Samantha Stollenwerck
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Samantha Stollenwerck

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Band Pop Singer/Songwriter

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Review of Austin City Limits Music Festival- No Depression Issue #48 (Nov. 04)...Though Saturday is a complete sellout at 75,000 (over 200,000 altogether attended the festival), its content is shallow when held against the other
two days. It pays to arrive early on Sunday, though Samantha Stollenwerck's "Cali-soul" is as delicious as a late-morning Bloody Mary, even if the buzz goes unnoticed by all but a couple of dozen gathered for her 40 minutes. Stollenwerck's phenomenal, near gospel reading of Van Morrison's "And It Stoned Me" alone justifies my trip from Denver." Brian T. Atkinson - No Depression


Stollenwerck Gets Around: She's Being Compared to Janis Joplin, Joni Mitchell- Mill Valley Herald (12.21.04)Singer, songwriter, guitarist Samantha Stollenwerck carries her audiences away on smoky trails of her raspy voice.
Her shows are festivals of sorts: good spirited fun. Fresh from the Boom Boom Room in San Francisco, Stollenwerck gives Mill Valley an opportunity to hear what many are calling the next great voice of California. Stollenwerck and her band The Ritual perform at the Sweetwater for the first time in a year on December 29. most of the songs on the set list that night will be originals from their first album, "Square One," due out in February. Stollenwerck's style is a fusion of folk, rock, soul and gospel, She had been compared to Janis Joplin and Joan Baez and her influences stretch from Simon and Garfunkel to Led Zeppelin to Nina Simone.
Within the last few months she has played at a December 11th Rex Foundation benefit with Bob Weir, opened for Karl Denson's Tiny Universe at the Fillmore Auditorium and performed at the Austin City Limits Music Festival along with big names like Sheryl Crow, Ben Harper, Elvis Costello and Modest Mouse. In the Pocket Records will officially release "Square One" in February, with a CD release part on February 4 at the Elbo Room in San Francisco. A slew of special musical guests will also perform. Click here to read the interview. - Mill Valley Herald


San Francisco Magazine: Style File: Runway to Reality: "Add a Little Rock n' Roll to a Classic Gold Dress" (11.04)
Inspired by the likes of Paul Simon, Van Morrison and Aretha Franklin, California native Samantha Stollenwerck uses the term "Cali Soul" to describe her pop-rock music. She's the free-spirited lead singer in the band the Ritual, which recently completed it's full length record, Square One, and it's as sweet as tupelo honey. See the page. - San Francisco Magazine


In The Spotlight: Our New Favorite Band- Jambase (Oct. 04) With a versatile style and sound she calls “Cali-Soul,” Samantha Stollenwerck's new album, Square One beautifully fuses Americana, pop and soul. And by writing songs which articulate entirely personal emotions in a such a simple, poetic way, she and her band, The Ritual, have infiltrated our headphones. - Jambase.com


Soundgirl Artist: Samantha and The Ritual- SoundGirl (9.5.04)
At first listen, Samantha Stollenwerk comes across like a modern day soul mama, equal parts Janis Joplin and Joan Baez. Her music is simultaneously breezy and gritty, ranging from simple acoustic singer-songwriter fare to full-blown roots rock. Citing everyone from Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, and Robert Plant as influences, Samantha makes music that is much more than a simple redux of classic American blues. It is, as she describes it, her own breed of Cali-soul, a warm mix of honest, folky pop music. Backed by her band The Ritual, Samantha writes songs that wear their influences on their sleeves poppy, sunny affairs that are at once earthy and jammy, while always remaining effortlessly catchy.   Upon meeting Samantha in person, I’m pleased to find that she is as immediately as easygoing and likable as her music. Read the Interview ... -T. Cole Rachel - Soundgirl


Samantha and the Ritual with Jim Bianco- SF Examiner (12.8.04)
Local minstrel-on-the-rise Samantha Stollenwerck describes her earthy roots-pop as "Cali soul." And while her sound is clearly influenced by the Golden State's musical landscape, which is as diverse as its geographic makeup, the laid-back and, some might say, summer breezy vibe of her debut album "Square One" (In the Pocket) will endear her even to listeners outside this crunchy, granola-ey bubble of ours. -Bill Picture - Sf Examiner


Austin, Texas -- Samantha Stollenwerck might not have been offered an evening slot at the South by Southwest music conference, but she'll do her damnedest to make sure her afternoon showcase at the tiny Momo's bar, at the wrong end of Sixth Street, is the best show of her young life.

It took all of Stollenwerck's money and frequent-flier miles to shuttle her and her band, the Ritual, to this most famous of pop music showcase festivals recently, where agents, record-company execs and producers hopscotch from venue to venue looking for the Next Big Thing. But it was worth any amount of time and money to the aspiring San Francisco singer-songwriter.

"We had to come! How could we not?" she says, tossing a head full of unruly blond curls as she cruises the streets near the Austin Convention Center the night before D-Day, looking for barbecue for dinner. "You know what they say," she says with a sunny smile. "Luck is the intersection of hard work and opportunity."

And if opportunity doesn't knock on her door, Stollenwerck, 26, will go gunning for it.

At a gig at the Hotel Utah in San Francisco the week before, she mingled with her rapidly growing network of supporters, including Counting Crows guitarist Dan Vickrey, who said he once invited the tomboyish singer to play poker with his friends, "but she took all our money." Stollenwerck raised a shot of tequila and toasted her first foray into the Texas melee. "To Austin! To music!" She downed her shot, slamming one open hand down on the bar and letting loose an infectious alto guffaw that hinted of her biggest gift, her voice.

Underplayed on her shoestring-budget debut CD, "Square One," Stollenwerck's voice hints of the earthy charms of a young Melissa Etheridge or Bonnie Raitt. To hear her live is to understand the buzz. Sincere and organically soulful, she is as different from packaged young talents like Britney Spears as they come. And despite having enlisted the talents of heavyweight entertainment lawyer Jacqueline Sabec, the Cal graduate is still a babe in the music woods in many respects.

"Today I went to see Jason Mraz in this outdoor venue," she says in Austin, walking backward while she speaks and gesturing enthusiastically with her hands. "And he was so amazing that it made me cry. I mean, there was this huge crowd, and he was so good ..." her voice trails off; perhaps she is imagining herself in such a setting.

Finally settling on a restaurant, Stollenwerck and her friends are joined by another group that includes Jerry Hall, (a.k.a. the former Mrs. Jagger) and her friend Rachel Fuller, the live-in girlfriend of Pete Townsend and a singer in her own right who is also in Austin to do a gig. Both Hall and Fuller are solicitous of the young chanteuse, and promise to come to her show the next day. During the dinner, Robert Plant, a friend of Fuller's, comes over to say hello.

"OK, I'm freaking out a little here," says Stollenwerck under her breath to manager Jennifer Brazill. "I mean, this is too much."

When Plant leaves, she smiles at him and softly says goodbye -- but he doesn't notice. He might be the only one within 20 miles to be unresponsive to Stollenwerck's charms. Although she is resolutely granola-crunchy in her appearance -- eschewing makeup for the most part and looking as if she shops Haight Street secondhand stores -- she is also naturally stunning. As she moves through South by Southwest crowds, heads turn. It is not a coincidence that her showcase -- which also features four other fetching female singers -- has acquired the subtitle "Indie music never looked so fine."

She squirms a bit when this is mentioned. "I know, that's a little weird, huh? I'm not sure why it doesn't just say we're musicians."

Stollenwerck leaves dinner on the early side, nervous about her gig the next day. Before she goes she turns to Hall for an embrace. "You seem like such a great spirit," she says warmly. "I hope you come tomorrow."

To Stollenwerck's delight, Hall brings not only Fuller but her sister Rosie as well. The crowd at Momo's is divided between an indoor stage area and an outdoor patio. And on a gorgeous March afternoon in Texas, far more are outdoors than in. But Stollenwerck is undaunted by the smallish audience in front of her, and plows into her 40-minute set with fire and abandon. She proves herself not just a great singer but also an able guitarist, and by the end of her set, the audience is in her pocket.

After she is rushed by friends and well-wishers, a couple of men cautiously approach. They are with Rounder Records, they tell her. That was an awesome show. Does she have representation? A CD for them? Stollenwerck plays it cool, but dashes quickly to get copies of "Square One," which she thrusts into waiting hands. "Here you go," she says breezily. "It's not that good, but you get the idea."

Asked later why she would say such a thing, she winces. "Did I really say that? Oh God, I don't know. I have to be honest. I guess I was just trying to say that my voice sounds higher on the record -- I don't feel that I was able to pull up the soul from deep down. I wanted them to know I was capable of doing better."

Before leaving, Hall puts her arm around Stollenwerck's shoulder. "You have a wonderful voice, darlin,' " she says in a soft drawl. "I think you have a very bright future."

Stollenwerck, for a moment, is speechless.

"Was it worth it?" Stollenwerck ponders later, lugging her gear out of the club. She stops and looks around. "Hell, yeah. It was worth it."

She smiles slowly, knowing her journey is just beginning. "Anyway, we'll see what happens from here." - San Francisco Chronicle


Discography

-"Square1" released May 3, 2005
"No Time Left on Earth"- Rondo Brothers
- EP to-be-released Spring 2004
-"Icicles" released on Bonnaroo Sampler June 2004
-"Frank Sinatra" single release on Superfly Jazzfest sampler April 2004
-"Come in out of the Rain" single released March 2003 with special guest Bernie Worrell (Parliament Funkadelic song).

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

San Francisco emerging artist Samantha Stollenwerck is introducing herself and her sound in 2005 with her debut album Square One. A California native, Samantha has coined the phrase “Cali Soul,” defining her sound as a unique blend of soulful pop rock. Some would say her music is “sweet as tulepo honey.” Samantha is the package deal, voice, beauty, style and charisma.

Samantha picked up the guitar on the beaches of San Diego in high school, influenced by the surf punk scene that dominated the North County. Samantha now plays and tours with a 5 piece backing band in addition to taking the road as a solo artist. She delivers sexy, delightfully raw, mellifluous pop and soul.

Samantha honed her roots from musical influences like Paul Simon, Van Morrison, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Robert Plant and Led Zeppelin, Warren Haynes, Chris Robinson, Peter Tosh, John Coltrane, Alice Coltrane, James Taylor, “These are voices that always affect me, no matter what time of day, I’m inspired.”

Samantha is garnering recognition for her newest album and is being called the “next voice of California”. Her ability to improvise on stage allows her to transcend boundaries of her pop-sounding songs and enter the realm of jam. “I can’t resist a good jam. I never studied music which explains my rough around the edges-ness and raw delivery but I like it that way - it keeps me honest.”

Samantha’s music has been featured on several music samplers, including the 2004 Superfly New Orleans Jazzfest Sampler, the 2004 Bonnaroo Music Festival Sampler as well as the JC Penny back to school sampler CD. Her album is currently featured in Tower Records as well as nationally in Independent Record Stores

Recently signed to Red Light Management, home to Dave Matthews Band, Trey Anastasio, John Butler Trio, Los Lobos, and many more..
Festivals: High Sierra Music Festival, South by Southwest, Austin City Limits Music Festival, New Orleans Jazzfestival, Dave Matthews Caribbean Cruise