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BandFolk

Biography

Claudia Nygaard's long legs hang over both sides of that same fence between country and folk music that Guy Clark and John Prine have long straddled. Currently labeled "Americana" music, her sound is acoustic, and her songs are crafted in the storytelling tradition that finds its roots and rhythms in both country and folk. She writes melodies that are passionate and emotional, and lyrics that are vivid and descriptive.

As a writer, Nygaard is a woman with a refreshingly articulate point of view, and one who writes about a variety of human emotions, not just romantic love. "J.C.," the song that won Claudia the 2004 Kerrville Music Festival "New Folk" songwriting competition, explores racisim through the eyes of a child. In "Edna" the listener feels a protective tenderness for the mentally challenged woman with "hugs that don't let go". The steamy lyric of "What Her Girlfriends Say" paints a clear picture of the sensual desire a young woman feels for a working class man her girlfriends don't approve of. Both the title cut of her CD "Somewhere Else To Go", and "God Knows", pull the listener into that aching loneliness created by a love gone bad. Her music is also rampant with irreverent humor. In "I Don't Need A Man" (I Just Want One), and "Dumped By A Dweeb", Claudia delightfully pokes fun at the gender gap.

Claudia's voice is a sensual alto, praised for it's "power and resonance" by Nashville music critic Robert K. Oermann of Music Row Magazine, and for its "full-texture" by Gene Harbrecht of the Orange County Register in California. She is also a strong rhythm guitarist with endorsements from Tacoma Guitars, Intellitouch Tuners, and D'Aquisto Strings.

Nygaard's last recording, "Somewhere Else To Go", received critical praise and extensive airplay. Released by European record label Round Tower Music, the first single "I've Already Seen This Movie" climbed to the #4 position on the EMS (European Media Services) chart. It was also chosen the #1 Song Of The Summer by the Country Roads Radio Show in Marseilles, France. The follow up single "I Don't Need A Man, (I just Want One)" went to #11 on the EMS chart, while yet another song from the CD "What Her Girlfriends Say", climbed to the #9 position in Spain. The CD has also gathered wonderful reviews, both in North America and in several European music magazines including Country Music Roundup, Country Music International, and Southern Country. Richard Kirk of Country Music Round-up Magazine, chose Claudia's last CD as one of the top 12 recordings of the year for 2001. The magazine also chose Claudia for the cover and feature interview of the December issue.

As a performer, a midwest booking agent once described Claudia Nygaard as "a female Will Rogers without the rope". He has not been alone to notice her quick wit & relaxed stage presence. On the west coast, Paul Moser found her delightful introductions to her songs to be as captivating as the songs themselves. He wrote in Music Connection Magazine, "completely at ease on stage, Claudia had fun with her audience, telling stories and adding personal glimpses into her life..." On the other side of the Atlantic, Rafel Corbi of the European Country Music Association, wrote in the ECMA news "She's a fine artist with a special feeling to write songs... she was very natural on stage, we laugh, we relax." A favorite performer at over 150 fairs and festivals from Alaska to Florida, Claudia spends as much time on the road as she does in Nashville.

The daughter of a California cattle rancher, it was in the adobe of the San Joaquin Valley that Claudia Nygaard's music took root. Growing up, she sang in school choirs, with the high school dance band, and in local musical comedy productions. Winning the Miss Santa Clara title, led to TV commercials and modeling jobs. It also led to a job for two and a half years as the weather reporter on KNTV Channel 11 News, an ABC affiliate television station in San Jose, California. While at KNTV, Claudia completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theater from San Jose State University. She continued to work as the weather reporter until a major layoff left her unemployed.

It was then she began singing with Chuck McCabe. (Recent winner of the Woody Gutherie Music Festival Songwriting Competition.) They performed at ski resorts in the winter, and on Cape Cod, Massachusetts in the summer. Adding "Tom the harp" on bass and harmonica, the trio toured as "Claudia, Chuck, and the harp".

After three years in that trio, Claudia moved to Los Angeles where she won a talent show at the famous country music emporium "The Palomino". She and her band became well known in Southern California, winning honors two years in a row as one of the hottest bands in town in the Music Connection Magazine "Pick of the Players Poll".

Claudia also won awards for her songwriting from the Los Angeles Songwriter's Showcase, and for both her singing and songwriting from the Music City Song Fes