Rachel Kate
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Rachel Kate

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2015 | SELF

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2015
Solo Blues Country


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"In the Jukebox: The Shaniqua Brown A review of the local quintet's new full-length album"

The Shaniqua Brown
While the Shaniqua Brown's self-titled new album might be too rough and tough for some, listeners have to admire the inspirational power and eye-popping flamboyance of the Charleston rock band. From the raging riffs and howling harmonies of the album opener "Epic" to the stomping rhythms of closer "Poor House," the disc rocks hard and steady.
The band spent the better part of the year recording and mixing these 10 new songs. They gained an extra bandmate during the sessions, too. Singer Rachel Kate Gillon, guitarist Thomas Concannon, bassist Denis Blyth, and drummer David Bair clicked so nicely with engineer Jamey Rogers that they hired him as the second guitarist. Rogers and musician/engineer Alan Price co-produced the album at their Collective Recording facility in West Ashley.
The new stuff is plenty powerful. Gillon's extroverted style serves as a mad counterpoint to the sizzling prog-rock rumbling beneath it. Much of the music strikes the perfect balance between angular songwriting and quirky funk, blues, and indie-pop tendencies. The syncopated "Marriage+Babies" and the more conventionally boogie-ish "Foolish Heart" show off Bair's sharp technique and crispy snare and kick drum sound, all of which lock in well with Blythe's tasteful bass work. If the burly, distorted guitar riffs drive much of the music, Gillon's cheerful sneers add a unique element.
At times, Gillon can be a charming foil to Concannon's challenging and abrasive guitar style. Her shouty delivery is more soulful and emotive than some might expect. She belts it out, often in double-take harmony with herself. Gillon comes off like a spunky mix of classic P.J. Harvey, Patti Smith, and Siouxsie Sioux. Some vibrato-heavy moments remind the listener of Chrissie Hynde.
The band maintains math-rocker precision throughout the collection, whether they're grinding like stoner-metal veterans on "Grizzly Man" (featuring Gillon's finest hollers) or thrashing like well-rehearsed punks on the fast and furious "Bike Ass."
The Shaniqua Brown barely runs into trouble. It's consistent and fluid. The industrial strength music can be surreal, groovy, and dark. Gillon's lyrics about love, fear, lust, and impending doom can be disturbing, fascinating, and amusing. It's a wild pairing and a marvelous achievement by one of the most offbeat rock bands in the scene. (theshaniquabrown.com) - The Charleston City Paper

""Beats Antique: The Shanquia Brown Saturday at The Tin Roof""

"...The Shaniqua Brown is rock 'n' roll. No need to get fancy here, the music is too special to demean with a series of hyphens and comparisons...Armed with an unforgettable voice that tingles the spine, Gillon proves she is more than just a captivating performer."

- MATTHEW GODBEY Charleston Scene

"The Shaniqua Brown creates rock euphoria : Something big, huge, and soulful"

When Jamey Rogers, the owner of Collective Recording Studio in West Ashley, first heard of the Shaniqua Brown, he had trouble wrapping his head around the name. He half expected a solo gospel act. "But when I saw them, it just made sense," he says.

While the name is based on an old inside joke, it's come to mean much more: a sort of synonym for the full effect of their volcanic sound, or as Rogers puts it, "Something big and huge and soulful."

In fact, their in-your-face rock 'n' roll appealed to him so much that he decided he had to be a part of it. A few months ago, he joined the band. His second guitar adds a punch to the Shaniqua Brown's fierce kick.

Fronted by the romping and roaring Rachel Kate Gillon, with Thomas Concannon on guitar, Denis Blyth on bass, and David Bair on drums, the band came roaring to Collective earlier this year to record a song for a benefit CD. "They came in to do one song," recalls Rogers. "And I was like, 'Let's do another.' I remember thinking, I wanted to be a part of that, so I called Thomas, and he came back with second guitar parts, and I kind of browbeat them into letting me join the band."

Concannon has a slightly different take. "We tried adding a second guitarist for a while, but it never clicked, so we just gave up for a year," he says. "And then when we worked with, him it just made sense."

The chemistry between Rogers and Concannon's fiery guitar style clicked so well that everyone spent much of the summer recording the band's first full-length collection, The Shaniqua Brown, due on Aug. 19.

Recorded at Collective with the help of new manager Alan Price, the album is split between brand new songs and new versions of older songs. "Adding a guitar, we had to retool a lot of the songs," says Rogers. "Thomas and I really worked on it to make that full sound. Now we're about as loud as two Telecasters in standard tuning can be."

On stage, the band oozes power and excitement, but also contagious fun. Hanging out with all five of them, it was easy to see where that sense of play comes from. Their ease with each other is the ease of old friends, poking fun and laughing.

When asked about their earliest influences, three of the band members mentioned semi-regulars like Prince, the Beach Boys, and Pink Floyd. But Concannon and Gillon's were surprises, for entirely different reasons.

Straight-faced, with no pause, Concannon replies, "George Michael." He absorbs the chuckling, adding in the same unblinking tone, "I was on a trip to my grandparents' house in Florida when I was really young, and George Michael came on the radio and I was like, 'This is awesome.' Every time his songs came on I was into it. I'm pretty sure my parents thought I was gay for a few years."

Gillon, the only member not from the Lowcountry, spent her childhood running around the music studios of Nashville, "pretending she worked there." Her mother was the vice president of production for MCA Records. She remembers meeting stars like Vince Gill and Dolly Parton, and she was even cast in Sammy Kershaw's hilarious 1994 music video for "National Workin' Woman's Holiday," where, playing the younger of two girls in Army fatigues, she and 10 other little girls in costumes dance around Kershaw for no discernible reason.

This early exposure to costumed performance may or may not be the inspiration for Gillon's preference for wearing ornate tutus and bloomers on stage. The attire matches her boisterous singing style. Gillon is an avid tutu collector, so much so that Rogers had to tell her there wasn't enough room in their touring van for all of them.

Gillon's father played honky-tonk and bluegrass with several bands in the '70s, even touring with Willie Nelson. Which begs the question: How did she become this tutu-wearing soulful screamer fronting a hard rock band? She had a very simple, and oddly satisfying, answer: "We're a country band at heart," she says. "There's a little Johnny Cash in all of us."

But for the band, the music is much more important than the genre. "I want people to feel about our music the way I feel about the music I listen to," says Bair. "When I put on a Faith No More record, there's a euphoria I get. That's what I want people to have."

On the new album, the Shaniqua Brown hoped to create an atmosphere as communal and electric as their live shows.

"We want our shows to be as interactive as possible," says Gillon of a recent gig. "We played at the Tin Roof, and I was being a diva and having a bad voice day. We were all wearing plaid shirts, and I looked out and pretty much everyone out there was wearing plaid. I said, 'Everyone in a plaid shirt, get up on stage and help me sing this song.' So, you know, there were 30 people on stage. That was awesome."

The band has gotten a fantastic reception across the Southeast, inspiring them to be "lifers" who tour, as Rogers says, "until our backs wear out."

"We've played in cities where people don't really know us, and they're always so good to us," says Blythe. "We pour our hearts into this, and I think people can see that, and they give their heart right back. It's like we're right back at home again."
- The Charleston City Paper

"The Shaniqua Brown erupts at the Pour House"

The Shaniqua Brown's show at the Pour House Friday night (Aug. 19) was nothing short of volcanic. Lead singer Rachel Kate Gillon anchored the energetic event. Each of the three bands on the bill was fronted by a powerful and vibrant woman.

The show heralded the official release of the Shaniqua Brown's debut full-length, The Shaniqua Brown.

Openers the Royal Tin Foil charged through a series of foot stomping songs that got the crowd up front and dancing. Lead singer Lily Slay layered soulful blues over playful harmonica hip shakers.

The stage was then transformed by twin LED beams backlighting the Savannah, Ga.-based trio Cusses. Guitar, drums, vocals — it was a simple recipe that they used to create a huge sound. Black-eyed Angel Bond took the lead and pranced and danced through atomic rock songs. Drummer Brian Lackey kept up a high level intensity that set the bar high for when the Shaniqua Brown took the stage.

The stage was a forge for Gillon, and the mic was her anvil. She pounded through their set with ferocity that electirified the room. It was already hot inside, and the energy level raised the temp even higher. A pit even started spinning around about halfway through the set, but tempers were kept in check.

With new guy Jamey Rogers on guitar, the band's sound has filled out in a big way. Now, with twin Telecasters, there is a growling sustain to the songs.

It was a powerhouse of a rock show and hinted of big things to come from the Shaniqua Brown.
- The Charleston City Paper

"For Better or Worse: Thoughts on Lowcountry's Music Scene"

Thumbs up

The last day of the week always has had a special place in rock 'n' roll, particularly the evening. For Elton John, Saturday night was all right for fighting; the Bay City Rollers turned it into a spelling bee; and Lynyrd Skynyrd, a commentary on the use of deadly force.

Last Saturday, I was at the Tin Roof in West Ashley and wanted only one thing: to rock out. In fact, the older I get, that's what I seem to want all the time: rock 'n' roll that is loud, hard, that doesn't make me think and doesn't try to.


provided by Rachel Kate Gillon

The Shaniqua Brown will rock your socks off.

In my other jobs, I concern myself with politics all week. On Saturday night, I want those heavy issues to be the least of my concerns.

And The Shaniqua Brown did the trick. This excellent local band gets straight to the point, delivering high-energy rock 'n' roll through a fantastic performance set at a furious pace. Loud guitars? Check. Slammin' drums? Check. Good songs? All of them--didn't hear a clunker in the bunch.

If The Shaniqua Brown had any bad songs, I probably wouldn't have noticed anyway because its performance is simply that superb. Of course, the best band in the world isn't any good if it doesn't have a solid front man, and singer Rachel Kate Gillon makes this already good band great, jumping, jiving and wailing to the audience's delight. Guitar player Thomas Concannon keeps his sound raw the entire set while also jumping around like a madman.

Reminding me, at least in spirit, of the local rock band Leslie, The Shaniqua Brown simply doesn't mess around.

Thumbs down

While music venues continue to provide the Lowcountry with good original music, there doesn't seem to be as much of a scene as there used to be.

In the days when Jump, Little Children, The Working Title and Number One Contender would pack the Music Farm, groups such as Red Handed (now Roadrunner recording artists Madam Adam), Leslie and Wormbelly were drawing large crowds, and bands such as 1984, Maytag and Matter were local mainstays, you'd see a lot of the same people -- band members and music fans in general -- out at the same places, creating at least some sense of a musical community.

Perhaps I'm simply out of the loop, but I don't get the sense that this really exists anymore, or at least at the level in once did. Of course, I've also always been of the opinion that if you have a good enough band (such as The Shaniqua Brown), it doesn't really matter if there's a "scene." Still, it never hurts to have an enduring and eager audience to help appreciate quality bands, and their quantity certainly seems to have declined.
- Charleston Scene

"In The Jukebox: The Shaniqua Brown & Slow Runner"

Reviews of two new local releases
by T. Ballard Lesemann

We finally got our fingers on the new album by local indie rock band The Shaniqua Brown. It's not available on a slab of vinyl, as a compact disc, or a retro-cool cassette. It's not a nicely designed, properly linked web page. It's a digital compilation of nine studio cuts compiled in a folder as part of a very limited edition USB drive. This spring, the quartet issued only a small pile of 128mb USB bracelets filled with photos, songs, video, and artwork.

Specializing in a guitar-driven hybrid of post-punk, riffy stoner-rock, and squealy alternative pop, singer Rachel Gillon hollers and sings emotively and sneeringly over guitarist Thomas Concannon's distorted licks and chords through most of the album. The more swingin'/boozy-sounding selections include "Foolish Heart" and "Old Dan" (imagine The Gun Club jamming with X on nicer gear). Punkier, prog-inflicted tunes like the dynamic "Mr. Karate Face" and "The Hills of Tennessee" move with more rhythmic complexity, thanks to the swirling rock stuff of bassist Denis Blyth and drummer David Bair.

Littered with attention-grabbing wails and masculine guitar sounds, this debut is a big, stomping ass-kicker. (theshaniquabrown.com)
- Charleston City Paper


Self-Titled LP "The Shaniqua Brown" 2011 featuring

Bike Ass
Hole In My Sole
Foolish Heart



100% herself onstage and off, Rachel Kate delivers a delicious blend of soothing vocal melodies the grittiest of the grit. With stories of love and hate she plays her voice like the musical instrument that it is. She relentlessly tours from coast to coast, playing close to 300 shows in 2014. Before moving back to her home town of Nashville, TN, Rachel Kate was residing in Charletson, SC where, in 2013, She was awarded Singer-Songwriter of the Year AND Rockabilly/Americana Artist of the Year by the Charleston City Paper.  

She has performed at festivals such as Muddy Roots (TN), the Jam Room Music Festival (SC), Underground Music Showcase (CO), and Farmageddon Records Music Fest (MT). As a musician on  The Unchained Tour-from the author/creator of the Moth Podcast, Georg Dawes Green, along side Peter Aguero, Neil Gaiman, and Edgar Oliver. Rachel kate has a shared the stage and played festivals with Shovels and Rope, Son Volt, Those Darlins, Kaki king, Two Man Gentleman Band, Shooter Jennings, Mechanical River, Water Liars, Andrew Combs, The Urban Pioneers, Christian Lee Hutson, Matt Woods, Carrie Nation and the Speakeasy, The Kernal, The Calamity Cubes and many more. 

Band Members