Nicole Reynolds
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Nicole Reynolds

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Band Folk Singer/Songwriter


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"wxpn philadelphia"

"With her innocent voice and clever lyrics, Philly Local favorite artist, Nicole Reynolds never fails to amaze audiences across the region. For the past several years, Reynolds has resided both in Philadelphia and on a small organic farm in western PA. Since the release of her folk-rock inspired album "This Arduous Alchemy," in 2007, she has found great success on the Philadelphia music scene. Check out this amazing artist at her upcoming live shows..."

- helen leight wxpn april '08 - helen leicht


emotion is something reynolds conveys in her lyrics like a seasoned storyteller...
[in 'this arduous alchemy] her almost ghostly delicate vocals and flawless guitars
are enhanced by the added percussion, keyboards and string flourishes, which
are content to hover at the periphery of the songs.
- larry nichols

"philadelphia daily news"

Nicole Reynolds: Whispy Philadelphia songstress has an edgy,
unnerving vocal persona and an equally intriguing,
artsy/craftsy songwriting and arranging style. Take "Wonderin',"
wherein she declares, "My heart is made of instruments that strum
this song for you."

- 1/4/08


"Nicole Reynolds is a singer/songwriter born in Pittsburgh, PA but now stationed
in Philadelphia. Her second album This Arduous Alchemy is available via CD Baby.
She is, as of this posting, an unsigned act. Justice should fix that very soon.
Her songs are quirky yet sexy. Her vocal style is oddly unique. A listen is an
experience more than it's a listen. " - nyc


Puck Live is nestled in Printers Alley in the small, affluent Doylestown Pa. A large red neon sign announces Puck and leads to a set of
stairs leading down to the club's front door. The sold-out crowd inside was what I expected to find in Doylestown, a slightly older,
more main line crowd than I'm used to sharing an audience with, but they held the same passion for the music and performers as the
younger and less well-off crowd I belong to. Puck, regardless of the crowd, is an intimate venue in which a small stage is flanked
with tiny four-person tables and a long bar off to the left. A venue any larger and the slight Nicole Reynolds, whom I had the pleasure
of seeing live this past Saturday, would have been but engulfed.
As Reynolds took stage, almost hidden behind an acoustic guitar that rivaled her in size, the crowd chatted and ate their meals, but the
first notes that slipped past Reynolds' lips commanded the crowd's attention, which she held rapt for the remainder of her set. Reynolds
started off with "Wonderin," a slightly heartbroken love song made gorgeous by Reynolds' unbelievably sweet voice. Her introduction to the
second song drew laughter from the crowd as she explained it was written about her girlfriend who was a smoker. The smoking bothered
Reynolds so she wrote about it in a song; a song can work wonders because she made sure to mention that he girlfriend was now smoke-free
five months later.
The set mixed songs both old, new and those that haven't made it onto either of Reynolds' CDs. In the middle of the set, she played a
song called "June," which is blatantly political and was penned during the beginning of the current Iraq war. In it, she depicts the
aftermath a veteran faces when he's come home from war and precociously sings "Ain't no war ever been won." The remainder of the set
strayed from Reynolds' activist folk roots to her more recent penchant for sad love songs. Subject matter be damned, the words that
come out of Nicole Reynolds' mouth are as beautifully sung as they are written. Make it your business to see Nicole Reynolds live."
- 2/13/08

"wyep top local artist of year"

NICOLE REYNOLDS unordinary mine
Singer-songwriter Nicole Reynolds’ third album is full of clever lyrics that are even more compelling thanks to Reynolds’ vocal delivery. Her fragile yet striking vocals have helped to build her reputation as an artist not to be missed. Reynolds is a tiny individual with a big presentation that’ll knock you right out. Just ask the packed crowd that she wowed at last August’s Third Thursday (WYEP’s local music happy hour) where she sold out of her new CD. CH - wyep 91.3 fm

"philly city paper"

First you see what's wrong with the world, then you see what's wrong in your heart. For singer-songwriter Nicole Reynolds, Act III is about what's gone right.

If it seems like Reynolds just threw a CD release party at the Tin Angel, you're not wrong. In January, she came to plug This Arduous Alchemy, which dealt sadly but bravely with the end of a relationship. She returns Thursday to celebrate her third record, Unordinary Mine, and this time, most of the lyrics seem to come from a place of adoration and uncomplicated love.

She sets the tone with "Wonderin" and "Clothes Line," raving about her gal's kisses and playing house, and raises the bar with the sweet, sly "We Could Have Met."

"No love is uncomplicated," Reynolds says in an e-mail from her native Pittsburgh, "but my new relationship is much less complicated than my other relationship that I had while living in Philly. I'm totally in love and am with an amazing person and I know that comes out in my newer songs."

While enrolled at Goucher College in Baltimore, Reynolds first came here for a summer internship at the late, lamented Point in Bryn Mawr. At the time, she thought being a promoter was the easiest way to make a living in music.

"When I applied for college, I knew I wanted to be involved with music in one form or another, and I didn't play any instruments, so the only other option was arts administration," she says. In a catch-22, her major mandated music classes. "That's when I started playing guitar, and I liked it way more than the industry stuff."

By her junior year, she'd switched her major to jazz guitar performance, but she didn't start writing her own material until after she graduated and settled into a brownstone at Ninth and Pine. That's when she found something worth writing about.

"I experienced my first love and breakup in the city, which was both good and bad for different reasons, like most things are."

Reynolds hadn't really sung in public until a year after she recorded the protest songs that made up her 2006 debut, Wolves Won't Eat Us, but she's certainly cultivated a distinctive style. Looking and sounding much younger than her 25 years, she has a girlish, flirtatious lilt to her voice and a deep respect for her craft. Last month, she played a few sets at the Philadelphia Folk Festival, including one workshop where she got to play a lot of her early, topical songs and another where she shared the stage with Janis Ian, Jean Ritchie and the Refugees.

"I think we were all confused about what exactly 'women's music workshop' meant, so we ended up singing all types of songs," Reynolds says. "I did write a song specifically for that workshop a day beforehand. It ended up being about growing up in a very conservative way and feeling like shit because I was way different and then coming across folk music for the first time and feeling almost immediately relieved. These folk musicians were saying things that I had always felt, but had never heard anyone say."

Until recently, Reynolds was touring whenever possible, spending summers hiking through Utah and Colorado, and splitting the rest of her time shuttling between New Bethlehem, where she works on an organic farm, and Collingswood, N.J., where her girlfriend lived. Ever the rambler, Reynolds stopped in Wyncote just long enough to record Unordinary Mine at Kawari Sound with bassist/guitarist Adam Winokur and drummer Matty Muir, among others.

"Most musicians worked for free or for very little, which was a huge help and honor," Reynolds says. If it were up to her, she'd be able to share their work just as freely.

"I'm really not a great business person and don't feel comfortable with some aspects of selling music," she says. "I almost wish I could trade people a song for a dozen eggs or something."

Still, selling the fruits of her labor on CD Baby beats working for the man. "I was convinced when I applied to some regular jobs," she says, "and they scared the shit out of me." - mj fine

"naila francis"

Nicole Reynolds cuts a quietly striking impression.The 24-year-old Pittsburgh native sings with the gossamer sweetness of a child, though her lyrics tend to a droll cleverness — bits of whimsy interspersed with topical observation, wanton musings and earnest simplicity.

Her most recent disc, “This Arduous Alchemy,” is a collection of fetching come-ons and bittersweet yearning — or, in her own words, a “breakup and recovery album” — draped against a pastoral background of tuneful folk strains and rootsy meanderings infused with a jazz swing.

It's a combination that unexpectedly disarms, as Reynolds, who has only been singing for a little less than two years, is rapidly finding out. The soft-spoken singer, who plays at Puck in Doylestown on Saturday, had no aspirations to a music career until she raked in more than $100 selling copies of her first CD, the 20-song “Wolves Won't Eat Us,” at her very first open mike. When a subsequent gig generated the same response, she decided to keep playing.

That was in 2006. In the time since then, the itinerant singer-songwriter — on this particular day, Collingswood, N.J., is home — has toured with folk-rock powerhouse Melissa Ferrick and prolific singer-songwriter Dan Bern, who referred her to Ferrick after he heard some of her songs on MySpace.

“Melissa Ferrick definitely

has loyal fans and packs whatever venue she's in and I went from

playing smaller coffee houses and venues to performing for hundreds of people, so it was quite a jump,” says Reynolds. “She really helped me out a lot. Usually, artists take supporter opening acts to bring a few new people to the show who wouldn't normally hear them. She knew I wouldn't bring anyone out but she took me anyway.”

For someone who barely sang a note until she started writing songs after college, Reynolds is unexpectedly confident on stage.

“That's one of the main reasons why I never thought I would be a singer-songwriter,” she says, of her girlish, untrained voice. “When I started playing out, I thought I would really have a hard time because I was one of those people who couldn't get up in front of a group of people in college. And I thought that would be another huge problem, but I don't really get nervous.”

At Goucher College in Maryland, she majored in guitar —after starting out in arts administration — and also learned to play the drums and piano, but even then, the idea of making a living at music seemed a little far-fetched. Growing up in a blue-collar family of steelworkers in Pittsburgh, where music had been relegated to the background, Reynolds never gained much of an appreciation for song until she took a trip to New Orleans at 16 and in discovering Preservation Hall, was captivated by the jazz and folk musicians performing there. From there, she delved into the music of Woody Guthrie and labor songwriter Joe Hill, among others, immersing herself in the union songs of the early 1900s.

But when she left Goucher, Reynolds says she had no specific goal in mind and took to teaching guitar while living in Philadelphia to make money. In her spare time, she began writing songs.

“It was kind of like something that just happened,” she says. “When I write, it's usually just this flood of things going through my head that I need to make sense of, either emotionally or topically, that I need to put into words. I just started doing it for myself.”

Before long, she had about 30 songs, 20 of which made her first album, though even those she initially recorded, at the encouragement of a friend, only to preserve them. Then her first major relationship fell apart, and she moved out to a farm in western Pennsylvania, thanks to the World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms exchange program, which offers food and lodging to volunteers willing to learn more about sustainable living by working on farms across the country.

“The breakup was so hard, I couldn't even pick up a guitar,” says Reynolds, who had been in that relationship for about four years. “So I moved to this remote place and just kind of regained my sanity. I started writing songs again then and that's when I realized I might as well make an album.”

She released “Wolves Won't Eat Us” at the end of 2006 and followed it with “This Arduous Alchemy,” those songs culled from her days of grieving and healing on the farm.

While she is candid about the dissolution of her relationship, there are some things, she notes, that are better expressed in song, which is where her knack for detail helps. “In the Morning,” for instance, recalls a lover peeling her an orange half as among the many things she misses, while the quirky “Call the Guard,” written and played on a pump organ, finds her moving through a house of ill-fitting distractions — “watching pigeons fight for food,” “raking leaves and pulling vines” — that fail to numb the realization that her lover has gone.

“Imagery is a huge thing,” says Reynolds. “I think sometimes that can make a song more intense or more fulfilling for a listener or myself.

“Sometimes, when I want to explain a certain situation or emotion, that's the best way I find to do that. It's hard to explain something big like love or sadness or hurt with big broad generalities, so if I can pick out little things to me that say it in my mind, then that's what I end up doing.

“When it comes down to it, writing songs has become a necessity just for my own well-being,” she says. “I feel that I'm best when I'm writing.” - feb 2008


2006 - "Wolves Won't Eat Us"

2007- "This Arduous Alchemy"

2008- "Unordinary Mine"

2009- "A Fine Set of Fools"



Performing songwriter, Nicole Reynolds was born into a family of Pittsburgh steelworkers. She was strongly influenced by old folk and jazz and brings her social conscience to her songs that are also fused with blues traditions. Nicole has earned herself a deserved reputation for smart lyrics and subtly tackling big topics. Her latest album, and her fourth full release, is titled "a fine set of fools"

Nicole has toured throughout the United States, Germany, and Holland.
She has performed shows with Jean Ritchie, Dan Bern, Chris Pureka,
Janis Ian, Tom Paxton, Melissa Ferrick, Bitch, Ellis Paul, Erin McKeown,
Peter Mulvey, Edie Carey, Sarsaparilla, Jake Shimabukuro, Eleni Mandell,
The Waybacks, among many others.