Haven James
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Haven James

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"Live and Lingerie"

As chunky rock ’n’ roll philosopher Meat Loaf once mused, "Two out of three ain’t bad." "Sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll" has been scratched into high school bathroom stalls since Elvis first wiggled his pelvis, but never have sex and rock ’n’ roll gone together like the locally produced "Rock Hottie" shows at Chasers Nightclub and Bar in Scottsdale. The idea is simple in a "Why didn’t I think of that?" kind of way: Get a few local bands to play live music while beautiful models dressed in lacy lingerie groove to the tunes. Charge a $7 cover, and you have got yourself a surefire winner. "You’d be hard-pressed to find guys who wouldn’t be into a killer rock ’n’ roll show where gorgeous women come out in six different lingerie outfits during the night," says ‘‘Rock Hottie’’ co-founder Fran Scianna, who pulls double duty at the shows playing bass for his band, The Sciannas. Scianna says the idea came from Jen Powelson, lead singer of Valley rock outfit Haven James, who worked at a Scottsdale salon that put on fashion/lingerie shows at Scottsdale clubs such as Myst and Jetz. "I learned the ins and outs of running the shows there,’’ says Powelson, 29, ‘‘but thought it would be fun to incorporate live music with it instead of DJs." Model Jennifer Newman, 22, of AZ Models, has participated in all four ‘‘Rock Hottie’’ shows to date and says she and her cohorts find modeling at the events a fun diversion from a typical fashion show. "We all enjoy being on stage," Newman says. "The girls are gorgeous and so much fun to be around, and there is never a dull moment backstage. We are always giggling about something." As expected, the guys in the crowd go nuts when the models begin dancing. At ‘‘Rock Hottie 4’’ in February, Chasers was packed with dudes who cheered the models’ every dip and spin — especially when the show got R-rated and a few of the girls started pouring champagne on each other. Some of the women in the crowd seemed amused, while others seemed a bit uncomfortable. "The ladies who attend the shows have mixed reviews, as to be expected," Scianna says. "Jen and I are working on including things that will get the ladies out and more into the shows. Giveaways and raffles geared toward the girls at the shows are a couple things we’re working on." At the last ‘‘Rock Hottie’’ show, three of the four bands on the bill had female singers, including Powelson’s group, who looked to be having a blast while the models danced to their original music. How does Powelson, who buys all the ‘‘Rock Hottie’’ lingerie from www.trashylingerie.com, answer suggestions that the show might be, at the very least, sexist? "Someone is always going to be offended when you do something this in-your-face, and I can certainly understand the argument against it, but this isn’t some trashy strip show," Powelson says. "It’s sexy, and the allure of sex and rock ’n’ roll is a time-honored tradition at this point.’’ Newman doesn’t have a problem with the shows. "I am so lucky to be part of the hottest show in town," she says. "The fans of ‘Rock Hottie’ are one of a kind. Once the bands start to play and the girls hit the stage, the fans don’t want to leave until 2 a.m." Scianna and Powelson, not surprisingly, have yet to hear anything negative from any of the guys in the bands on the bill, either. Scianna says playing in front of lingerie-clad models is fun, if a bit distracting. "It’s a totally new experience for me, and my band loves performing on them. Jen has a bit of a diabolical streak in her, and she will sometimes get the girls to come up to the band during their walks and do things to try and throw us off during our set. It’s all good fun." While most local clubs are scratching their heads trying to figure out how to get more people to come in and see live music, Powelson and Scianna have come up with a surefire method of making sure Chasers, which can hold 350 people, is packed on ‘‘Rock Hottie’’ nights. "I hooked up with Jason (Olsen), the owner of Chasers and an incredible supporter of local music," Powelson says of finding the right venue for the shows. "This is really about a vision of Fran and I’s about building a better music scene in this town and recruiting new listeners and making rock ’n’ roll cool again."
- Get Out Magazine, Chris Hansen Orf

"Subculture café Hosts an Evening of Soulful Blues"

Subculture café Hosts an Evening of Soulful Blues: Live Music from Haven James and Nina Curri

On weekend nights, the Sub-Culture Café in Tempe offers a cover-free, all-ages live music show. On Friday, January 26th, the venue hosted two ultra-talented musicians: Haven James (accompanied by Bob Hermes) and Nina Curri(accompanied by James Robertson). Both women had composed the majority of their songs.

Haven James, aka Jen Powelson, emanated a warm, engaging personality, and her smooth blonde locks sharply contrasted with the deep, soulful music that she performed. Despite her claims to stage fright, James was an engaging performer. Her captivating personality clearly won the hearts of many fans, and it was nearly impossible to snatch her away after her last set to ask a few questions. Talking to this devoted musician was well worth the wait. Her inspiration clearly comes from within,, and it was a delight to listen to her anecdotes about varied subjects including her efforts to bring audiences to musicans through Rock Hottie shows, and the history of her designer scarf – the only designer article she owns. Says devoted fan Chris, “I’ve been following Jen for 5-6 years. I dig her music. I have both her CD’s at home, signed. Jen’s a talented singer.”

NightLife Magazine
February 8th-14th, 2007
- NightLife Magazine


Based on the CD Rusty's Waltz, it's hard to tell where Jen Powelson stops and the band Haven James starts, meaning that while there is some additional instrumentation on the disc — tiny doses of fiddle, mandolin, cello, and some very Mark Knopfler-esque leads — Powelson's loud rhythm guitar and bent-note blues wailing takes center and most of the rest of the stage. And that's a good thing, because in spite of the 49 influences listed on the band's MySpace page, the Arizona-based Powelson is pretty determined to make some very uniquely Jen-specific statements about pain and love. In a song about silence, "Six Conversations," she declares, "I just stare, don't make a sound, foot in the air, the other on the ground." The toughest moment on the album comes in the song "Turn The Light," which takes self-loathing to the cutting edge, literally. Powelson has good chops as a writer and singer, and she's only going to get better, which means she may learn not to step so hard on the swoops and flatted swings, the vocal gymnastics, to which she's drawn. This is a smart start for Haven James.

- Phoenix New Times

"Hot In The City"

Hot in the City V.5: Jimmy Eat World- Meat Puppets- Jjcnv- Haven James- Blanche Davidian- The Morning Kennedy Was Shot- Crushed

Our exploration of Arizona music this time out takes us to see some old friends---the Meat Puppets---and also finds us checking in with veteran group Jimmy Eat World. But never fear; there are plenty of new discoveries here too. Are you ready for JJCNV? Are you still ready when I tell you that the band's initials stand for Janis Joplin Crap'N'Vomit? And a very special honor is bestowed upon New York's Animal Collective as they get to be honorary Zonies!

Rusty's Waltz

You can't blame the fans that walk up to Jen Powelson and say, "Hi, Haven." But Haven James, a moniker that seems more fitting for a stripper or porn star, is in fact the name of Powelson's band. Powelson does deal in fantasy though, and here she leads Haven James through a strong set of self-penned (or co-written) tunes with lyrics that tend to look at the bright side. With a commanding voice that recalls Tracy Chapman, Powelson doesn't just hope for the best on relationship songs like "Alright Tonight" and "The Beautiful"---she avers that things are definitely going to work out. Even when she's dressing down a lying lover ("Pinocchio") she sees a little light, "I've learned my lesson!" Powelson accompanies herself on acoustic guitar throughout this effort and these songs sound good "quiet" but this material is just begging to rock out, something that's hinted at when Powelson is joined by second guitarist Bob Hermes for the ominous-sounding "Might Be Lonely." Preview and Purchase This CD Online


- Kevin Wierzbicki


Things We Thought We Knew released October 2008
Rusty's Waltz released February 2007
Six Conversations released 2005

streaming audio available on www.myspace.com/havenjames



Arizona has historically been known to produce several innovative artists that regularly set the bar for other acts to follow. There is no exception when it comes to Scottsdale-based quartet, Haven James. With powerful, wide-open vocals over an acoustic purity and a dynamic rhythm section, Haven James has been winning over audiences since 2006. The omnipresent vocals possess intelligent harmonies and a meaningful message while maintaining a pure balance of delicate guitar solos and distinct rhythm patterns. Audiences, new and old, will discover that their songs are intimate glimpses of love, vulnerability and what happens after “happily ever after.”

Early 2007 marked the release of Haven James’ first CD, Rusty’s Waltz – a collection of perennial fan favorites such as “Promise to Try” and “Six Conversations” complemented by newer recordings like “Turn the Light.” The album was produced by award-winning record producer Otto D’Agnolo whose work includes projects with artists ranging from Waylon Jennings to DMX. The album title itself is an informal homage to D’Agnolo whose college nickname was Rusty.

Also in 2007, Haven James was only 1 of 20 artists worldwide selected to play the exclusive Sedona Jam Festival in Sedona, Arizona. Later that year, they were one of the featured artists for the 2007 Phoenix Film Festival and were one of a handful of local artists picked to be on Alice Cooper’s annual Christmas compilation, “A Taste Of Christmas Pudding”.

Early 2008 brought a Phoenix Music Award nomination (best female singer/songwriter) and summer of 2008 marked the release of Haven James’ first single, “Steady Lies”, which won a 2008 Phoenix Music Award (Single of the Year). The song is also included on their newest album, Things We Thought We Knew, which was released in the fall of 2008. The album was recorded at SoundVision Recording by Michael Beck and is evidence of Haven James’ continued commitment to intelligent songwriting and dramatic melodies.

With the release of their latest album and an ambitious upcoming schedule performing at several of the region’s most popular music festivals, many believe that Haven James is poised to make an even bigger impact in the Arizona music scene in 2009.

Haven James is:
Jen Powelson – vocals, rhythm guitar
Bob Hermes – lead acoustic guitar
Drew Tedford – percussion
Stephanie Bianchi - bass, vocals

For More Information Go To: www.havenjames.com