Pauline York Band
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Pauline York Band

Band Blues Singer/Songwriter


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"Blackberry Wine - Hot Debut"

From out of nowhere - actually the middle of Illinois - comes this refreshing young midwestern singer/guitarist and her band. It's a low-key but remarkably accomplished debut that touches on a variety of stylistic bases, remaining grounded in blues-rock and New Orleans grooves. York has a breezy way of turning a phrase, and a cool, emotional delivery somewhere between Lou Ann Barton and Sheryl Crow's. She's also far less ostentatious than the young blues women intent on abusing Janis Joplin's boozy histronics. Even when her songs tread well-worn musicial territory on the shuffle "Blue Eyed Baby, " York pumps enough snappy personality into the presentation to make it buzz with energy. York leaves little doubt that she's got the chops to make it outside of Illinois.
Split equally between fairly obsure covers and impressive originals, Blackberry Wine finds York shifting between boogie rockers such as her own "Too Busy," the Bo Diddley backbeat of the title tracks, and crowd-pleasing slow blues such as Tab Benoit's "Still going down the road." Though her own guitar style is more reserved than that of her biggest influence, Stevie Ray Vaughan, she pays tribute with an unaccompanied solo version of his "Long Way from Home," radically rearranging it as a poignant ballad. York rips into Magic Sam's "Easy Baby" with sexy swagger; her gospel-fueled "Maybe I Will," one of the disc's best songs, shows she can write like she's in the big leagues. Pauline York is a major talent stuck in a minor market and waiting for her big break. Catch her on the way up.

Hal Horowitz - Blues Revue 12/2002

"Sweet Home"

Pauline York possesses a powerful and expressive voice and her guitar playing is pleasingly down and dirty. Her backing band is tough, tight, and in-the-pocket, helping York set a stong groove on the varied program of blues, New Orleans R&B, Memphis Soul, and the well written ballads that comprise MUDDY WATER, her new CD that also features guest Nick Moss on guitar and harp. The disc combines covers from the likes of the late Son Seals, Otis Rush, Otis Redding, and Sleepy John Estes (her take on his "Leavin' Trunk" is especially impressive) with originals that draw from many styles (the Buddy Holly-inspired "Someone like You" rocks with authority). Keep an ear out for this up-and-coming roots musician; she has definitely got some noteworthy chops.

Kevin Toelle - Illinois Entertainer

"An action-packed tour-de-force of blues and rock"

Shuffy rhythms and some potentially dangerous piano and guitar work flank this rock-solid vocal performance. York both scorches and smolders on the 10 song record, creating the kind of blues that just swelters in your soul. She's the kind of blueswoman that isn't content in standing with just a mic, preferring, rather, to pick up a guitar and lay down some searing leads. The record provides a few songs that stray from the standard blues formula, but maintain the same kind of drawn out soul that makes blues records so appealing. She writes a great song too. - CD Baby Magazine

"Review of Muddy Water"

Parading her powerful spitfire voice over a menagerie of electric grit and blazing harmonica, Pauline York sings the blues with the best artists of today and yesterday on her 2004 album, Muddy Water. Combined with fistfuls of influence from the deepest corners of jazz and rock, York's brand of music is difficult to describe, but purely a pleasure to hear. Candy for the ears, the music forces a variety of smiles, smirks, and snarls and gives its audience a fix the radio's sugar pop could never dream of.
Just as it is difficult to fully express one idea when there are so many, it is difficult to give York and the gang the praise they so deserve when there is so much to give in so many different ways. From the raw and greedy grit of "Leaving Trunk" to the rambling guitar of "Someone like You" to the smooth yearning breeze of "Someone Else," the songs of Muddy Water all have their own specific personality, working together like a family.
Taking simple language, familiar situations, and anecdotes with just enough essence of a diary entry, York weaves a ruggedly beautiful tattered quilt that will undoubtedly stand the test of time. - Roots Highway

"Reviews - Muddy Water"

This midwestern guitar-slinging bandleader proves that her head-turning debut was no fluke. Muddy Water consolidates Pauline York's strengths - a stong and expressive voice, restrained lead guitar, and a swampy New Orleans attack - around excellent material. Though she admits to a stong affiliation for Stevie Ray Vaughan, York doesn't get sidetracked by blustery electric leads or attempt to imitate Double Trouble's blues-rock approach. Instead, she treads her own ground, grinding a gutsy groove on Otis Redding's "Security" and laying her tough yet tender voice over her own "Thirteen Minutes."
Though her vocals have sex appeal, York refreshingly downplays that side of her persona, instead churning out blues with sass and class. She's not afraid to revert to some acoustic guitar for soulful ballads such as "Someone Else," and a sultry, stripped-down cover of "Cherry Pie," where the cracks in her voice add layers of emotion to the song's suggestive lyrics. Heading to second-line territory on "Home to Lafayette" and the joyous "Sing it" brings out York's inner Marcia Ball. She gets mean and low-down on the title track, where the molasses tempo engulfs you in syrupy, sensuous slow-boil blues against evocative lyrics. Young guy Nick Moss adds subtle harmonica to the tune, but York's tough, slinky guitar steals the show here and on a raging, funky cover of Son Seals' "Your love is like a cancer."
The no-nonsense production provides a flavorful feel, keeping the sound natural and overdubs to a minimum. With a talent as seemingly innate as York's, turning on the recorder is all that's needed. Tight yet casual, she walks the wire between blistering blues belter and edgy singer/songwriter with remarkable aplomb. - Blues Revue 1/2005

"Pauline York Band"

"As a vocalist, York sings in a clear, bright alto refreshingly free of vibrato. The lead guitar player in her band, York has a clean, crisp, sound on lead and a fine touch that, as with her voice, makes emotional statements without imposing on the listener." - South Bend Tribune

"Pauline York Band"

"The young lady sings (and plays!) the blues with gumption." - Guitar One Magazine

"Pauline York Band"

"Call her an old blues soul trapped in a young white girl's body." - The Daily Times, Maryville TN

"Pauline York Band"

"...a diamond in the rough, who shows great promise with an unusual and distinctive vocal sound and authentic blues guitar licks that never veer into hard rock territory." - Blue Suede News

"Pauline York Band"

"Pauline York stands higher than most of her colleagues, male or female. She should rank, without any doubt, among the discoveries of the year in Europe." - Blues News, Germany


Blackberry Wine (2001), Muddy Water (2004). Both albums have received national and international airplay on both specialty Blues programs and regular format. Get Down and Ride (2007) topped the Roots Music Report at #5 and the Living Blues Charts at #19.



The essence of Roots music lies in its simplicity. Without flash and fanfare, the music moves the listener in its straightforward and honest delivery. Since jumping into the Chicago music scene in 1997, Pauline York has kept this rule in mind as she has put her personal spin on American Roots and Blues music. York, lead guitar and vocals and her band deliver pure, honest, from-the-heart music. No fluff, guitar tricks, or frills here, just the real thing. At age 14, Pauline was exposed to the driving “Texas Sound,” which inspired her to explore the roots of that music. Rather than becoming another “Power Blues” copycat, she dug deeper into the music of Blues pioneers like Freddie King and Jimmy Reed. Coupled with her love of Stax soul and fondness for modern Rock and Pop music, the result is a fresh new sound…a style all her own.

Blackberry Wine (2001), Pauline’s critically acclaimed debut CD is a blend of her many influences, including Folk-Rock, Blues, and Cajun music. Her 2004 follow-up, Muddy Water, takes her unique style one step further after building chops and confidence on the road between records. Her new release, Get Down and Ride! (2007), showcases her determination to push her music into a new direction. Pauline and her band have performed at many clubs and festivals throughout the country, including Buddy Guy’s Legends, the Arkansas Blues and Heritage Festival, and the Kalamazoo Blues Festival. Aside from York’s own club dates and headline gigs, the band has warmed up the stage for a variety of Blues artists. From the Chicago styling of Lonnie Brooks, to the traditional Mississippi Delta Blues of Paul Wine Jones, to the swampy Louisiana sounds of Tab Benoit, Pauline’s gigs are as diverse as they are impressive.

York, along with bassist Jim Billmeier and drummer Jeff Ruffin, have been together as musicians and friends since meeting on the neighborhood open mike circuit over 5 years ago. Balancing full-time “day” jobs, mortgages, and families, the trio has managed to create and perform music, somehow transforming from “bar band” to “working musicians.” The same trio that plays the yard parties and roadhouses performs at the large festivals and prestigious clubs. Pauline’s “less is more” philosophy applies to the business end as well – she has been known to negotiate shows for “good barbeque” and books every show and tour herself.

As an innovator of contemporary Roots music, Pauline blends the traditional and the modern aspects of Blues with a love of all types of music, daring the listener to pigeonhole her. From club dates, to festivals, to stages both large and small, York, her trio, and her “no fuss no muss” philosophy are finally getting the recognition they deserve. Catch her on the way up.