Heather O'Neill
Gig Seeker Pro

Heather O'Neill

Chicago, IL | Established. Jan 01, 2004 | SELF

Chicago, IL | SELF
Established on Jan, 2004
Solo Rock Singer/Songwriter




"What's New"

Heather O’Neill’s A Feminist Manifesto is not the typical blues album that I review each month. O’Neill is a Chicago-based singer/songwriter/guitarist whose work I was not familiar with prior to receiving this disc. Her approach is blues leaning toward jazz and even pop in some cases. Her vocals are pleasant, sometimes seductive, sometimes whimsical, always interesting. Her songs, in the case of this recording, touch on the subject of misogyny, particularly in the recording industry. However, the lyrics are never heavy-handed and she mixes in a healthy dose of humor.

The six songs on this EP are beautifully rendered, with Jerry Goodman (Mahavishnu Orchestra, Dixie Dregs) contributing some exquisite violin, Dave Uhrich on electric guitar, Terry Connell on trumpet and flugelhorn, Wally Hustin on bass, and Rick Vitek on drums. Connell’s flugelhorn is prominent in the opening cut, the light, but sensuous “Ballerina in a Bullfight.” “Tiffany Town” is more pop/rock-based, and “1,000 Springs” is a standout with some sterling interplay between O’Neill’s vocal and Goodman’s electric violin. “Monique” is a sober tune that leans toward the jazz side of the blues. “Black Paint” is another somber piece, but with more of a country feel. The closer, “What a Way” picks up the pace a bit. It’s a funky piece with O’Neill taking the guitar duties accompanied only by bass and drums.

I won’t lie to you…..I wasn’t sure what to make of this EP upon first listen. It is blues mixed with jazz and some light pop. O’Neill has a marvelous voice and writes good tunes about serious subject matter. The instrumentation is first rate. Call it a thoroughly modern approach to blues. Like every other genre, the blues has to look forward to move forward and that’s what Heather O’Neill is doing with this release.

Broaden your horizons and give A Feminist Manifesto a listen.

--- Graham Clarke - Blues Bytes

"Heather O'Neill - A Feminist Manifesto 2012"

Over the years we’ve seen rock and even singer/songwriter music slowly erode into over-commercialized, corporate puppet shows providing music that is extremely sing songy, predictable, popish and highly corporate. I hereby call this new breed of music “Poser Rock” and I want to personally thank all the corporate giants for successfully transforming “Sex Drugs & Rock n Roll” into “Yoga, Vitamins and Nikelback” Of course millions of musical lemmings don’t know the difference anyway, but trust me when I say that not everyone is entertained. Talking to many music fans out there the response is overwhelming. Give me something new, something fresh, something with world class songwriting, delivered via top flight musicianship and an amazing vocal front. Something that doesn’t leave it's soul at the door eother. Something that doesn’t sound like – well Brittany Spears for example.

So across my desk slides the new EP by Irish born, Seattle based Singer/Songwriter Heather O’Neill entitled “Feminist Manifesto.” What I heard put a smile on my face – finally an artist that get’ it. It’s a nice easy flowing record that delivers solid songwriting with a nice folksy-rock feel. O’Neill reminds me of a modern day Paula Cole, Lisa Loeb, with maybe a hint of Nora Jones and even Sara McLaughlin. You will also hear a side of Power Pop, Americana and Classic R&B. If you like the above bands you should definitely check out this CD. My favorite track is probably the opening track (Ballerina in a Bullfight) CD is available on CD BABY and can be downloaded on I – Tunes.

“Feminist Manifesto” by Heather O’Neill is clearly a solid release with many amazing melodies with a pleasant female singer/songwriter persona to it that’s just a pleasure to listen to. Some of the subject matter dares to be darker than "sing-songy", and touches on many compelling subjects. In the end it's a pleasure to see a true artist. It’s definately a record that gives us a fresh glimpse at an amazing Irish-American artist and takes us back a few years – before everything started sounding like – well Brittany Spears.
- indiemindy

"Heather O’Neill – A Feminist Manifesto"

“A Feminist Manifesto” begins with “Ballerina”, a spicy track that soars on the back of some sizzling horns. O’Neill’s vocals during “Ballerina” benefit from challenging time signatures and a style that touches upon pop, rock, and even country and blues in their execution. What is one of the most exciting sides of “A Feminist Manifesto” has to be the inclusion of stellar musicians to lay down the instrumental backdrop for O’Neill’s lyrics. “Tiffany” benefits through the inclusion of a ropy bass line and punchy drums, both of which keep perfect time with the rapid shifts present. What O’Neill does on “A Feminist Manifesto” is not only political; it looks to break down what listeners expect from music. By adding different constellations of musicians, styles, and breathing / vocal approaches, O’Neill’s work here is nothing less than revolutionary.

“What A Way” closes up the album, and shows O’Neill as a musician that can be enjoyed on a number of distinct levels. Where listeners can hear and follow the narration provided the track by the vocals, it is also interesting to hear how O’Neill’s vocals act as an additional instrument for the track. What results with this joined composition is one of the fullest arrangements heard on “A Feminist Manifesto”, and is one of the disc’s best tracks as a result.

Heather O’Neill’s work during the entirety of “A Feminist Manifesto” is vibrant and always interesting. The compositions may be fairly clear, but they contain enough material to keep listeners focused into the disc through countless listens. If you would like to think while listening to music, pick up “A Feminist Manifesto” today; I believe that it will be seen as a blueprint for other musicians that wish to break free from the tyranny of inertia. From “Ballerina” all the way out until “What A Way”, I believe that this may be one of the best albums of the year so far.

Top Tracks: Ballerina, Bluebird - Neufutur.com

"Heather O' Neill - A Feminist Manifesto"

You might be forgiven for thinking that this six-track EP by Irish-born singer-songwriter Heather O’Neill would not be something that your average Joe chose to listen to. Average Joe would be making a mistake, for while A Feminist Manifesto has, underpinning it, the effect and function of misogyny in today’s society, the EP is far from the manifesto its title would have you believe. More descriptive than didactic, A Feminist Manifesto observes the failings of the world without standing up too quickly to condemn. And it does so in a manner which is not without appeal.

“1000 Springs” is the outstanding track and something which deserves a wider audience. Violinist Jerry Goodman lays down a sound which is so eerily familiar that it seems almost as if you could be listening to the Waterboys. Then on “Monique” the lone, almost plaintiff horn is strongly jazz influenced but never to a point that it takes over or dominates. Pride of place, in terms of instruments, goes to the guitar which is allowed to hold the rest of the arrangement together in such a way as to display either some pretty professional production skills or some top quality instrumentation – I cannot tell which and that in itself says something. The music displays a variety of influences of which soul and jazz predominate. Yet this is not some blue eyed soul, nor even modern jazz. The influences are combined with blues and rock to culminate in a style Ms. O’Neill can describe her own.

Over all of this the sound is the voice of Ms. O’Neill herself. It is a voice which is hard to pin down and which any comparison may not only be misplaced as offensive. If I had to, the nearest approximation in terms of tone and timbre would be Martha (of Muffins fame) but even that would fall a bit wide of the mark. The lyrics are full of clever imagery, though they may be a bit too clever for some, I fear. The whole comes together on a series of six engaging, if not challenging songs, one of which is outstanding. This has the potential to be something quite interesting and is one to watch for the future. - Music Emissions



A Feminist Manifesto 2011


Nine Lives 2006
Back There 2004



Heather O'Neill is a singer, guitarist, and songwriter.  Heather is a rare singer songwriter who addresses topics that provoke and inspire- with dreamy toe tapping music that blends Blues, Folk, Rock, Funk, and Jazz. This musical gumbo lays the foundation for intelligent, poetic lyrics that are delivered by a crisp and seductive voice. Serving up "provocative blues with a comedy chaser"

 O’Neill has been sharing her deep seated emotional concepts and wry musical musings with audiences across the US and the UK for over ten years. Playing in clubs, cabarets, colleges, coffeehouses, and festivals. Her musical diversity has driven a unique slate of bookings, from folk festivals to seedy bars, to top clubs in NYC and Los Angeles including the Rainbow Room, Canters, and The Sidewalk Cafe. Heather has received airplay on podcasts, as well as international, college, and women’s radio stations. She has released two LPs (Back There, Nine Lives) and one EP (A Feminist Manifesto). She has just released a new single “Transmute” and is currently residing in Chicago.