rock and country. Her slow textured vocal delivery is akin to Jesse Sykes, Cat Power, and Mazzy Star. After one listen, all of this name dropping will appear less comparative and more complimetary. When Your Feet Hit the Stars, her 3rd release, benefits from the addition of multi-instrumentalist Steve Norman (pedal steel, dobro, banjo, electric guitar), adding layers without altering the intimate and personal tone of Biell’s previous output. Perhaps the most prevalent inspiration for this album and a great source of its power is Biell’s having grown up with two deaf parents. Her reaction, to dedicate her life to making beautiful music, and she is well on her way. Go to her MySpace page for a band profile and tour information.

Carrie Biell performs live on KEXP this Saturday at 6:30 pm on Audioasis, live from High Dive.

Listen in, or better yet, go check it out. The benefit event also features Emilia Sosa, The Kindness Kind, Jen Wood, and Danger Bird. All proceeds benefit Powerful Voices, which fosters adolescent girls’ development by providing programs and promoting social justice so girls can realize their dreams, engage their communities and shape a better world. - KEXP 90.3 FM Seattle


Carrie Biell's voice is as bold and strong as Nico's, and her stream-of-consciousness lyrics hit nerves that chords alone could not. Take the first lines of Swinging:

We had wooden swings outside in my backyard,
and I thought my own feet would always hit the stars.

I knew I was not alone out there as she stood behind pushing me.
I knew she felt all alone out there when we were swinging.

I drew spiders crawling up and down her back...


You might think that these two elements would clash with a country folk sound, complete with twangy acoustic slide guitar and violin, but you'd be wrong. This is smart Americana, an uncommon marriage of southern music and powerful imagery, stuff to return to again and again. - A Smudge of Ashen Fluff


Whether it was the environmental factors of being raised by deaf parents (her mother also eventually went blind) or simply a natural gift for illustrating deep-seated emotions with subtle, nuanced sounds, Carrie Biell's strength lies in her relaxed, intimate delivery. With a sweetly bewitching voice reminiscent of local peer Jesse Sykes or a less-troubled Chan Marshall, she delivers her eerie and elegant lyrics about lost dreams and rediscovered lovers with notable help from an excellent backing band that includes pedal steel, banjo, and cello. Biell remains one of the city's best-kept secrets in the singer-songwriter genre; she's also one of the most exceptionally talented when it comes to placing a noisy room under her hushed spell. HANNAH LEVIN - Seattle Weekly 10/04/07


Carrie Biell
With her third full-length release, the Seattle-based singer-songwriter musician aims for the stars, if not stardom
by Sheba White


Carrie Biell began playing guitar as a way to write songs, though it wasn’t the first instrument she learned to play and it wasn’t easy. “My sister started playing guitar before me, but she would never teach me,” says the 26-year-old Seattle-based ex-bassist. “Just by sound, I picked up a lot of the chords she was playing. After a while, it became more of my focus in order to write songs. That’s just something you can’t do on bass.”

There are a number of fortuitous moments sprinkled throughout the singer-songwriter’s background. All eventually lead to her third full-length When Your Feet Hit the Stars. Critically acclaimed as a folk-country gem, the album showcases Biell’s penchant for forthright lyrics and themes of strained relationships, which are delivered in a melancholy, lilting twang. “I don’t really feel that sad,” Biell explains. “I think some things come off sadder than I actually am. It’s just me working through it and seeing the light at the end.”

Born in Montclair, California, and raised in a deaf household (Biell’s mother is blind and both parents are deaf), Biell’s early life in an atmosphere where “very little music was played” suggested a future outside of music. It wasn’t until her mother’s remarriage that she and her sisters were introduced to constant music appreciation by their new stepbrothers. “My stepbrothers always had music on. After that I was hooked,” Biell says and describes “serious” practice sessions with a fake guitar in those early days.

This youthful obsession led to performances at small venues in and around Seattle in her early teens. At 19, she released her first full-length album, Symphony of Sirens, through a chance meeting with another local musician who encouraged her to self-release what she already had. “I was young, and I wanted to be a rock star. I wanted to get out there. I was just a little bit ahead of myself. Now there’s a record out there that I don’t want anyone to hear,” Biell laughs. Biell claims that the her first album reflected her lyrical immaturity at the time. “But before, during, and after this new album I really sat back and took more time to figure out what I wanted,” she adds.

Despite the “long process” of recording Hit the Stars, which took six months, Biell is pleased with the results, if a little anxious to get on with the next project. “By the time the record is out, you’re like, ‘Oh man, I’ve got all these other songs,’” she says. Her newfound enthusiasm may also be attributed to the addition of two band mates: Steve Norman on Dobro guitar, pedal steel guitar, banjo, and electric guitar, and Scott Kennedy on second electric guitar and piano.

Norman was instrumental in the new album’s overall sound, but both members have been collaborating with Biell on newer songs, which Biell hopes will move beyond the country leaning of Hit the Stars. “With Steve playing those country instruments,” Biell says, “It kind of made me write more country songs. Now I’m like, ‘Well, I did that!’ I want to be a little less country [on the next recording]. I like what I did, but now I can have some of those elements and not write a country song.”

In the meantime Biell’s goal is to evolve lyrically (she’s particularly fond of Smog’s lyrical control at this time), tour the new material — “It’s actually more fun to play them live than to listen to the record at this point,” she says — and expand as an artist as much as possible.

She’s especially proud to be looking at the next project with less impulsiveness and a better grasp of her capabilities, unlike the experience she had with her first release. “I don’t want to knock it too much, because it actually did open doors,” Biell says, referring to Symphony of Sirens. “That’s when I first started playing bigger venues. I got to open for Kristin Hirsh off that record, which was awesome. So, it actually did some good. It wasn’t the worst thing ever.”

- Venus Magazine


Discography

Symphony of Sirens (2001 LP)
Dusty Rooms (2002 LP)
Autumn On You (2004 LP)
When Your Feet Hit The Stars (2007 LP)

Tracks from all the above records have been rotated on KEXP, and KGRG in Seattle including one track from the upcoming release.

Photos

Bio

Carrie Biell has been moving audiences in her hometown of Seattle, WA and beyond for over 6 years with her gentle, graceful voice and concrete, heartfelt lyrics. Though she considers the Northwest her home, Carrie was actually born an identical twin in Montclair, California. A child of deaf parents and a mother who slowly went blind, Carrie is one of three daughters. She grew up fast as her mother depended on her more and more for help communicating with the hearing and seeing world - it's no wonder Carrie became a musician. Her parents' divorce and mother's remarriage brought her from Orange County to Seattle at age 9.

Growing up in a musically vibrant town exposed Carrie to the bands that made Seattle famous. As a teenager her first band was formed in the 8th grade comprised of her twin sister on guitar and Carrie on bass. The duo performed at school functions and small local coffee shops before branching off in their own directions. Exhibiting surprising lyrical depth for a singer-songwriter of her age, Carrie got an early start performing solo at the age of 17 and released her first album, Symphony of Sirens, in 2001. It landed her on some of Seattle's top stages opening for artists like Kristin Hirsh, Eleni Mandel, and Jenny Toomey, and received regular airplay on local station KEXP as well as various college radio stations throughout the U.S.

Since then, Carrie has become a regular performer at well-know Seattle venues such as The Crocodile Cafe, The Tractor Tavern and Neumos, and has also performed at esteemed venues throughout the U.S., including Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles and The Subterranean in Chicago. She has 4 full-length recordings under her belt with the latest just released in July 2007. Undeniably the best in this young artists' canon, When Your Feet Hit the Stars' soulful lyrics and nuanced instrumentation offer a glimpse of Carrie's musical growth and artistic direction.

Carrie's songwriting is layered and subtle, and over the last two years her sound has further developed with the addition of multi-instrumentalist Steve Norman's touching, classic country textures on pedal steel, Dobro, banjo and electric guitar. When Your Feet Hit the Stars also showcases drumming by Carissa's Weird/Band of Horses contributor Sera Cahoone (Sub Pop). In a live configuration Carrie's band features Steve Norman, Baine Craft (drums), Jason Ward (bass) and Katie Mosehauer (violin). With her guitar in arm and the band backing her, Carrie's music unveils an unparalleled intimacy that never fails to make even the noisiest rooms fall silent.