rachel vanslyke
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rachel vanslyke

Band Folk


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rachel vanslyke @ Bad Ass Coffee



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The best kept secret in music


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Still working on that hot first release.


Feeling a bit camera shy


Album Name TBD

After receiving industry acclaim in the form of Clear Channel’s “New” program and earning top honors in the 2006 “Song of the Year” competition, Garage Band sensation Rachel VanSlyke is the latest artist to leverage internet popularity into a worldwide recording and publishing contract. VanSlyke’s unique combination of accessible, highly listenable tunes with no holds barred lyrics and a refusal to be bound by conventional genres have garnered her a following who are at once enamored and empowered by her bold songwriting and gutsy performances.

Succeeding on her own terms, her songs emotionally resonate with fans across the spectrum based upon their edgy intensity and genuine intimacy. Refusing to let her brains, heart or voice be eclipsed by her natural beauty, her head knows she’s got to be cautious in this industry, but “the heart wants what it wants,” and Rachel’s seems content only when it’s revealing itself.

“Or when I’m hiking or biking, or on a retreat…I guess you could say I’m a real nature girl,” jokes the shy-without-her-guitar Rachel. “When you’re born in a small country town, when you’re drawn to the spiritual and the natural, when your grandmother was a carpenter who also sang at Carnegie Hall...I’m what you end up with.”

Raised in Upstate New York on little more than a love of family and music, she first took to the guitar at age 14. The past decade she’s spent honing her talents, beating the odds, and claiming a newfound comfort in crowds. She also plays piano and a little tenor sax, thanks to her family’s penchant for all-night jam sessions, but the energetic artist feels compelled to pick up and play pretty much anything that makes a sound. Of course, the construction worker turned waitress turned Venice Boardwalk acoustic vagabond has a habit of defying expectations. And “TBD,” her first release by TSR Records, is no exception.

Combining elements of rock, pop and classic country, everyone from teens to the adult alternative crowd are getting off on the unapologetic sensuality of Rachel VanSlyke’s storytelling and her raw, expressive and explosive talents. From the in-your-face, balls-out modern rock of “Never Me” to the infectious honky-tonk of “Carry” to the lullaby rhythm of “Into Me,” VanSlyke strips her songs to their cores. Hearing her belt out the staccato lines of “Moving On,” the unvarnished nature of her lyrics make it so even the imperfections in her untrained voice ring as authentic.

Still reluctant to set up house in anybody else’s camp, the modest twenty-four year-old does acknowledge and appreciate comparisons made to Sheryl Crow, Suzanne Vega, and Nirvana. Rock? Sure, just so long as your definition includes ample room for the truthy twangs of Johnny Cash. Pop? Yes, but when’s the last time hooks like this have been matched with R&B grit – better put a little more rum in that Coke. Folk? Of course, the influence is there, but are you sure Folk is supposed to stomp? This ain’t your Momma’s Mamas. And there’s nothing the playful soul likes better than surprising fans by following up one song – just when they think they’ve got her pegged – with something completely different.

Whether playing to packed clubs or back at Venice Beach, even one-on-one for a stranger, giving herself over to the music and her audience, and baring it all are what, according to Rachel, she’s here to do. Judiciously produced by Get Set Go’s Mike TV, “TBD” represents Rachel VanSlyke’s unapologetic introduction to the world, and, judging by audience reaction and her meteoric Garage Band ascent, that’s exactly what today’s jaded, overly-marketed-to music fans respect.
By: Scott Silverman