Colleen McFarland

Colleen McFarland

 Nashville, Tennessee, USA
BandAmericanaSinger/Songwriter

Drenched in heartache and gritty soul, Colleen's "jaw-dropping vocal presence" can quiet a room instantly. With influences ranging from Emmylou Harris to Wilson Pickett, Colleen's undeniably unique voice and songs take her fans on a journey from bittersweet to bluesy energy.

Biography

American Rhythm Music Magazine (January 2009)
"Another fantastic Alt. country gal, Colleen McFarland even throws in a horn section on a track or two. This is her fourth CD, and it’s a keeper. Another great CD for the 2009 music season."

Music Row Online - Robert Oermann (Jan. 2009)
The title tune to this lady's CD is an earnest, sweet number with a certain drawling charm, a steady-jaunty rhythm and a cool, wheezing brass section. She kinda sounds like your friend down the street. Extremely likable. "

Nashville Scene - Michael McCall (October 2006)
"A gritty feel and for-the-ages mysticism..her smoky alto drips with inner strength and sensuality..a compelling mix of dreamy imagery and direct emotion.."

Performing Songwriter - Jesse Thompson (Oct. 2006)
"Beautiful Lie harkens the arrival of a refreshingly original voice and talent.."

Colleen's uniquely sweet, bluesy voice and songs can appear rough around the edges, but also beautiful and haunting, with the kind of mind crafted lyrics that critics and music lovers are fortunate to discover from time to time. While glimpsing into McFarland's journeys of sorrow, deep introspection and determination, fans will translate her songs into their own self discoveries.

The youngest of nine children, Colleen grew up in Jennings, Missouri, listening to the music her parents, and one brother and seven sisters played on the radio and family turntable which included singer-songwriters like Neil Young, Cat Stevens, James Taylor, Linda Rondstadt, Dolly Parton, and Harry Chapin, as well as Motown, country, and classic rock and standards.

After years of singing in church and school, Colleen became a professional entertainer at the age of fifteen, singing in local cover bands and orchestras. Colleen graduated with honors in music performance from the University of Missouri in St. Louis, paying her tuition by moonlighting as a singer/keyboardist in many Midwestern nightclubs. She also spent time honing her skills as a songwriter, writing songs on her piano and keyboard which she bought herself by working additional jobs in college. She bought an acoustic guitar after college, and started writing more folk and country songs, moving to the Northeast for an extended period of time to write and perform her original music at many venues including the Tin Angel, The Point, The Lansdowne Folk Club, and The Bitter End, while also performing in coffee shops and at festivals, including the Newton Colony/XPN Music & Arts Festival in Collingswood, NJ featuring The Mavericks, and Lucinda Williams.

Colleen has recorded and co-produced four independent cds, her newest, 'Let It Shine' 2009 release) was co-produced by Thomm Jutz (guitarist for folk legend Nanci Griffith), featuring a stellar lineup of musicians who have toured with artists including Ricky Scaggs, Bonnie Raitt, John Prine, Lucinda Williams, Bruce Hornsby, Kim Richey and many others.

Since moving to Nashville in 2003, Colleen has performed at 3rd & Lindsley, The Bluebird Cafe, Borders Books & Music, The Basement, Douglas Corner, The French Quarter Cafe, and The Family Wash, where she also performs with her band, and sings with the band Soul Food, led by pedal steel/guitarist Pete Finney, featuring current and former members of Wilco, Last Train Home, the Dixie Chicks and the Jayhawks.

Colleen has also frequently joined guitarist Reeves Gabrels from David Bowie's Tin Machine, and Audley Freed from the Black Crowes at the Family Wash as a guest vocalist. Colleen and Reeves are currently putting a blues and soul band together.

She has shared the stage as a singer-songwriter with many artists including Freedy Johnston, Kim Richey, Jeff Black, Jeffrey Gaines, Lucy Kaplansky, Frank Black, and Entrain to name a few.

Colleen licensed two of her songs to Universal Studios in January of 2006 for the dvd release of the television series Northern Exposure and also signed a licensing deal for film and television with Universal Studios and CBS television. One of her songs was recently featured in CBS television's 'Swingtown' along with Grammy nominated co-writers Rodney Lawson and John Mattick.

Colleen's songs can be heard on radio stations across the country including WRLT in Nashville, WXPN in Philadelphia, and as far away as Paris, France, on NSEO “Keep It Country”. In June of 2009 Coleen's latest release 'Let It Shine' (9th Child Records, 2009) was #5 on the Americana AMA charts, in the top 50 for Roots Music Charts, and #69 in the Folk DJ charts. Colleen has also been a featured pick on the Bob Harris show on BBC Radio.

Her sold out show in Gjovik, Norway was voted best concert for 2006 by Frode Hermanrud, Norwegian journalist for Oppland Arbeiderblad. Her latest cd Let It Shine also received a 5 out of 6 stars review in Norway, and her song 'I Do' written with Norwegian co-writer Peter Nova was also on the top ten radio list in Norway.

Previously working

Lyrics

Let It Shine

Written By: Colleen McFarland

It doesn't take a minute to believe it once you're in it, it doesn't take a miracle at all.
And I know just how you're feeling, 'cause my heart and soul are reeling from the mystery of just what made us fall.

Oh, it's just something 'bout the way you surrender, that gets me right there next to you.
If it's not love then I just want to remember, why I feel the way I do.

Let it shine in your heart and you will find my love will follow you wherever you may go.
I think it's time for us to realize the past is just goodbye and this could be the new beginning.

You are rough and rowdy, and I am soft and cloudy, but we could be the best thing both of us has ever known.
And I know just what you're thinking about me, 'cause I'm still thinking about you, so what are we waiting for?

Oh it's just something 'bout the way you surrender that gets me right there next to you.
If it's not love then I just want to remember, why I feel the way I do.

Let it shine in your heart and you will find my love will follow you wherever you may go.
I think it's time for us to realize the past is just goodbye and this could be the new beginning.

This could be the new beginning.
This could be the new beginning.

London

Written By: Colleen McFarland

London's calling me away from everything I planned today, I would like to spend some time with London.

Blues eyes crying in the rain, I never thought I'd feel this way, got me on a rollercoaster London.

I pretend that I don't care, but I see you everywhere, I could start a love affair with London.

London' calling me away from everything I planned today, I would like to spend some time with London.
I would like to spend some time with London.

Wonder when I heard you say?
I heard you say 'bye-bye'.

Ten Years

Written By: Colleen McFarland

Ten years draggin' that ball and chain, always knew how to pull me back again.
Ten years crawlin' through the mud and rain, ten years starin' at a mountain range, ten years.

Dirt road diggin' out a piece of land,
showing me the promise laying in my hand.
Black top burning like a heated chain, I'm looking at forever 'til I'm whole again.

Ten years, ten years.
Ten years, ten years.

And I know tomorrow is another day, got to be showing me a better way, but I'm so afraid to let it be my guide that I keep on clingin' to the mountainside.

Ten years draggin' that ball and chain, always knew how to pull me back again.
Ten years crawlin' through the mud and rain, ten years starin' at a mountain range.

Ten years, ten years.
Ten years, ten years.

Fingers On The Buttons

Written By: Colleen McFarland

I ain't askin' for explanations,
and I ain't hopin' you'll call.
I can't blame you for my frustration 'cause this ain't no fun at all.

I got my fingers on the buttons babe, you got my back against the wall, and I'm all tied up in this situation, never thought I'd feel this small.

You were the queen of my inspiration and I was a jewel in your crown. It was easy to see my jubilaton 'til my heart came tumblin' down.

Now, all of a sudden communication is makin' it's way out the door, and this disappearing fascination ain't workin' for me anymore.

I got my fingers on the buttons babe, you got my back against the wall, and I'm all tied up in this situation, never thought I'd feel this small.

I been locked up deep inside like a crazy man, bein' lost from my own heart was never in my plan, and the voices in my head are doin' all they can, sayin' 'you got to lose this one, while you've got the chance.

I got my fingers on the buttons babe, you got my back against the wall, and I'm all tied up in this situation, never thought I'd feel this small.

Pretty Little Bird

Written By: Colleen McFarland/Mare Wakefield

Pretty little bird in the willow way up high, dancing like a pretty little flower in the sky, wonder why you make me cry?

Well, I used to know someone just like you, pretty little thing who would dance around the room, dressed in blue, just like you.
Ooh....

Pretty little bird won't you help me fly away from here?
Need a big, blue sky and a lullaby to dry my tears.
Pretty little bird won't you take me where the sun knows my name,
we can sing along to our pretty little song and fly away.

She was six years old and Lord that girl could sing. Now she flies with you on angel's wings, she got angel's wings and I lost everything, ooh....

Pretty little bird won't you help me fly away from here?
Need a big, blue sky and a lullaby to dry my tears.
Pretty little bird won't you take me where the sun knows my name,
we can sing along to our pretty little song and fly away.

There's a little white cross underneath a willow tree.
She was all I had when the Lord took her from me.

I Do

Written By: Colleen McFarland and Peter Nova

I Do

There’s just a little thing
I need to know,
If you love me will you tell me so?
‘Cause every morning
when the sun is low
I get this feeling that your heart should know

‘Cause I do, yeah, I do, oh oh oh…
I do, hey, I do, do, do, do, do.

Yesterday I was a nervous wreck,
Why won’t you tell me
when you’re comin’ back?
I need to find someone
to hold my hand,
And tell me baby, 'I will understand',

‘Cause I do, yeah, I do, oh oh oh…
I do, hey, I do, do, do, do, do.

Is it just another heartbreak,
Or do you think that
we can make it last?
Tell me was it just a mistake,
a future heading to the past?
Is there really something to it,
Why does the clock stop
when I look ahead?
Now, my heart is really through it,
But will you promise no regrets?

‘Cause I do, yeah, I do, oh oh oh…
I do, hey, I do, do, do, do, do.

Discography

Speaking In Rhymes CD: 1998
Three Miles From Odessa CD: 2001
Beautiful Lie CD: 2006
Let It Shine: 2009

Set List

Down This Road
Pretty Little Bird
London
Let It Shine
Sweet Surprise
Ten Years
Cross The Line
Sordid Affair
I Don't Wanna Be Good
The Perfect Ending

(usually 1-2 sets)
approx. 45-90 minutes total length