Wendy Colonna

Wendy Colonna

 Austin, Texas, USA
BandPopAmericana

“On Nectar, the sweet honey of Colonna’s voice fills our cups with the enduring energy of her pure songwriting. She has blossomed as a songwriter, but it’s the unadulterated beauty of each song that moves us from one flower to the other on the album.” - No Depression

Band Press

"Drinking Nectar with Wendy Colonna (Album Review)" - By Henry Carrigan – No Depression Magazine - April 16, 2014

"On Nectar, Colonna eloquently delivers a set of songs that probes the wisdom of the ages as much as it lays open her own struggles with the misgivings, the imperfections, the shortcomings, as well as the capacity to love and heal that mark the human heart." - Henry Carrigan

"Drinking Nectar with Wendy Colonna (Album Review)"
- By Henry Carrigan

In ancient Greek and Roman stories, nectar—that sweet, golden, unadulterated liquid—provides sustenance to gods and goddesses. Nectar’s purity offers energy to those who imbibe its sweet liquor, but nectar’s sweet essence offers an elixir that heals and, for the inhabitants of the heavenly realms at least, drinking nectar also confers immorality upon them. It’s no wonder that the semi-human Tantalus decided he wanted a drop of that sweet honey; he’s punished for that deed, but his actions illustrate so well the emotions and the human character that make up the heart and soul of Louisiana singer-songwriter Wendy Colonna’s new album, Nectar. We’re all driven by the need for connection to something pure beyond ourselves; at the same time, our hearts are riven by the desire to reach lustily for sweet goodness and the desperate longing to be healed of the brokenness that comes from these cravings. On Nectar, Colonna eloquently delivers a set of songs that probes the wisdom of the ages as much as it lays open her own struggles with the misgivings, the imperfections, the shortcomings, as well as the capacity to love and heal that mark the human heart.

Nectar opens with a Marty Stuart/Kenny Vaughan-like lead break; those first few notes of “Dirty Things” tell us right away that we’re slinking off to swampy, funky rhythms that will move our flesh and encourage us to leave our spirits behind. Colonna channels Maria Muldaur’s seductive, sexy pipes and Jesse Winchester’s “Rhumba Man” as she joyously complains that “I can’t seem to shake those dirty things/why can’t I be a champagne girl with wings/alcohol and cigarettes/bare feet and tar stains on my dress/I can’t seem to shake those dirty things.” With a gleeful nod and a wink, she captures the rapturous pull of the body and the not-so-sly resistance to what passes in culture for disguising that rapture (“starch your Sunday dress and keep your reputation clean”). “Dirty Things” is a celebratory Garden of Eden story in reverse, as the singer declares at the end of the song: “I would rather trade a month of Sundays/for a sweet taste of fresh cut sugarcane.”

Colonna demonstrates her strength as a songwriter on Nectar by showcasing a different musical style on each of the album’s 11 songs. Reggae reigns on “Sleeping,” an anthemic call-and-response tune that recalls the Sutherland Brothers’ “Sailin’” and that features a heavenly chorus of background vocals by Ginger Leigh, Jess Klein, Noëlle Hampton, Barbara Nesbitt, Charlie Faye, and Finley Sexton. “Dance with the Moon” is a Blossom Dearie-like shuffling ditty featuring Guy Forsyth’s haunting saw that probes the “great divide” between dreams and reality, and the desire that motivates each. Drenched in Kim Deschamps’ soaring pedal steel and Forsyth’s harmonica weaving around it, “Texas Summer Love” at once celebrates the freedom and the beauty of a Lone Star state summer day in the face of the bitterness that often accompanies such a day. In the tune that resembles Jerry Jeff Walker’s “Railroad Lady,” Colonna knowingly admits that “sometimes you just grow bitter reaching high for something sweet.” “Texas Summer Love” ingeniously weaves lyrics about living in the state, and a state of mind, through music that so marks Texas musicians through and through.

The highlight of Nectar is “Bring Me Water,” which begins with Colonna’s singular, lonesome and pleading voice accompanied by a simple guitar riff. As the singer moves from the simple plea to be buried in her madness when she dies, the song soon begins to swell with the power of Dave Madden’s Wurly and electric piano. “Bring Me Water” perfectly follows “Dirty Things,” for if the opening song embraces the joys of the body, “Bring Me Water” pleads not only for some measure of understanding and forgiveness but also petitions for permission to seek what it means to be fully human. Being fully human means being able to accept our own and others’ shortcomings with grace; it also means being able to acknowledge our own need to be cleansed (“let the rain fall down upon my face”) and to let go of our own tendencies to allow division rather than healing to flourish. “Bring Me Water” captures the essence of much of the entire album.



On Nectar, the sweet honey of Colonna’s voice fills our cups with the enduring energy of her pure songwriting. She has blossomed as a songwriter, but it’s the unadulterated beauty of each song that moves us from one flower to the other on the album.

I met up with Wendy Colonna in Chelsea a couple of weeks ago, just ahead of two shows at Hill Country BBQ in Brooklyn and Manhattan, and we chatted about Nectar and her songwriting.

HC: What's the story of this album? How did it happen?

Colonna: We did a small regional launch in the fall of 2013 as a kind of springboard into a national launch after the holidays. You know my last record was a big production, and I wasn't exactly pleased with the way I came out. I mean, I liked it, but I wasn't sure I wanted to go that route again. So, I've spent some time building a trustworthy team before taking the plunge. Plus, not long after that album I got really, really sick with this fungal lung infection. Man, there were days when I just couldn't move; out of that brokenness came healing, though, and it took a couple of years to re-group. During the process of healing, I recognized and affirmed that I have gifts to give to the world and a call to be of service to the world.

HC: And the album started to develop?

Colonna: Yes; songs started coming for the record. I was doing some really cool writing projects. I wanted to write and record an album that expressed the permission to be human. After my experience, I wanted to have the raw poetic permission to write songs about being broken, being at the edges of life, and being healed. I started writing songs with my dear friend Mark Addison, and joked about making this "dark record" together. (Laughs) All things connected to the record came out of this space, and every single relationship has been wholeheartedly good. It's been a healing experience.

HC: How did you record the album?

Colonna: We tracked about eight songs in three days. A couple of the musicians knew each other, but most didn't. My desire was to have freshness in these songs, and play them as they came. Everybody played so beautifully, and the chemistry was so high. Mark wrote "Girl Without a Name," and I wrote "Dance with the Moon" in the same week. I wrote about 85% of a song, and then we would play the last 15% together, making some changes here and there, maybe to a bridge or to a line or chorus. Mark and I have a deep level of trust, and we're both in such deep service to the song.

HC: How did you come up with the title, "Nectar"?

Colonna: I don't want to go too deep into that, but you know nectar is this pure, sweet thing you can access, and I think I was trying in some ways to use that image to describe my own experience of being broken to find that purity and fire inside.

HC: How did you select the songs for the album?

Colonna: Simply hanging out with Mark and going through songs; it was more a conversation than a cutting. I was listening to Joni Mitchell's Court and Spark every day while I was working on Nectar; Mitchell's album is such a peaceful record, and I wanted to give my record as much time as it took to make Court and Spark and to listen to it; does that make sense? I wanted to put together my record with the same care, artistry, and attention that Mitchell did with hers because I wanted listeners to spend time listening to my record over and over, too, hearing new things all the time.

HC: When did you start playing and singing?

Colonna: I've been singing my whole life. (Smiles) I sang in church when I was growing up. When I was a teenager, I started playing songs with friends of mine; we sang songs by Melanie, Simon and Garfunkel, and the Beatles. The first song I ever played was "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?"

HC: Who are some of your biggest musical and songwriting influences?

Colonna: Okay, let me think about this for a minute. Chris Miller, my choir director, was a visionary, and he taught me how to sing and how to be in a rock and roll band. Greg Graffin of Bad Religion has been really influential to me as a songwriter; he writes powerful songs, but he also teaches evolution and geology and so combines a deep social message with his music. Of course, Joni Mitchell; she's a painter as well as a musician and doesn't allow herself to be defined simply by one genre of art. The artists I admire most and who have influenced me the most are the ones who are unafraid to defy stereotypes; they're irreverent and rock the boat. I go to Jackson Browne's first three albums, especially Late for the Sky. I think "Fountain of Sorrow" and "For a Dancer" are the best songs ever written. Ever! I love how personal and at the same time how courageous and universal his writing is. The writers who continue to influence me are those who are in service to the music. Marvin Gaye and Bill Withers: they turned the lights on for me and helped me to understand that songwriters come in all shapes and packages, not exclusively rock or folk or jazz. R&B and soul have great songwriters; Bill Withers wrote such catchy and groovy songs; that guy could write a song. And, Alice Walker; she's one of the best writers I've ever read; her novel, The Temple of My Familiar, is my favorite book; she's my soul mate.

HC: Tell me a little about your approach to songwriting.

Colonna: Well, I collect lots of scraps of paper with ideas on them or notes on my phone, and I'll let them sit and wait before I come back to them. I'll block off entire days, and feed my soul with great books and records and let all of them inspire me. Some of my songs grow directly out of personal experience and some don't. But when I'm ready to write, I just show up. You can learn about elements of poetry and rhythm and such, and that is a kind of refining of your vessel. But, when you come to write, you have to be ready to receive. On the day I wrote "I've Never Been," I wrote two crappy songs; just wasn't coming, so I went for a walk and then came back and barfed it out. (Laughs)

HC: Do you have a favorite song on the album?

Colonna: "Bring Me Water." It's a letter that you might send, or you might not, asking for reconciliation. It's a prayer for that kind of peace. That song was good medicine for me. After we recorded the album I felt this sense of peace that the song expresses so well.

HC: You talk a good deal about calling and gift; there's a deep spiritual component to your music.

Colonna: Well, not in a religious sense. I think I'd describe music not as vocation or calling but dharma, or duty. My dad was an environmental activist, and it wasn't always easy for him. I could choose to follow in my dad's steps, or I could choose to focus on doing what I could to make changes through music. I wanted to know I could be a part of serving, and saving, the world. I want to do my little part to plant seeds in people's hearts to learn, know, practice and love life and the world around us. So, "Mother Forgive Us" is a petition to be forgiven for what we don't do. We are beings to the source and to one another, and we are definitely destructible. Music can offer a salve or medicine and access to our hearts and the healing of our hearts.

On Nectar, the sweet honey of Colonna’s voice fills our cups with the enduring energy of her pure songwriting. She has blossomed as a songwriter, but it’s the unadulterated beauty of each song that moves us from one flower to the other on the album.

I met up with Wendy Colonna in Chelsea a couple of weeks ago, just ahead of two shows at Hill Country BBQ in Brooklyn and Manhattan, and we chatted about Nectar and her songwriting.

HC: What's the story of this album? How did it happen?

Colonna: We did a small regional launch in the fall of 2013 as a kind of springboard into a national launch after the holidays. You know my last record was a big production, and I wasn't exactly pleased with the way I came out. I mean, I liked it, but I wasn't sure I wanted to go that route again. So, I've spent some time building a trustworthy team before taking the plunge. Plus, not long after that album I got really, really sick with this fungal lung infection. Man, there were days when I just couldn't move; out of that brokenness came healing, though, and it took a couple of years to re-group. During the process of healing, I recognized and affirmed that I have gifts to give to the world and a call to be of service to the world.

HC: And the album started to develop?

Colonna: Yes; songs started coming for the record. I was doing some really cool writing projects. I wanted to write and record an album that expressed the permission to be human. After my experience, I wanted to have the raw poetic permission to write songs about being broken, being at the edges of life, and being healed. I started writing songs with my dear friend Mark Addison, and joked about making this "dark record" together. (Laughs) All things connected to the record came out of this space, and every single relationship has been wholeheartedly good. It's been a healing experience.

HC: How did you record the album?

Colonna: We tracked about eight songs in three days. A couple of the musicians knew each other, but most didn't. My desire was to have freshness in these songs, and play them as they came. Everybody played so beautifully, and the chemistry was so high. Mark wrote "Girl Without a Name," and I wrote "Dance with the Moon" in the same week. I wrote about 85% of a song, and then we would play the last 15% together, making some changes here and there, maybe to a bridge or to a line or chorus. Mark and I have a deep level of trust, and we're both in such deep service to the song.

HC: How did you come up with the title, "Nectar"?

Colonna: I don't want to go too deep into that, but you know nectar is this pure, sweet thing you can access, and I think I was trying in some ways to use that image to describe my own experience of being broken to find that purity and fire inside.

HC: How did you select the songs for the album?

Colonna: Simply hanging out with Mark and going through songs; it was more a conversation than a cutting. I was listening to Joni Mitchell's Court and Spark every day while I was working on Nectar; Mitchell's album is such a peaceful record, and I wanted to give my record as much time as it took to make Court and Spark and to listen to it; does that make sense? I wanted to put together my record with the same care, artistry, and attention that Mitchell did with hers because I wanted listeners to spend time listening to my record over and over, too, hearing new things all the time.

HC: When did you start playing and singing?

Colonna: I've been singing my whole life. (Smiles) I sang in church when I was growing up. When I was a teenager, I started playing songs with friends of mine; we sang songs by Melanie, Simon and Garfunkel, and the Beatles. The first song I ever played was "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?"

HC: Who are some of your biggest musical and songwriting influences?

Colonna: Okay, let me think about this for a minute. Chris Miller, my choir director, was a visionary, and he taught me how to sing and how to be in a rock and roll band. Greg Graffin of Bad Religion has been really influential to me as a songwriter; he writes powerful songs, but he also teaches evolution and geology and so combines a deep social message with his music. Of course, Joni Mitchell; she's a painter as well as a musician and doesn't allow herself to be defined simply by one genre of art. The artists I admire most and who have influenced me the most are the ones who are unafraid to defy stereotypes; they're irreverent and rock the boat. I go to Jackson Browne's first three albums, especially Late for the Sky. I think "Fountain of Sorrow" and "For a Dancer" are the best songs ever written. Ever! I love how personal and at the same time how courageous and universal his writing is. The writers who continue to influence me are those who are in service to the music. Marvin Gaye and Bill Withers: they turned the lights on for me and helped me to understand that songwriters come in all shapes and packages, not exclusively rock or folk or jazz. R&B and soul have great songwriters; Bill Withers wrote such catchy and groovy songs; that guy could write a song. And, Alice Walker; she's one of the best writers I've ever read; her novel, The Temple of My Familiar, is my favorite book; she's my soul mate.

HC: Tell me a little about your approach to songwriting.

Colonna: Well, I collect lots of scraps of paper with ideas on them or notes on my phone, and I'll let them sit and wait before I come back to them. I'll block off entire days, and feed my soul with great books and records and let all of them inspire me. Some of my songs grow directly out of personal experience and some don't. But when I'm ready to write, I just show up. You can learn about elements of poetry and rhythm and such, and that is a kind of refining of your vessel. But, when you come to write, you have to be ready to receive. On the day I wrote "I've Never Been," I wrote two crappy songs; just wasn't coming, so I went for a walk and then came back and barfed it out. (Laughs)

HC: Do you have a favorite song on the album?

Colonna: "Bring Me Water." It's a letter that you might send, or you might not, asking for reconciliation. It's a prayer for that kind of peace. That song was good medicine for me. After we recorded the album I felt this sense of peace that the song expresses so well.

HC: You talk a good deal about calling and gift; there's a deep spiritual component to your music.

Colonna: Well, not in a religious sense. I think I'd describe music not as vocation or calling but dharma, or duty. My dad was an environmental activist, and it wasn't always easy for him. I could choose to follow in my dad's steps, or I could choose to focus on doing what I could to make changes through music. I wanted to know I could be a part of serving, and saving, the world. I want to do my little part to plant seeds in people's hearts to learn, know, practice and love life and the world around us. So, "Mother Forgive Us" is a petition to be forgiven for what we don't do. We are beings to the source and to one another, and we are definitely destructible. Music can offer a salve or medicine and access to our hearts and the healing of our hearts.

On Nectar, the sweet honey of Colonna’s voice fills our cups with the enduring energy of her pure songwriting. She has blossomed as a songwriter, but it’s the unadulterated beauty of each song that moves us from one flower to the other on the album.

I met up with Wendy Colonna in Chelsea a couple of weeks ago, just ahead of two shows at Hill Country BBQ in Brooklyn and Manhattan, and we chatted about Nectar and her songwriting.

HC: What's the story of this album? How did it happen?

Colonna: We did a small regional launch in the fall of 2013 as a kind of springboard into a national launch after the holidays. You know my last record was a big production, and I wasn't exactly pleased with the way I came out. I mean, I liked it, but I wasn't sure I wanted to go that route again. So, I've spent some time building a trustworthy team before taking the plunge. Plus, not long after that album I got really, really sick with this fungal lung infection. Man, there were days when I just couldn't move; out of that brokenness came healing, though, and it took a couple of years to re-group. During the process of healing, I recognized and affirmed that I have gifts to give to the world and a call to be of service to the world.

HC: And the album started to develop?

Colonna: Yes; songs started coming for the record. I was doing some really cool writing projects. I wanted to write and record an album that expressed the permission to be human. After my experience, I wanted to have the raw poetic permission to write songs about being broken, being at the edges of life, and being healed. I started writing songs with my dear friend Mark Addison, and joked about making this "dark record" together. (Laughs) All things connected to the record came out of this space, and every single relationship has been wholeheartedly good. It's been a healing experience.

HC: How did you record the album?

Colonna: We tracked about eight songs in three days. A couple of the musicians knew each other, but most didn't. My desire was to have freshness in these songs, and play them as they came. Everybody played so beautifully, and the chemistry was so high. Mark wrote "Girl Without a Name," and I wrote "Dance with the Moon" in the same week. I wrote about 85% of a song, and then we would play the last 15% together, making some changes here and there, maybe to a bridge or to a line or chorus. Mark and I have a deep level of trust, and we're both in such deep service to the song.

HC: How did you come up with the title, "Nectar"?

Colonna: I don't want to go too deep into that, but you know nectar is this pure, sweet thing you can access, and I think I was trying in some ways to use that image to describe my own experience of being broken to find that purity and fire inside.

HC: How did you select the songs for the album?

Colonna: Simply hanging out with Mark and going through songs; it was more a conversation than a cutting. I was listening to Joni Mitchell's Court and Spark every day while I was working on Nectar; Mitchell's album is such a peaceful record, and I wanted to give my record as much time as it took to make Court and Spark and to listen to it; does that make sense? I wanted to put together my record with the same care, artistry, and attention that Mitchell did with hers because I wanted listeners to spend time listening to my record over and over, too, hearing new things all the time.

HC: When did you start playing and singing?

Colonna: I've been singing my whole life. (Smiles) I sang in church when I was growing up. When I was a teenager, I started playing songs with friends of mine; we sang songs by Melanie, Simon and Garfunkel, and the Beatles. The first song I ever played was "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?"

HC: Who are some of your biggest musical and songwriting influences?

Colonna: Okay, let me think about this for a minute. Chris Miller, my choir director, was a visionary, and he taught me how to sing and how to be in a rock and roll band. Greg Graffin of Bad Religion has been really influential to me as a songwriter; he writes powerful songs, but he also teaches evolution and geology and so combines a deep social message with his music. Of course, Joni Mitchell; she's a painter as well as a musician and doesn't allow herself to be defined simply by one genre of art. The artists I admire most and who have influenced me the most are the ones who are unafraid to defy stereotypes; they're irreverent and rock the boat. I go to Jackson Browne's first three albums, especially Late for the Sky. I think "Fountain of Sorrow" and "For a Dancer" are the best songs ever written. Ever! I love how personal and at the same time how courageous and universal his writing is. The writers who continue to influence me are those who are in service to the music. Marvin Gaye and Bill Withers: they turned the lights on for me and helped me to understand that songwriters come in all shapes and packages, not exclusively rock or folk or jazz. R&B and soul have great songwriters; Bill Withers wrote such catchy and groovy songs; that guy could write a song. And, Alice Walker; she's one of the best writers I've ever read; her novel, The Temple of My Familiar, is my favorite book; she's my soul mate.

HC: Tell me a little about your approach to songwriting.

Colonna: Well, I collect lots of scraps of paper with ideas on them or notes on my phone, and I'll let them sit and wait before I come back to them. I'll block off entire days, and feed my soul with great books and records and let all of them inspire me. Some of my songs grow directly out of personal experience and some don't. But when I'm ready to write, I just show up. You can learn about elements of poetry and rhythm and such, and that is a kind of refining of your vessel. But, when you come to write, you have to be ready to receive. On the day I wrote "I've Never Been," I wrote two crappy songs; just wasn't coming, so I went for a walk and then came back and barfed it out. (Laughs)

HC: Do you have a favorite song on the album?

Colonna: "Bring Me Water." It's a letter that you might send, or you might not, asking for reconciliation. It's a prayer for that kind of peace. That song was good medicine for me. After we recorded the album I felt this sense of peace that the song expresses so well.

HC: You talk a good deal about calling and gift; there's a deep spiritual component to your music.

Colonna: Well, not in a religious sense. I think I'd describe music not as vocation or calling but dharma, or duty. My dad was an environmental activist, and it wasn't always easy for him. I could choose to follow in my dad's steps, or I could choose to focus on doing what I could to make changes through music. I wanted to know I could be a part of serving, and saving, the world. I want to do my little part to plant seeds in people's hearts to learn, know, practice and love life and the world around us. So, "Mother Forgive Us" is a petition to be forgiven for what we don't do. We are beings to the source and to one another, and we are definitely destructible. Music can offer a salve or medicine and access to our hearts and the healing of our hearts

"Literacy Council’s Musicale Rocks Central School" - By Lakecharles.com – lakecharles.com - October 23, 2013

"As (Marcia) Ball took the stage with Colonna, she explained, “Someone handed me one of her [Wendy's] records and I gave it a listen. After that, I was looking for her!”

"Musicale: Music For Literacy" - COVER ARTICLE By Jodi Taylor – The Louisiana Jam - October 10, 2013

Louisiana Jam Preview article about Wendy Colonna & Marcia Ball!

"Folksalad" Interview - By Scott Aycock – KOSU Radio - Tulsa, OK - September 7, 2013

Folksalad for airning 9-7-13 KOSU-1
From: KOSU
Length: 58:58

Embed_button Folk Salad- Certified Organic Music Read the full description.

"Right at Home With Wendy Colonna…New Albums…Old Friends…Real Stories!" - By Lakecharles.com – Lakecharles.com - October 2013

Most people figure out at some point in their later lives that when you give up trying to be something you are not and just succumb to who you are, the universe starts to fall into line and opportunities open up. Like I said, most people figure this out LATER in life, so it is rare to find a young talent who has already arrived at this. That is what we found when we had lunch with Wendy Colonna.
Wendy is from Lake Charles and went to Barbe. She was one of the founding members of a youth-organized music collective called “Pourquois Pas.” This group emerged in the late 90’s and was formed to give local youth a venue to develop their music. Because it was primarily a “garage-punk” venue, Wendy, who describes her music then as a “hippie ****,” did not start to play “out” there but was heavily involved in developing and sustaining the effort.
Wendy playing at last last Sunday's Musicale at Central School.
Wendy playing at last last Sunday’s Musicale at Central School.
It wasn’t until her days at Northwestern University that she discovered her own passion and connection with the Americana Music community and the joys of storytelling through music. This is when she started playing with Hannah Vincent, one of Wendy’s early collaborations and inspirations. The two returned to Lake Charles to cut a demo, wrote enough songs for a full album, played several gigs per week, and, just by happenstance, wound up opening at a music festival in Conway, AR for Jeff Buckley. This was an inspirational turning point for her and one more example of the ways in which her path has opened up from just being who she is.
Wendy then moved to Austin in 1999 to pursue a full-time career in music. She describes the Austin music scene as “a great community of people who all know and support each other.” It was in Austin that Wendy got to know Marcia Ball (another SWLA native). They had never played together until sharing the stage at Lake Charles’ own Musicale this past weekend. Wendy speaks fondly of the work Marcia has done and the presence she continues to be in the Austin Music Community.
Our conversation about Marcia gravitated toward another story of musical serendipity with Delbert McClinton, who is a huge part of the Americana Music Community and one of Wendy’s inspirations. She tells us a story of how she found a circa 1973 double album recording of Delbert and Glenn Clark in a record shop while touring in Europe. Unfortunately, she lost the rare recording and had lamented the loss for years. During a recent hectic tour and while writing songs for her upcoming album Nectar, those records were on her mind constantly.
Needing a break from touring and writing, Wendy signed up for an Americana Music Conference in Nashville and was surprised to find out that Delbert and Glenn were going to be playing together at the conference for the release of their first record together in 40 years. Wendy went to the show and, through a friend of Delbert McClinton’s wife, (coincidentally named Wendy), got to visit with Delbert and share her story about how she missed the records and what they meant to her. Item one of providential spookiness…
Later that day, she wound up connecting with a promoter who was giving a talk on radio placement and after sharing her love of the Delbert and Glenn albums, the promoter gave her a copy of the albums he had been hiding away. Item number two of providential spookiness in the life of Wendy Colonna.
Wendy joined us for lunch at Luna and was sporting her LakeCharles.com Tee. (She looks way better than Chad for sure!)
Wendy joined us for lunch at Luna and was sporting her LakeCharles.com Tee. (She looks way better than Chad for sure!)
What this all leads up to is this: Wendy knows herself and is at peace with herself. The music she writes is real. Not that it is all non-fiction. She always mixes fact with fiction in her music, but it’s always tied to something real that people can connect with. She talks about here song “Coffee Today” off of her 2005 album Right Where I Belong.
As Wendy says, “it’s not ornate and it’s super vague and it’s just about missing someone for coffee, but you feel like you can smell it and taste it and you’re feeling that longing and sense of sadness. You don’t know why that character is missing that person, so it leaves everyone with his/her own personal relationship with that song. So, it’s a song that comes from your own experience, but everyone can take something away from it…”
Many of her songs have smells and feelings and vibes specific to SWLA. We folks who have actually swum in the Calcasieu River can appreciate her lyrics like “on the banks of the muddy Calcasieu …eeewww.” And, when you share experiences as you travel with people from this area, you make that connection. All you have to do is look at them and mention swimming or skiing in the Calcasieu river and they instantly smile and say, “What the hell were we thinking…swimming in there?!?” Then you share a laugh.
We always like to ask people about things they look forward to when they come home. For Wendy, it’s gumbo from the Seafood Palace on Enterprise Boulevard. But, for this trip, she’s just happy to enjoy just being at home. The smells and the feeling of waking up and having a lazy morning with her family is what life is all about, and, as we see it, it’s a big part of the reason Wendy’s music speaks to us.

"Friday Five: Wendy Colonna" - By Juli Thanki – Engine 145: A Roots Music Magazine

Soulful Americana singer-songwriter Wendy Colonna’s 2013 album, Nectar, might have slipped under a few radars, but it’s worth seeking out for a few spins. Here’s one of the tracks:


Since we’re pretty nosy when it comes to other people’s record collections, we recently caught up with Colonna and asked her what she’s been listening to.

5. John Fullbright — From the Ground Up

This brilliant, fearless album is perfect storm of tear-you-apart ballads and clever southern rock and groove.




4. Gregory Alan Isakov — This Empty Northern Hemisphere

Gregory Alan’s voice is my Prozac. I am instantly calmed and softened when I hear him sing. . . and his tunes are beautiful nuggets of poetry wrapped in wistful melodies that tug at your heart. I love that he has the courage to deliver such soft tunes that hold their potency and draw a listener in.




3. Delbert & Glen — their old recordings from the early 70s

We found two out-of-print Delbert & Glen CDs in a used record shop in Gent, Belgium in 2008. They’re 40-year-old recordings and they are perfect. Not only are these songs catchy and smart, but these guys carved out a genre that blended blues, gospel, soul, country and tight harmonies without worrying about fitting in. They had something really special.




2. Jackson Browne

Just everything. I love the way he writes: descending melodies and such personal writing, yet his music is still so universally accessible.


1. Joni Mitchell — Court and Spark

It just doesn’t get more vulnerable and crafty than this album. I return to it time after time for inspiration and courage.

-Juli Thanki is the editor of Engine 145 and a freelance writer whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, Bluegrass Unlimited, and M Music & Musicians Magazine. In 2011 she received the International Bluegrass Music Association Print Media Person of the Year award.

"Austin Top 10: One hundred individual LP choices" - By The Austin Chronicle – The Austin Chronicle - January 3, 2014

Austin Top 10
One hundred individual LP choices
FRI., JAN. 3, 2014
Austin Top 10
Smooth Criminal
Progressive cacophony in 2013
BY RAOUL HERNANDEZ
Top Tens
Tired of Brooklyn indie rock? Me too.
BY RAOUL HERNANDEZ
Critics Poll
Our music team weighs in on the year's best shows, venues, and more
> Austin Top 10
Top 10 National
One hundred lines of album art
Greg Beets
1) Churchwood, 2 (Saustex)
2) White Denim, Corsicana Lemonade (Downtown)
3) Hickoids, Hairy Chafin' Ape Suit (Saustex)
4) Ichi Ni San Shi, Slow Truth (Super Secret)
5) Gleeson, II (Almost There)
6) Mirror Travel, Mexico (Modern Outsider)
7) Church Shoes, Loves (KMJ)
8) Peter Stopschinski, Now Would Be a Good Time (Need)
9) Joe King Carrasco y El Molino, Tlaquepaque (Anaconda)
10) The Carrots, New Romance (Elefant)

Jim Caligiuri
1) Kelly Willis & Bruce Robison, Cheater's Game (Premium)
2) Slaid Cleaves, Still Fighting the War (Music Road)
3) Dale Watson & His Lonestars, El Rancho Azul (Red House)
4) Carper Family, Old-Fashioned Gal
5) The Whiskey Sisters, The Whiskey Sisters (World)
6) Darden Smith, Love Calling (Compass)
7) Sarah Jarosz, Build Me Up From Bones (Sugar Hill)
8) Erin Ivey, Dreamy Weather
9) Owen Temple, Stories They Tell (El Paisano)
10) Aimee Bobruk, /ba.'brook/

Thomas Fawcett
Austin Top 10
1) League of Extraordinary Gz, #LeagueShit
2) Latasha Lee & the BlackTies, Latasha Lee & the BlackTies
3) Black Joe Lewis, Electric Slave (Vagrant)
4) The Relatives, The Electric Word (Yep Roc)
5) Riders Against the Storm, Riders Against the Storm
6) White Denim, Corsicana Lemonade (Downtown)
7) The Electric Peanut Butter Company, Trans-Atlantic Psych Classics Vol. 2 (Ubiquity)
8) The Black Angels, Indigo Meadow (Blue Horizon Ventures)
9) The Octopus Project, Fever Forms (Peek-a-Boo)
10) Jazz Mills, Jazz Mills

Doug Freeman
Austin Top 10
1) Slaid Cleaves, Still Fighting the War (Music Road)
2) Okkervil River, The Silver Gymnasium (ATO)
3) Bill Callahan, Dream River (Drag City)
4) Jason Boland & the Stragglers, Dark & Dirty Mile (Proud Souls)
5) Charlie Faye, You Were Fine, You Weren't Even Lonely (Wine & Nut)
6) White Denim, Corsicana Lemonade (Downtown)
7) East Cameron Folkcore, For Sale
8) Kelly Willis & Bruce Robison, Cheater's Game (Premium)
9) Patty Griffin, American Kid (New West)
10) Ola Podrida, Ghosts Go Blind (Western Vinyl)

Chase Hoffberger
Austin Top 10
1) White Denim, Corsicana Lemonade (Downtown)
2) Berkshire Hounds, Are Not Amused
3) East Cameron Folkcore, For Sale
4) League of Extraordinary Gz, #LeagueShit
5) Dumb, Live Fast Die Dumb (Gnar)
6) American Sharks, American Sharks (The End)
7) Mirror Travel, Mexico (Modern Outsider)
8) Yum, Take My Blue
9) The Octopus Project, Fever Forms (Peek-a-Boo)
10) The Harvest Thieves, Lightning in a Bottle

Abby Johnston
1) Danny Malone, Balloons
2) Patty Griffin, Silver Bell (A&M/Universal)
3) A Giant Dog, Bone (Tic Tac Totally)
4) Bobby Jealousy, The Importance of Being Jealous (Superpop)
5) Frank Smith, Nineties (Big Snow)
6) Emily Wolfe, Mechanical Hands
7) Erin Ivey, Dreamy Weather
8) The Carrots, New Romance (Elefant)
9) Feathers, If All Now Here (Nyx)
10) Aisha Burns, Life in the Midwater (Western Vinyl)

Margaret Moser
Austin Top 10
1) Churchwood, 2 (Saustex)
2) Kelly Willis & Bruce Robison, Cheater's Game (Premium)
3) Mother Falcon, You Knew (Creme Fraiche)
4) Nathan Felix, The Curse, the Cross, & the Lion
5) Shoulders, Another Round (Kasslatt Music)
6) The Warren Hood Band, The Warren Hood Band (Red Parlor)
7) The Krayolas featuring Flaco Jimenez, Canicas (Talking Taco Music)
8) Wendy Colonna, Nectar (Pourquoi Pas Records)
9) Extreme Heat, Soulstice
10) Emily Bell, In Technicolor (One-Eyed George Entertainment)

Austin Powell
Austin Top 10
1) Bill Callahan, Dream River (Drag City)
2) White Denim, Corsicana Lemonade (Downtown)
3) American Sharks, American Sharks (The End)
4) Mirror Travel, Mexico (Modern Outsider)
5) Overseas, Overseas
6) Zorch, Zzoorrcchh (Sargent House)
7) Explosions in the Sky & David Wingo, Prince Avalanche: An Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Temporary Residence)
8) Ichi Ni San Shi, Slow Truth (Super Secret)
9) Churchwood, 2 (Saustex)
10) Berkshire Hounds, Are Not Amused

Michael Toland
1) Scorpion Child, Scorpion Child (Nuclear Blast)
2) The Boxing Lesson, Big Hits! (Frenchie Smith)
3) Wiretree, Get Up
4) The Bremen Riot, PM Magazine
5) Gary Graves, Till the End of Time
6) Lions of Tsavo, Traverser (Toxic Assets)
7) Obscured by Echoes, Black Matter Manifesto
8) Mirror Travel, Mexico (Modern Outsider)
9) Halaska, Mayantology
10) Ancient VVisdom, Deathlike (Prosthetic)

Jay Trachtenberg
1) Bill Callahan, Dream River (Drag City)
2) Dupree, Nuestro Camino (Public Hi-Fi)
3) Kellye Gray, And, They Call Us Cowboys: The Texas Music Project (Grr8)
4) Patty Griffin, American Kid (New West)
5) Iron & Wine, Ghost on Ghost (4AD)
6) The Relatives, The Electric Word (Yep Roc)
7) Pete Rodriguez, Caminando con Papi (Destiny)
8) What Made Milwaukee Famous, You Can't Fall Off the Floor
9) White Denim, Corsicana Lemonade (Downtown)
10) Earl Poole Ball, Pianography (Tin Tube Tunes)

"Wendy Colonna - Nectar" - A review by Dave Kreider – The Alternate Root - April 2014

“Wendy Colonna puts us under her spell…the album is packed with beautiful and exciting songs.” - The Alternate Root

"Wendy Colonna - Nectar" - A review by Dave Kreider

In the hectic pace of everyday Bostonian life, I find solitude looking into the small terracotta planter placed outside of my apartment window. The planter holds a variety of bright flowers with insects flocking and drinking. The nectar is the sweet, attractive force in which we are seduced- pulled in and put under a spell.
Wendy Colonna puts us under her spell in with her enticing Louisiana vocal style and accompanying ukulele in her new album, Nectar. Her songs reflect the balance of wishful nostalgia, and the comfort of the present. Nectar feels more introspective than her previous works, an attribute that Wendy has mastered as a singer-songwriter. And with introspection comes recognition of various aspects of ourselves we may be less familiar with. While the album is packed with beautiful and exciting songs like the soulful opening tune Dirty Things, many explore a softer, and more direct side of Wendy’s style. Songs such as Sleeping feel like a direct conversation with Wendy while Mark Addison’s instrumental energies dance around her voice. While most of these songs offer an introspective vibe, that’s not to say that they are without humor. Dance with the Moon, a slow ballad coupling her voice with the faint crooning of singing saw, is only complete with her hint of Sanatra-style sarcasm.
Mark Addison’s guitar contributions and production raises Wendy’s creative talents to grand heights. The guitar, piano and even accordion solos in songs such as Texas Summer Love and When Love Comes my Way evoke the feelings of her homeland. These are songs that can be done as a solo act, but the busy instrumentals keep the mood upbeat and exciting.
Wendy’s introspection blossoms in all of these songs, bringing about an album that is as attractive as the flower you may find outside of your busy apartment.
- See more at: http://thealternateroot.com/under-the-radar/187-the-best-new-albums-of-the-week/2153-wc-nectar#sthash.iuytYTOy.dpuf

"SXSW 2014: Your Guide to the Best Music Acts" - By Jim Fusilli, The Wall Street Journal's Rock and Pop Music Critic – The Wall Street Journal - March 10, 2014

A Wall Street Journal pick for “Best Music Acts” at SXSW 2014 calling Wendy a “gifted country-influenced singer-songwriter.” - Jim Fusilli, The Wall Street Journal

With some 2,200 acts performing at the annual South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas, the roster is too varied and too deep to serve as an indicator of where rock and pop is headed. But it’s rich with clues.

For example, SXSW says hip-hop is still a force. Next-generation performers on tap include 20-year-old Chance the Rapper; Future, likely to showcase material from “Honest,” his next album; genre-smasher Jeremiah Jae; Gee Watts, whose debut album “199x” arrives in early April; 21-year-old Young Thug; and YG, whose debut full-length disk “My Krazy Life” is out next week. As for hip-hop’s present: Kendrick Lamar is headlining an iTunes-sponsored show that also features ScHoolboy Q and Isaiah Rashad. Action Bronson, Fat Tony, Wiz Khalifa and Mobb Deep are slated to perform during the week, and veteran rapper Nas returns, topping a bill that includes the A$AP Mob and B.o.B., who will perform with a live band, according to the festival organizers. (The Nas show also includes the hip-hop-influenced jazz trio BadBadNotGood, the DJ and producer Flying Lotus, and bassist Thundercat.) Tomorrow night/Tonight, 50 Cent, who’s held back the release of his new albums “Animal Ambition” and “Street King Immortal” for years, will perform a showcase to be streamed via the mobile app Hang w/.

It may be that top commercial EDM artists are saving their energies for the mammoth Ultra Music Festival in Miami at the end of the month, but experimental electronic musicians are in ample supply at SXSW. Though capable of producing and spinning dance music, artists like bEEdEEgEE, Creep$ide, Lakim and Tom Trago resist pandering to banal tastes, while Kira Kira, Mr. Carmack, Rabit and Until the Ribbon Breaks and others push electronica to intriguing limits.

There’s very little high-gloss commercial country at SXSW, but the festival is presenting a slew of gifted country-influenced singer-songwriters, including Wendy Colonna; John Fullbright; Austin’s Shakey Graves; Jessica Lea Mayfield, whose new album “Make Me Head Sing” will be released next month; Parker Millsap, out supporting his new self-titled album; and Sturgill Simpson, whose 2013 album “High Mountain Top” is a gem. As for well-established singer-songwriters: Lucinda Williams is coming home to Austin, making four appearances. She may sprinkle new songs among her standards.

Jazz at SXSW? Depending on your definition, yes. Jazz artists playing the festival include guitarist Stanley Jordan; avant gardists Nymph; hip-hop influenced the Victor; prog fusionists the Hedvig Mollestad Trio; traditionalists the Kristian Terzic Band and Cettina Donato; ‘30s revivalists Jitterbug Vipers; and many more. It’s as if it’s dawned on the industry that young music fans may enjoy jazz if they can enter the world on their own terms.

It’s become axiomatic that the only artists who will profit from appearing at SXSW are those who’ve already broken through. Musicians likely to come out of the festival with added buzz include Charli XCX, the British pop singer; Eagulls, who are performing tracks from their new, roaring self-titled debut disk; Jungle, the London-based electronic funk ensemble; the adventurous R&B artist Kelela; Angel Olsen, whose new “Burn Your Fire for No Witness” is a sparse, intimate beauty; Lawrence Rothman, who floats his baritone voice over washes of moody electronic music; the old-school soul unit St. Paul and the Broken Bones; and the Strypes, a hard-rocking group from Ireland.

"Alumna Wendy Colonna to hold concert at NSU October 12" - by David West – FOX KMSS TV - Natchitoches, LA

NATCHITOCHES, LA (KMSS) — Singer Wendy Colonna will hold an album release concert at Northwestern State University Saturday, Oct. 12 at 7:30 p.m. at the Collins Pavilion near the Athletic Fieldhouse. Admission is by donation. Students are admitted free.

Colonna, an alumna of the Louisiana Scholars’ College, is touring to promote her new CD “Nectar.” The process that led to the CD started at NSU where an ecology class
sparked a fascination with pollination and bees. She said “Nectar” honors “the insight and perspective this gave her to observe the magic and miracles of life on planet earth.”

Colonna’s career began to take shape while at Northwestern State. She and Hannah Vincent formed a popular duo, Wendy and Hannah, that performed around the Natchitoches area.

“I knew Hannah through some mutual friends. We just met one day with our guitars on a friend's porch and the rest is history,” said Colonna. “We were both starting to write songs and our harmonies were amazing to begin with. We knew a lot of the old hippie songs and just built a repertoire from those and expanded into other covers. All the while we were both writing new songs and when she moved to Natchitoches, we fell into step gigging.”

A producer discovered Wendy and Hannah and recorded the duo live which quickly led to other opportunities.

“We were asked to do that live recording and then right after the gig was over, the guy who owned the studio took us into his office and offered us a record deal with a hefty advance,” said Colonna. “We were astounded. We took the deal, but later parted ways and both did separate albums. That was sort of the beginning for me.”

Colonna has lived in Austin since 2000 as her career has blossomed. She was named the “Best Singer Songwriter in Austin” by the Austin American-Statesman and was the winner of multiple songwriting contests including Indiegirl, Int’l Acoustic Music Awards, 100% Music, Mid-Atlantic Songwriting Contest, Independent Music Songwriting Contest and International Acoustic Music Award. Colonna was grand prize winner in Famecast Talent Competition. She has been a National Association for Campus Activities (NACA) National Showcasing Artist. Additionally Colonna’s music has been featured in Central Texas Time Warner Cable ads and on John Platt’s “On Your Radar” series on WFUV, NYC. The City of Austin honored her by proclaiming April 26, 2012, “Wendy Colonna Day.”

“I had always loved Austin as a teen and enjoyed visiting and where New Orleans’ energy is a bit dark, Austin is a little lighter. It felt more possible,” said Colonna. “I had already lived in Natchitoches and Europe by then and there were lots of ghosts everywhere. I guess I was ready for the surprises that came with a city that felt like it was thriving and thrilling and still musical and diverse.

“Since I've lived here, I've been integrated in the musical community. I've worked with some of Austin's finest musicians and producers and have even produced several charity events benefitting the community here.”

Colonna has released five studio albums plus a live album. She can hear how she has evolved as a musician when listening to earlier albums.

“I listen to the old recordings and hear a girl who was writing beautiful poetry but was nervous about sharing it,” said Colonna. “My range has improved, my songwriting has become so much simpler. I try to write as little as possible to take someone to a place, a story, an emotion. I'm older. I have become less jaded for sure. It's funny to hear those old songs. They are so hopeless and heavy. As much as life has taken a whack at me over the years, I end up lighter and clearly more focused on capturing the richness of the moment without all that angst that comes with being young and fearing and desiring the experiences that shape us as people.”

Colonna said the Scholars’ College played a major role in shaping her career.

“Scholars' was one of the best things that ever happened to me, hands down,” said Colonna. “Reading a million books, discussing, learning so much about context, seeing how everything is interconnected, being ripped apart as a writer. There is nothing that has informed my abilities as a writer like Scholars'.”

And Colonna has maintained the ties she developed in Natchitoches.

“I still stay connected to as many of my professors and Scholars' and Natchitoches peers as I can,” said Colonna. “There's something about that town that's a little lost to time and there's something about getting a bunch of very human brilliant kids together and feeding them and stretching them to their limits. I don't exactly know what it did but Natchitoches and Scholars' are among my favorite parts of life and it's been a rich life.”

For more information on Colonna, go to wendycolonna.com.

"Wendy Colonna's Personal and Musical 'Resurrection'"- COVER STORY, By Brad Goins – Lagniappe Magazine - LA - November 7, 2013

Wendy Colonna, one of the best known musicians of our area and of Austin as well, just came within a hair’s breadth of giving up music altogether. She was in the midst of a long, grueling tour, and discovered, as she never had before, what a toll touring can take on the body.

Colonna got a fungal lung infection that weakened her severely. Then, she says, “my immune system crashed.”

Yet she continued to perform and follow the demanding schedule without a break. “I was touring heavily. I went to Europe [to perform].”

The illness just got worse. Her weakened immune system left her prey to a series of infections. “It was scary as all get out … I coughed the whole show. I had to sleep sitting up.”Wendy Colonna - Laughing

In November, 2010, Colonna called it quits. “Because touring was my primary income,” she writes in her new book True Stories. Lyrics., “it was a scary prospect to take a break from music to heal, but after several visits to the hospital, I had no choice. I basically walked away from my career and the music because I couldn’t physically do it anymore. And I was broke.”
Both the physical and mental aspects of the situation eventually brought Colonna to the point that she seriously questioned her future in music. “I wasn’t sure I wanted to stay in music,” she says. “It almost killed me.” She writes: “Perhaps the resistance, debt, struggle and more were just not adding up to a sustainable life.”

She was thinking, she says, that “I know there’s something else” — something more than the harsh demands of the big tour.

‘An Amazing Second Chance’
Colonna was at one of those crossroads where people make big, life-altering decisions. “It was a pivotal moment,” she says. “I told the universe or God or whatever, ‘You are in charge. I’m not driving anymore. I’m going to stop being willful.’”
She began to regain her health. She started seeing a nutritionist and training for a half marathon. And she experienced a flurry of new song-writing and performing opportunities.

“When I surrendered, opportunities showed up. To me, it was a resurrection … I was given an amazing second chance.”
During a trip to Belgium, she found herself participating in a “magical” project: a spontaneous recording made with a new band that “happened very quickly” and came together in a highly gratifying manner. (The record, an EP titled Barefoot in Belgium, has been called a “return to a grassroots approach to making music.”)

She continued to ask herself questions about just what she should be doing with music and whether those actions should differ from the ones she’d taken in the past. “What is the music doing?” she wondered. She eventually “realized music is a refuge; a place where people go for permission.”



The Phoenix And The Bee
Because Colonna saw her new, thoughtful, approach to music and living as a kind of “resurrection,” it makes sense that she would say her big new CD, Nectar, is her “phoenix story, in a way.”WendyColonna_Nectar

Nectar, she says, is also about “authentic relationships, and doing it [in this case, music] for the right reason.” Such musical relationships might include those between song writers, between musicians and producers, between performers. There can even be relationships between songs and people; in True Stories. Lyrics., Colonna describes songs as “unique entities who are born of me [that] evolve as they make relationships with others.”

The CD’s “collection of songs,” says Colonna, “is really human, forgiving of being human, vulnerable. [The songs are about] being OK with being human.” All of this is in sync with Colonna’s aforementioned realization that music is a place for refuge and permission. Of Nectar, she writes, “I had grieved a lot over the previous few years and realized there was strength in the vulnerability, in the scars. It was OK to be exposed.”

Colonna has said Nectar is “my dark record” … “I had a few songs waiting in the wings that were more melancholy than the upbeat stuff on Right Where I Belong and We Are One, and they needed a place.” But she adds that Nectar is also “deep and sweet.”

Nectar is so multi-genre that it wouldn’t make much sense to try to pigeonhole it as having a particular type of sound. Colonna suggests that it could be described as “southern soul,” and more specifically, that it falls “under the big umbrella of Americana.” By Americana, I think she means the many forms of music that have been popular in the various regions of the U.S. down through the years; in other words, “roots music” in a broader sense than the term is usually used.
Nectar, she says, is “a beautiful, amazing record. It’s probably the best I’ve ever done.”

Colonna drew the prominent bee on the CD’s cover, as well as the wild flowers. These are the very flowers you can see in Louisiana right now. (The brown box around the bee and the monochromic colors of the flowers give the cover a nice collage and experimental art look.)

These art works depict “what makes me what I am,” says Colonna, who has an academic background in bees.

Notes On Nectar
As this record covers all the big aspects of life, it’s little surprise that it has a place for childhood. Colonna says the song “The Water’s Fine” is about innocence. And there’s something of childhood in the record’s third song, “Shelter And Be Kind,” where Colonna salutes her personal roots with the lines “I am a great-granddaughter of the Mermentau. / My granny was 3/4 French and 1/4 Choctaw.”

But you can hear the melancholy side make its appearance in the song with the lyrics “Try to remember that the sun doesn’t always shine” — words that were said to Colonna by her grandmother. And there’s a bit more melancholy from Colonna’s past in this song; there are, for instance, words about the time her father, a tank driver in World War II, had his teeth kicked out by Gen. Patton. (Colonna swears the story’s true.)

On a musical note, listen for the psychedelic keyboard solos in this song. They’re a treat. There’s also distinctive instrumentation in the fourth cut, “The Water’s Fine,” which features a strummed ukulele. The song sounds like a 1920s pop song. The leisurely “Dance with the Moon” also sounds like a popular tune from a decade before rock ‘n’ roll. In the background, a musical saw plays quietly; it sounds a bit like a Theremin.

Lines from the song reflect Colonna’s new intention of letting things go as they go in preference of trying to impose her will:
“I watch the fireflies dancing in the field behind the store.

“They are not fighting, in the way I was before.”

If you don’t detect the vein of melancholy in the lyrics of the songs of Nectar, you’ll hear it clearly in the sadly lyrical, off-kilter, major-and-minor-key piano solos of “When Love Comes My Way.” The melancholy is present in both music and lyric in the song “Mother Forgive Us,” a leisurely folk ballad with the lines “Oh, Mother, please forgive us when we know what we know and we still do.”

When I write “melancholy,” I don’t, of course, mean that the music is funereal or anything of that sort. It’s usually quiet and lyrical, occasionally in a sort of wistful way. The CD has enough upbeat pop and folk tunes to keep the mix lively.

‘Unfold Your Myth’
Nectar has quite a bit more going on than most popular music recordings. In contrast, Colonna’s future is simple. She’s promoting her new work. WENDY nice head back zinn

“All I do is promote this record …” she says, “[while I] eat and sleep and [am] walking.”

As she started this project in January, she’s devoted a full nine months to it thus far.

And why is she promoting it in Southwest Louisiana — even to the point that she had her CD release party at Luna Live back on Oct. 25. “I wanted to cover the home bases” first, she says. Home, for Colonna, is Lake Charles.

After this initial, regional, tour, the CD will be promoted on an extended international tour. If you want to see where Colonna will be playing, or get a copy of Nectar, visit her site at wendycolonna.com.

Colonna prefaces her book with an imperative from the great mystical poet Rumi: “Unfold your myth.” Each of us does this. Some of us work hard at it; some don’t. Colonna seems to be working pretty hard. It’ll be interesting to see what forms her myth takes in coming years.

"13 TOP RELEASES IN 2013 (and an honorable mention or two; it’s been a very good year)" - By Michael Corcoran – The American Statesman - December 19, 2013

Mention Honorable : “Sunday Morning Record” by Band of Heathens, “Corsicana Lemonade” by White Denim, “Electric Slave” by Black Joe Lewis, “Nineties” by Frank Smith, “Sweetheart of the Sun” by Greencards, “Burning Days” by Sons of Fathers, “Valentine” by Seela, “Rattle My Cage” by Patricia Vonne, “You Can’t Fall Off the Floor” by What Made Milwaukee Famous, “Bone” by A Giant Dog, “Build Me Up From Bones” by Sarah Jarosz, “Dupree” by Dupree, “Say Grace” by Sam Baker, “El Rancho Azul” by Dale Watson, “Nectar” by Wendy Colonna, “Wild and Hollow” by Colin Gilmore.

Live Interview & Performance of ”Bring Me Water” – Balcony TV - Austin, TX - January 2014

Watch Live Interview & Performance of ”Bring Me Water”

"Album Review – "Nectar" by Wendy Colonna" - By Molly Longmire – The Appetizer Radio Interview and Blog

“A sumptuous tour through swamps, smoky pool halls and empty church pews. . . a surprising album that manages to be both reverent and sexy.” – The Appetizer

"American Songwriter Magazine Premieres Wendy’s “Live & Intimate” Version of 'Shelter & Be Kind.'" – American Songwriter Magazine - February 19, 2014

American Songwriter Magazine Premiered Wendy’s “Live & Intimate” Version of “Shelter & Be Kind.”

"Wendy Colonna - 'Nectar'" - A review by James Killen – Houston Music Review - October 19, 2013

“soulful tunes of innocent sin . . . “Nectar” is a beautiful composition… it’s a collection of songs that has several lives to live” – Houston Music Review

"Wendy Colonna - Nectar"
Written by James Killen
Oct 19, 2013 at 02:00 AM
Wendy Colonna is a young singer/songwriter and Lake Charles, Louisiana native that chose to import her smoky blues/jazz/folk vocal style to Austin and has been very successful in doing so. She’s not only a talented song writer and a gifted vocalist, but she is one of the sweetest and most genuine people that I’ve met.

She just released a new disc called “Nectar”, in collaboration with Mark Addison who produced and played on the disc as well as either writing or co-writing with Wendy almost half the songs. I could do no better than to copy use her words from her website to describe the collaboration:

“Mark Addison and I had a running joke that when I was ready, we would make my “dark” record together. I had a few songs waiting in the wings that were more melancholy than the upbeat stuff on Right Where I Belong and We Are One and they needed a place. . . So I blocked off entire days to write throughout the month of January and brought them to him in batches. We sorted through them, found ones we loved, discarded others, he shared pieces of songs he was working on and he helped me with bridges and edits on some of my pieces. I had always been sort-of afraid to co-write songs, but with Mark it was easy and fun. We wanted to make sure they were all songs I could tour solo or with a full band when we recorded them and to make sure every instrument on board supported the song.”

The disc starts off with one of the soulful tunes of innocent sin that seems to flow so easily from Wendy’s pen called “Dirty Things”. She follows that with a beautiful country crooning, “Bring Me Water”. “Shelter and Be Kind” slides a jazzy rhythm right out of the Louisiana back country with nice wa-wa guitar and piano solos in series.

"The Water’s Fine” is a pop vocal with ukulele tune that seems to come from “someplace over the rainbow” accompanied by a very cool pedal steel solo. There is a gentle, charming reggae rhythm carrying Mark Addison’s dream song, “Sleeping” with a heart-felt acoustic guitar solo and Wendy’s steady voice playing through. Guy Forsyth contributed a bit of his saw playing along with Addison’s banjo to the slow jazz, “Dance with the Moon”, that could have come straight from a 1920’s speak easy.

Mark Addison’s other solo composition, “Girl without a Name”, seems to have been written with Wendy’s voice in mind and features Bukka Allen’s accordion work and an electric guitar solo to carry the song beyond the horizon. “When Love Comes my Way” is a night club jazz number with a swirling keyboards solo, sure to draw couples to the dance floor. “Texas Summer Love” is that special combination of country and blues that seems to happen in Texas so often featuring harmonica and pedal steel parts and lines like “sometimes you just grow bitter reaching higher for something sweet. “

Wendy stands stoically independent on the rocking “I’ve Never Been”, a song that begs to be heard acoustic and electric, back to back, for an anticipated contrast. Ms. Colonna ends the disc with an ethereal “Mother Forgive Us”, a song that deals with that theme of innocent (or maybe not so innocent) sin featuring a sad European string and tympani background.

“Nectar” is a beautiful composition and I look forward to seeing Wendy take these songs in all directions. I see the potential for captivating audiences in the solo performance as well as with a full band. It’s a collection of songs that has several lives to live and certainly worth a quiet evening of listening.

"Wendy Colonna: Nectar" - A review by Antoine Légat – Rootstime Magazine

“The songs . . . are all pearls to discover . No flaws. Wendy’s voice sounds more seductive than ever : it winds its way through with a pronounced, elegant diversity . . .” - Rootstime Magazine

WENDY COLONNA: NECTAR

It’s every December the same old story! When the unavoidable end-of-year lists come along, you can bet your bottom dollar that your colleagues unanimously fall for a record, the existence of which you didn’t even suspect, made by artists you hardly even heard of…if you ever did. This asks for exceptional measures during January to finally learn to listen to all the fine stuff you should have known before. But that’s not the worst of ordeals, because this recuperation makes you discover a lot of great music: it’s just wiping off arrears. It’s a whole lot sadder that in the course of the last weeks of the year a number of excellent records reach you, too late to be put in the final list of appreciation, which by definition is work in progress. Our ‘catwalk of this year’s models’ was ready and already published when we first were confronted with brilliant records as ‘Short Stories’ by Mister Inglish (alias Ton Engels) and ‘America Through The Eyes Of Woody’ by Champagne Charlie, both made in Holland, both actually from close to the Belgian border. From a lot further comes Wendy Colonna, more specifically from Austin, TX, and originally even from Louisiana.

Colonna is not unknown over here: she performed here more than once, sometimes in the company of Chad Pope. During her last visit, in September 2011, when she was here solo, an ad hoc band was compiled, Lazybones, harbouring Belgian musicians, and in a one day session a delightful seven song CD was recorded with a couple of Wendy’s songs and with a few covers (‘Lazybones’, great piece of songwriting by Johnny Mercer-Hoagy Carmichael; ‘Snowin’ In Raton’ by Townes Van Zandt) We were lucky to review ‘Barefoot In Belgium’, an article you can still find at www.rootstime.be . Since then musicians who took part in the recordings, or were linked to theBeyond The Flags protest song project, travel frequently to Texas (and Louisiana) to perform there. So it’s no surprise we found a competent and quite positive local review of a gig in Houston, TX, at the start of Februari in 2013, a concert with Wendy Colonna and support by Belgian top singer-songwriter Bruno Deneckere plus Tom De Poorter and Jeffrey Thielens, members of Lazybones. But here’s ‘Nectar’: we received Wendy’s fifth full CD halfway through November, but alas it took some time before we actually could listen to it…

‘Nectar’ is the direct successor to ‘We Are One’ of 2010. So Wendy has carefully taken her time ‘to get it right’ as she sings somewhere in ‘Dance with The Moon’, a delightful retrosong, that she wrote together with producer Mark Addison: hammond, banjo and upright bass, plus the singing saw of friend bluesman Guy Forsyth (again someone with strong ties with our country) make up for the 1930’s feel of the song. It goes to illustrate the enormous radius of action of Wendy and her people: besides southern rockers like the juicy opener ‘Dirty Things’, you get to hear, amongst others, blue eyed jazz à la Sade in ‘When Love Comes My Way’, but there’s also country torch song ‘Texas Summer Love’, embellished with the exquisitely played pedal steel and harmonica, ‘Bring Me Water’, a waltzing ballad with voices that roam through the heavens – good luck trying to get that melody out of your head, once you heard it! One thorough listening session sufficed to realise that this ‘champagne for the gods’, this Olympian nectar belongs to that select circle of top records of the year mentioned above.

The songs are all written by Wendy, except for two by Addison, who also co-wrote three other ones. They are all, without one single exception, pure gems. No weak spot to be uncovered. Wendy’s voice sounds lovelier and more attractive than ever: she meanders through this variety with distinct elegance. But she never sounds dready or sugary. The excellent bunch of road companions fall back on a rhythm section that plays with metronomical precision, courtesy of bass player Michael Stevens and the drummer that Wendy shares with her friend Carolyn Wonderland, the never less than sublime Rob Hooper, whose amazing versatility was again displayed during the most recent Beyond The Flags in Ardooie (see our review here at Rootstime) Addisons production is flawless, of which Wendy is well aware as can be deduced from the ‘thank you’ in the liner notes. No Belgians amongst the musicians, but a number of them are recited in the thank you list (fun to read!) Still there’s a Belgian participation: the extremely sober but effective art work is by Sanne De Mûelenaere.

A song that wraps it all up is reggae ‘Sleeping’ (composition by Mark Addison): a ravishing melody, a rhythmical pattern that conjures up sweet memories of ‘Stir It Up’, a chorus that takes possession of your head (‘We are sleeping, we are sleeping, we are keeping safe and warm. We are sleeping, we are sleeping, we are sleeping through the storm’), Wendy who sings a compassionate message of peace and warmth with just that right inflection, and on top of it all that intervention on acoustic guitar played by Mark. Pure nectar! At our little house on the prairie that song was to be heard all Christmas holidays long at volume ten with all inhabitants singing and cheering along, thanking the Lord that we have no neighbours. It’s a song from heaven like it’s a record from paradise!

Antoine Légat (Dutch original: January 8th 2014; this translation January 14th 2014)

"Wendy Colonna - Nectar" - A review by Scott Fuchs – NineBullets - March 21, 2014

”. . .One of our favorite new artists . . . undoubtedly, the songwriting is superb and Wendy’s voice is warm and welcoming. There is not a bad song on ‘Nectar.’” -NineBullets


"Wendy Colonna - Nectar" Review by Scott Fuchs

My wife and I were first introduced to Wendy Colonna and her music last summer at The Mangy Moose Saloon in Jackson Hole, WY. We were on vacation and fully prepared to enjoy any live music we may have heard that evening. Little did we know we would be entertained that evening by, soon to be, one of our favorite new artists. We were thoroughly captivated by this charismatic lady on the stage singing lovely, gentle, original songs.

Wendy is from Lake Charles, LA and now based in Austin, TX. She has a handful of albums and accolades under her belt (she was named best singer songwriter in Austin by the Austin American-Statesman). Her latest album “Nectar” is my favorite of her albums and the songs we heard that first night last summer compose the bulk of the collection.

Wendy’s versatility and diversity as a songwriter and singer shine on Nectar. Album opener, “Dirty Things” and third track “Shelter & Be Kind” are the kind of swamp blues that sound best being played at a Louisiana crawfish boil with a cold Abita beer in hand. Bonnie Raitt would be proud. Ukelele propelled, “The Water’s Fine” could be used in an “Aloha Hawaii!” advertising campaign, it so perfectly captures the island and beach vibe. “Sleeping”, with its relaxed reggae beat is begging for a mash up with Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds”. “When Love Comes My Way” is one of my favorite tracks; a sultry number that would fit comfortably on a Fiona Apple or Diana Krall record.

“I’ve Never Been” is the only track that would work easily on Ninebullets radio and fits in well with what I consider to be the standard Ninebullets.net wheelhouse. A driving, acoustic guitar, driven song with great melodic verses and a big chorus. I could imagine Chuck Ragan singing “I’ve Never Been”. Album closer, “Mother Forgive Us” is, arguably, my favorite song on “Nectar”. Electric piano, bass, and drums are the foundation of this moody, minimalist, ballad with tasteful flourishes of fiddle and guitar.

In full disclosure, “Nectar” is a bit of an outlier when it comes to the music I usually listen to. There is more of a pop sensibility and a bit less grit than I’m used to with my daily musical dietary intake. Yet, undoubtedly, the songwriting is superb and Wendy’s voice is warm and welcoming. There is not a bad song on “Nectar”. Guys, give it a spin. If you don’t like it, let your lady listen to it. Chances are, she will love it.

"Right Where I Belong" - A Review by William Michael Smith – Texas Music Magazine -Summer 2006 Issue

Austin's Wendy Colonna is shrewdly urban, surprisingly hip and she's got a coquettish, bluesy Joan Osbourne thing working. For someone so young, she also has a gift for complex, adult-situation lyrics. A bit dark and boozy, Colonna's Husky voice oozes that warm, languorous Rita Coolidge delta spirit and, with savvy players like guitarist Wayne Sutton (Patrice Pike) and keyboardist, Cole el-Saleh (Carolyn Wonderland) in the studio lineup, the Lake Charles native packs plenty of pleasing southern funk and big beat bounce into originals like "Mayday" and "Sail On."

The bigger the arrangement, the brighter Colonna seems to shine. Driving tracks like "Does it Satisfy," which feature sultry Ephriam Owens, trumpet, seem like perfect vehicles for Colonna's full-throated vocals. Nevermind that these aren't sing-in-the-shower-after-the-first-listen ditties; Colonna's smart and sure, and she stretches things. She has to be given time to sink in but when she does, she will set a hook deep in your ear – Right where She belongs.

"Night After Night" - BY JIM BEAL JR., HECTOR SALDA?A, AND JOHN GOODSPEED – San Antonio Express - May 28, 2010

Talk about ambitious. Wendy Colonna, from Austin by way of Lake Charles, La., is celebrating the release of "Old, New, Borrowed & Blue: Live at Antone's," a two-CD/one-DVD package recorded live at the storied Austin club.

Colonna is a fearless performer with an excellent voice and plenty of songwriting talent who brings together rock, blues, funk, soul and whatever else she believes fits. The result is an energetic brand of music that'll tug heartstrings and move shoestrings in equal measure. Songs such as "Bound to Fall," "Right Where I Belong" and "Coffee Today" proves Colonna has chops to match her ambition.

"Right Where I Belong" - A Review by Maria Mesa – ATown Records

This CD starts with the track "Easy," which gets your attention from the get-go. The first part is the odd rhythm supplied by drummer Eldridge Goins. At first I thought it was wrong, or I heard it wrong- but then I backed it up and realized that it was very right. It might catch you off guard, but it grows on you and fits the song perfectly. That's the hallmark of a great drummer, he lets the song pull the rhythm from him, rather than just forcing a rhythm he already knows into the song. "Easy" is a haunting and peculiar song that grows on you and becomes addictive. And if you're a singer songwriter like Wendy is, it's best to just knock the ball out of the park on the first track. That being said, imagine the beautiful Louisiana songstress as she walks the bases- like so many clubs in Austin- to home plate.

The fourth track "Coffee Today" is on par with Carole King's "So far Away." It relates to the feelings of loneliness sometimes brought on by a simple event, like stopping by for coffee. It has a rainy Sunday feeling about it, that rare moment on the sofa when the world stops and a bittersweet feeling washes over you, and you realize the day won't last forever. "Does it Satisfy" shines with the help of local trumpet hero Ephraim Owens.

Wendy shows a great deal of promise as a songwriter and lyricist. She has a knack for riding the line between joy and despair, euphoria and melancholy. As a vocalist she is sultry, passionate and very consistent. Her time spend with close personal friend (and more) Guy Forsyth- has been a great influence. (Or perhaps, Wendy has been a great influence on Guy?)

The "A" list of Austin talent along for the ride includes Forsyth, Carolyn Wonderland, Warren Hood, Cole el Saleh, Leslie Mccurdy, Su Walenta Hunt, Wayne Sutton, and Ephraim Owens. Rounding it out and adding his personal stamp of quality is producer Stephen Doster, who in my opinion can do no wrong.

Wendy Colonna "Old New Borrowed & Blue" 2007 - A Review by Bob Ruggiero – Houston Press - September 6, 2007

Wendy Colonna is hot, no question, but the Austin singer-songwriter's considerable musical talents make her sassy sexuality secondary — perhaps an even greater achievement. With smoky vocals that call to mind Norah Jones or Joan Osborne, Colonna's expansive musical domain encompasses rock, soul, jazz and blues, making her something of an all-purpose woman.

That versatility can be heard — and seen — on her new release Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue: Live at Antone's. A sprawling package of two music CDs and one live DVD recorded at the venerable club (plus interviews), it finds Colonna backed by her regular band as well as an ensemble of local musicians. While we don't get to see a demonstration of her reputed mad kickboxing skills along with her guitar playing, the project is one that should elevate Colonna's status regionally, if not nationally.

"Wendy Colonna's Triple Play" - by Lynn Margolis – Texas Music Magazine - 2007

Singer-songwriter Wendy Colonna thought she was pitching a nice little concept when she suggested that Music & Entertainment Television, the Austin-based Central Texas music channel, start doing some “little baby interview clips” to splice into their “ME Live!” performance series. Then they asked her if she’d want to make a recorded-live DVD with just the sort of interview segments she’d suggested.

Colonna, who turned 30 on Sept. 30, had no idea she’d be diving into the biggest project of her life. Old, New, Borrowed & Blue: Live at Antone’s, done as a pilot project for ME TV combines an 11-clip DVD and a 22-track double CD.

“It’s different than going into the studio and cuttin’ until you get a really groovy track,” explains the Lake Charles, LA native, who moved to Austin seven years ago. “And it’s different than rehearsing for a show, where you play and then it’s like, ‘I’m on. And here’s the art we made and now it’s gone.’ It’s like, ‘Here’s the art we’re making live, and here it is again.’ So we worked really hard to get it really succinct and have all the arrangements just be stellar and have all the vocal parts just really shine.”

For ME TV, the project will serve as a marketing tool to attract other artists for similar packages. For Colonna, it might be the launching pad she’s been looking for.

She used the opportunity to re-record songs from her out-of-print first album, 2003’s Red, including “Hey,” “Hold Me Tight” and “Girls of Stone,” and some fleshed-out tunes from her shoestring-financed second album, last year’s Right Where I Belong. The live set also features several new cuts that show Colonna’s creative range: from pensive, vulnerability-baring ballads and “moody, epic stories” to jazzed-up pop and R&B to strong-woman soul (and (soulfulness) in a voice that goes from dusky to Dusty- and other ladies whose influences you’ll recognize.

"Right Where I Belong" A Review by Adam Black – Texas Music Magazine - May 2006

(4½ out of 5)

Wendy Colonna offers a tonic for those who remember Aretha, Marvin, and Stevie making meaningful albums that helped weave the socio-sonic tapestry of a generation for those who cringe when they hear Joss Stone hailed as the most "precociously gifted" soul singer of her era (seriously). If you too are wondering, "Whither soul music?" R&B that shoots from the soul and aims at the heart Louisiana born Colonna points the way.

Occasionally young artists recall the glory of yesteryear's Detroit and add a little something new artists like India.Arie, whose debut Acoustic Soul borrowed from Stevie and injected a post hip-hop sensibility with a folk-ish lilt. With her Right Where I Belong, a disc bound to please disaffected soul-survivors and win over new fans too, Colonna joins Arie center stage.

The guitar slinging Austin, Texas transplant similarly borrows from others Dusty Springfield's Dusty In Memphis and Carole King's Tapestry spring to mind; and she too adds her own ingredients to the stew, including a spoonful of bluesy swamp rock and a hint of a Texas twang. (That's no surprise Colonna's too-large-to-shout-out session crew reads like a who's who of Austin's musical in-crowd.)

Colonna sets the tone for all that follows with the chugging funk of "Easy", the first of eleven self-penned numbers, clearly juxtaposing the human capacity for darkness against the brilliance of, severally, the natural world, her wonderful tune-smithing, and her stunning voice an instrument that never sounds stretched and always sounds sexy. No matter how crappy things might seem, she counsels, just Step outside and watch the day go by / It's easy to believe / The breeze is high, the sky's on fire / It's easy to believe.

The rest of Right Where I Belong flows in the voice of a mature musician, who as the title suggests is confident of her place among things. Other standouts include the delightful "May Day", the gentle "Right Where I Belong", and the dirge-like gospel of "Nothin Gonna Take My Love"; but to pick just these four seems churlish, as none of the remaining seven can fairly be described as anything less than well-crafted. Add to all this producer Stephen Doster's willingness to let the musicians play out within well-defined limits, and Wendy Colonna should soon discover she belongs in a whole load more places than she ever imagined.

"Wendy Colonna Record Release Party Graces Our Local Music Scene" - by Leslie Bernam – Jambalaya News - Lake Charles, LA - June 17, 2010

06/17/2010
by: Leslie Berman

The most disappointing things about the live alternative and original music scene in Lake Charles are that it takes place in too few venues, and too few people know about it. Oh sure, the family and friends of individual artists and bands come out to local gigs wherever they happen, well-organized musicians do e-blasts on Facebook or their own mailing lists, and the press (including The Jambalaya News) offers listings with info about whatever the clubs send them about who’s playing when.

But news about local bands is usually heard after the fact of well-attended events, when the gossip filters down through Facebook and Twitter posts, and photos with brief taglines appear in the scene-and-heard columns of our local papers. And I’ve noticed that it’s mostly the same faces time after time that are in the audiences for the great music I get around town to hear.

One unfortunate side effect of the limited outlet for alternative and original music is that with so few places to play, artists don’t get much face time with audiences made up of strangers, which is absolutely necessary for artistic growth. How else will a performer learn to entertain and communicate with an audience, if s/he always preaches to the choir, and is never exposed to indifferent or even hostile faces?

Sure, if you’re in a cover band, you’ve got loads of places to play, both public and private, and you can gauge your entertainment prowess by the speed in which the audience hits the dance floor. But if you’re in an alternative music group, you might not appeal to dancers anyway (I’m thinking, of course, of all kinds of alternatives – it’s obvious that a square dance or contra dance caller expects to play for dancing, and if you’re playing Celtic music, you’ll inevitably attract a few of those cute step dancers who do all their moving from the waist down, while their hands hang tensely along their sides, and their mouths wear a perpetual grimace of concentration).

In fact, depending on what you’re doing – concertizing, arty performance stuff, odd-tempo jazz-fusion, moody ballads – you may not want an audience to distract you by dancing. So taking the stage at a local dance palace is not the place to practice your trade. So, where does a musician go to learn how to work a crowd?

Most of our best and brightest alternative and original music artists go out of town. Oh, not to play a few gigs and then to return. No. They move on to cities with bigger alternative and original music scenes. And the better a musician is, the more likely it is that s/he’ll leave town right after building a local following.

That’s what happened with Wendy Colonna, singer/writer and yoga instructor, who moved away to Austin, home of Whole Foods, UT, and the SXSW music and media extravaganza; where it’s almost impossible to walk downtown without bumping into a bunch of musicians at all hours of the day and night. Alongside El Lay, Nashville, and New York, there’s almost a palpable musicality to the streets of Austin, and Austin has been very, very good to Wendy Colonna.

Over the years that I’ve been in Lake Charles, Colonna has come back regularly to play wherever someone is willing to showcase live acoustic music, and I’ve heard her new material whenever she’s released it. This time around, with the release of We Are One, her fifth record (which will be featured at a release party on June 18, at 9:30 p.m., at Luna’s on Ryan Street), I’ve found more than earnest and pleasant songs that made me hungry for more music an hour after listening. In fact, with Papa Mali’s production surprises, Colonna’s come up with an album I just might be able to dance to.

Malcolm “Papa Mali” Welborne is an Austin-based blues and funk guitar and bass player with years of Louisiana roots music gigging and producing under his belt, and he’s used his ears to good effect on Colonna’s reflective songs of “love, loss and transcendence,” as they’re self-described.

Using an earthy mix of soulful blues and country, the album’s dozen cuts chart familiar territory in new measures. I don’t know another woman apart from Bonnie Raitt who would have had the balls to cover Robert Johnson’s “If I Had Possession Over Judgment Day,” which Colonna does to a slide guitar and cymbal-heavy rhythmic roll that adds just enough electronic overtone to heavy-up the straightforward vocal arrangement.

And there’s a smoky barroom sound that reminds me of Betty Boop’s slinky “St. James Infirmary Blues” on “Hurricane,” with its honky tonk piano and horn solos and throwback to the 40s vocals. Colonna’s recently been named best singer/songwriter by the Austin American-Statesman, and this time around, I’m going to agree with them, and go a step further. She’s the best singer songwriter to come out of Lake Charles, Louisiana, anytime in recent memory. Get down to Luna to hear her on the 18th and get yourself an earful of and a hand full of We Are One. Mor

"The Ladies Take Center Stage at Boudreaux and Thibodeaux's" - COVER STORY by Charlotte Guedry – Tiger Weekly - Baton Rouge, LA - June 2010

By Charlotte Guedry


The residents of Baton Rouge love their music. They love to dance, to sing, and to let their hair down. Combine all of that with a little bit of art and some wine, and Baton Rouge has a real treat in store with the first ever Wine, Women and Song event at Boudreaux and Thibodeaux's on June 17th.

The event will highlight the music of Wendy Colonna, Alexis Marceaux, Mary Lasseigne, Toni Otts and Ruby Rendrag. These Southern ladies have unique musical stylings, sure to whet everyone's appetite. Also on show will be the artwork of local artist, Jill Mulkey, who is steadily making a name for herself as an artist with exquisite visual representations.

Karen Dean, Director of Music and Special Events at Boudreaux and Thibodeaux's, is bringing the concept to the public. "I'm always looking for ways to put together an experience that works for all of Baton Rouge, so what better way to compliment that than with a night of feminine, artistic energy," said Dean.

The idea is a simple one. Dean used her talented background in the arts to turn the venue into a showcase for the women of our fair state.

"Like the fictional characters, Boudreaux & Thibodeaux, our mission as an entertainment venue is to celebrate the joie de vivre of the Louisiana culture, the getting together with friends and family, dancing to all kinds of music, enjoying a good cup of gumbo and sipping on an icy cold beer. The quality of talent in south Louisiana is awe-inspiring."

Dean is passionate about Baton Rouge, and the talent on offer. She hopes that the night is a success, and that the event will lead to many more of the same. Baton Rouge is a leader in events and festivals. The first ever Wine, Women and Song event hopes to take itself even further, and become a recurring event.

"Deciding to produce a menage 'a trois of Wine, Women, and Song in the early part of summer, seemed like an event that the Capitol City would embrace. We're going to turn the air-conditioning down low, set up plenty of seating, have some delicious wines available for tasting, and set the mood for a memorable night of entertainment," said Dean.

So what about the women who will be showcasing their talents on the night? Does being a Louisiana artist add some element of style?

Wendy Colonna certainly thinks so. "I'm from a Cajun family that cooks and laughs and can peel crawfish and shoot the breeze all day long. My grandparents had a sprawling farm with soybeans, rice fields, crawfish ponds and live oaks that dripped with Spanish moss and canopied the yard. Many of my songs are written to capture the humidity and swagger of late afternoons in Louisiana inside a story."

Alexis Marceaux agrees that life in Louisiana is an enormous influence on her music. "Living in Louisiana, especially in the city of New Orleans, has shaped a huge part of my music. Being surrounded by great musicians to collaborate with and amazing venues to play in has encouraged me to keep trucking on."

The talented women performing on the night will be the first to bring this event to the public, and the importance of their participation as both women and performers is evident.

"Karen Dean invited me to come and perform for the Wine Women and Song event after a show one weekend. I do hope it becomes a regular event in order to give female songwriters in Louisiana a venue to showcase their talents. I am a transplant to Louisiana from Nashville, and am thrilled that the people of Baton Rouge and the surrounding areas have accepted me and my music with open arms," said Toni Otts.

"It shocks me that there is STILL an attitude from some people in regards to females playing music. Some convey to me their feelings of it being superficially cute, or sexy. I do look forward to a day where females creating and performing music is appreciated for the insight and artistry involved, rather than it being perceived as being 'cute' on the surface. Joan Jett would kick someone's ass for calling her cute," said Mary Lasseigne.

It doesn't matter if you go for the wine, the women, or the songs. All that matter is that you go. Louisiana is home to some wonderful musical talent, and on Thursday, June 18th, these women are going to shine.

For more information on the Wine, Women and Song event, visit either www.bandtlive.com, or www.tigerweekly.com. The event begins at 7pm. The music and art is free, but tickets are $10 at the door for the wine tasting.

Originally Published: June 16, 2010

"Austin Transplant Comes Home To Release New CD That’s Louisiana Inspired" - by Karen Wink – Lake Charles American Press - June 18, 2010

Hurricane force winds are blowing in the new soulful album of Lake Charles native Wendy Colonna.

Colonna and her band are scheduled to celebrate the release of her new album, “We Are One,” at 9:30 p.m. today at Luna Bar & Grill, 719 Ryan St.

Colonna’s fourth album is a cohesive mix of funky blues that immediately carries you into the swampy sounds of Louisiana. The music is a mix of horns, funky oldschool organs and hard driving blues guitar that flow together with Colonna’s voice and lyrics for a category five storm.

The album was produced by Shreveport native Malcolm “Papa Mali” Welbourne, who has produced such artists as Grammy-nominated Ruthie Foster. He is also an accomplished musician currently playing in the band 7 Walkers, which includes the Grateful Dead’s Bill Kreutzmann.

Papa and Colonna draw from their Louisiana roots creating a sound that is deep fried in the heat from jukejoints and pool halls in the middle of a New Orleans August.

A phone call started this first-time collaboration between Colonna and Papa, which began with weekly meetings spent listening to the music they loved. Every week they developed style and elements for the album before going into the studio on Labor Day 2009.

“It was just this great, fun collaboration of just ‘what are your favorite licks’ and ‘what are your favorite textures’ from these records. We just built that around these songs that were ready to go," said Colonna.

The album is inspired by the ’60s and the ’70s vibe complete with horns and a Wurlitzer electric piano. Colonna points out the music of 1971 and in particular Marvin Gaye’s “What's Going On” as a musical mile-marker. Although not a tribute album, Colonna wanted to create an album with the same mojo but in her own musical voice.

To achieve that mojo, Papa and Colonna recorded the album using an analog 24-track board on two-inch tape then mixed it down to a quarter-inch tape ready to press into wax just like those albums in 1971.

“We produced it just like all those old records. Using the 24-track board forces you to be creative in the production process,” said Colonna.

“We Are One” captures Colonna’s talents as a songwriter and gives listeners a full immersion in the Louisiana musical mojo. Colonna hits her musical stride. The album is the Colonna album to own and one to grab in case of an evacuation.

The album is available on iTunes and on her website, wendycolonna.com.

"Texas Platters, Wendy Colonna "Old New Borrowed & Blue"" - A Review by Margaret Moser – The Austin Chronicle - 2010

Wendy Colonna's extensively packaged Old, New, Borrowed, & Blue is an ambitious undertaking: two CDs and a DVD recorded live at Antone's. It's also a risky one with a touch of overkill in the DVD, where she's styled like a Mucha nymph, since Colonna is a relative newcomer without the local history that usually accompanies live recordings. Yet the Louisiana native possesses a smoky, alluring voice, and her impressive songwriting dominates the recordings; all but two songs are hers. Colonna chisels her finely faceted gems in "Girls of Stone," "Coffee Today," "Hold Me Tight," and "Thunder" and does so with panache and confidence.

It's little coincidence that the title track of her last CD, Right Where I Belong, was picked up by Toni Price on her latest recording, because if it feels like there's a hole in Austin's musical psyche left by Price's departure, Wendy Colonna is the one most likely to fill it.

"Red" CD Review - by Ali of AustinLive.com – Austinlive.com

I'd heard Wendy's name tossed around industry circles quite a bit, and the comments were always positive. Upon hearing 'Red', I can see why. This girl can sing! Very Natalie Merchant-ish with a Southern-fried feel. "Dirty Wife" brings some gritty vocals to the front that really latched this one into my brain. "Smoking Chains of Cigarettes" made usch an impression that I was still hearing it at 2am while trying to catch some sleep! "We All Die Alone" has such an awesome rhythm that you can't help but dance along.
Lyrically, it's good and hook-y. Lines like "If I give up this fruitless quest for true purpose and meaning, will I lose every reason to believe I should keep breathing?" will make you stop and think. And then that wonderful melody gets you right back to dancing. "Coffee Today" tugged at my heartstrings, and made me think of people that have come and gone in my life's travels.
I've spent years nearly ignoring female singers. Thanks to Wendy for opening that door another few notches... I've been listening to her CD for weeks now! She can get just as angry and throw out as much power vocally as a man, without losing a BIT of her femininity. This Louisiana girl is one to be appreciated. Now y'all excuse me while I smoke chains of cigarettes and talk soft 'til 2.

Goleta Valley Voice's 'Listen Up!' Column - by Carter Yarborogh – Goleta Valley Voice

Another gem I encountered on my recent road trip. This fiery beauty has incredible stage presence and a voice that ranges from gravel to nightingale. Her songs relate life stories, good and bad and the sparse arrangements just let her moving vocals and poignant poetry shine all the more. Colonna strums a tight rhythm and Perkins adds medicinal electric additions. "We All Die Alone" is a fast-paced, boxcar blues with the harmonica of Guy Forsyth supplying the chugging and whistle blasts. "Smoking Chains of Cigarettes" is a sore-hearted ode to lost love with a folk/pop twist. "Sodom" (my favorite) inspired by the degeneration of her former home of Lake Charles, LA draws painful parallel between our troubled times and those of biblical lore:
"Brothers can I tell you what a mess you've made around? The fish are swimming belly up and pastures all turned brown. All the money in the world can't buy what you've brought down. Oh, brothers hold your pillow tight, tonight's your last in town. A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do. The land is black with sinners and the waters black with crude. Maybe in the wilderness you'll weep for what you lose, but a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do."

"We Are One- Album Review" - by Rod Harrington – Roderick Harrington, Music Writer El Dorado Times

If you’re a great soul singer, it really doesn’t matter your skin color. Think Louann Barton, Marcia Ball, Tracy Nelson, Dusty Springfield, Jennifer Nettles, Janis Joplin or Bonnie Bramlett.

Does it really matter that these soulful women happen to be Anglo and not African-American?

Like I said, if you can sing you can sing. Add Austin, Texas, resident Wendy Colonna to that list. Her new CD is “We Are One” and is a great showcase for this talented Louisiana native.

Colonna played a few gigs here in El Dorado but hasn’t visited in a while. She is busier than ever around Austin, however, as people love her depth, her passionate delivery and her versatility. Be it folk, rock or soul, Colonna is a rare talent.

“We Are One” was produced Papa Mali and was recorded at The Nest Recording Studios in Austin. Several of the songs aren’t Colonna originals, but she sure delivers them as if they were.

Right off the bat with “Mojo Hannah” one gets the idea Colonna is dipping back into Booker T & The MGs, Bramlett and other great soul artists. That kind of passion continues throughout the 12-track CD.

Helping Colonna on the CD are Chad Pope on guitars, resonator, lap steel and vocals, Robb Kidd on drums, Mark Andes on bass, Matt Hubbard on keyboards, trombone and vocals, Greg Williams on sax and flute, Steve Zirkel on trumpet, Steve Bernal on cello, Leah Zeger on violin, Candice Sanders on vocals, Papa Mali on bass, guitar and vocals; Dave Madden on piano and vocals and Cyril Neville percussion.

I love tracks such as “We Are One,” “Love Comes Once,” the Tom Waits-like “Pelican Waltz” and the haunting “Louisiana.” Her jazzy side comes out on “The One That You’ve Been Waiting For” while blues take over on “Is It True,” both of which feature acoustic guitars with thick, nasty bass.

The best track on “We Are One” may be “Hurricane,” which Colonna wrote. This is as Southern as it gets: vivid pictures, instruments ranging from banjo to trombone, a comfortable shuffle beat. You’ll need a glass of tea or lemonade after hearing this one.
The swampy rocker of “If I Had Possession Over Judgment Day” slithers right into “Heart of Darkness,” which again has a Waits feel with overdubbed voices, strange instruments and a feel straight out of south Louisiana.
I’m a sucker for raw Colonna, just her and that incredible voice. The final track, “All That I Am,” is that kind of song. Just an acoustic guitar and light, tasty electric guitar in just the right spaces.
Her voice is so strong on the final track that when light percussion comes in halfway through it about sends one over the edge.
Colonna has been voted Best Singer Songwriter in Austin and won the Grand Prize in the Famecast International Talent Competition.
One writer famously said a few years ago that “Colonna’s music is a savory gumbo of Southern soul and poetic lyricism borne of her rich Gulf Coast heritage. Evocative and powerful, her voice ignites both memory and desire.”
Her website offers, “The inspiration for Wendy’s latest album ... is clear: you only truly know something when you’ve both lived it up close and viewed it from afar. That’s why this album isn’t a return to her Louisiana roots so much as it is a harnessing of those roots toward a new purpose – gathering up the ghosts and teaching them a new dance.”
Cecil Doyle with KRVS in Lafayette said the CD “perfectly demonstrates Wendy Colonna’s unceasing maturity as both songwriter and vocalist. Papa Mali appears to be just the sort of producer capable of capturing her incredible range in both areas – an ability to emote everything from gentle sweetness to belting it out like a full-blown, scorching Soul Queen.” The Austin American Statesman added, “Wendy Colonna is not just a singer-songwriter, she’s a force of nature.”
Colonna previously released “Red,” “Right Where I Belong” and the live CD “Old New Borrowed & Blue.” For details or to order the CD, visit http://wendycolonna.com/ on the Internet.
(Roderick Harrington is weekend editor at the News-Times. E-mail him at rharrington@eldoradonews.com)

"We Are One" - A Review by Jim Beal of The San Antonio Express – San Antonio Express - May 28, 2010

Austin-based, Louisiana-raised singer and songwriter Colonna is celebrating the release of her “We Are One” CD. Produced by Papa Mali, a kindred Texas/Louisiana spirit, the 12-song collection beautifully showcases Colonna’s soulful grit, her tender-tough abilities, her talents as a singer and as a songwriter and her collaborators, including her partner, guitarist Chad Pope, and producer Papa Mali. Colonna moves among love songs (“Love Comes Once”), topical commentary (“Hurricane”), New Orleans funk (“Mojo Hannah”) and deep blues (“If I Had Possession Over Judgment Day”) and makes those moves naturally.
- Jim Beal Jr.

"We Are One" - A Review by KRVS – KRVS Radio Acadie - Lafayette, LA -

"We Are One perfectly demonstrates Wendy Colonna’s unceasing maturity as both songwriter and vocalist. Papa Mali appears to be just the sort of producer capable of capturing her incredible range in both areas – an ability to emote everything from gentle sweetness to belting it out like a full-blown, scorching Soul Queen.” The Austin American Statesman added, “Wendy Colonna is not just a singer-songwriter, she’s a force of nature.”

"Wendy Colonna, 'We Are One'" - A review by Alex Daniel – Austin Music Source, Austin360.com - July 14, 2010

Austinites, if you weren’t already, consider yourselves informed: Wendy Colonna has a serious set of pipes. Over the course of three albums, the hometown singer has built a solid reputation with her sultry vocals, and her fourth release, “We Are One,” fits nicely with her repertoire of ‘70s inspired funk and soul. The blasting horns and bluesy organs throughout the album make it perfect for sweltering summer days - the kind of music best enjoyed at an outdoor venue with a cold, condensation-covered beer in hand.

But “We Are One” isn’t entirely routine. From the slow-burning homesick blues of “Louisiana” to the gypsy jazz of “The One That You’ve Been Waiting For,” Colonna masterfully blends a colorful variety of genres while staying true to her Cajun roots. Still, the most refreshing part of the album might be the wise, uplifting lyricism sprinkled throughout. “Rain to river/Sweat and steam of your body/Ocean to rain and then back again/We are one,” the singer proclaims on the title track.

"The Songwriter's Craft" - by Brad Goins – Lagniappe Magazine - July 2010

Some in the Lake Area will have been eagerly awaiting the release of We Are One, Wendy Colonna's first full-length CD in three years. Colonna traveled from her Austin home to give the record an official send-off in a CD release concert at Luna Bar and Grill on June 19.

The CD has many, many references to sounds of the 1970s, 1960s and earlier — sock-it-to-me organ, Herbie Mann-style flute solos, Stax- and Vegas-style brass arrangements. To take just one example of how Colonna blends such elements, the mix of synth solo, chunka chunka disco guitar and harmonica in the cut "Love Comes Once" sounds as if it were taken straight from the soundtrack of a 1970s exploitation film.

And that's good. I think the vocal delivery used on this record is one that became accessible to the public in the late 1960s by means of Janis Joplin and Tina Turner. While it's an exaggeration to say that Colonna's voice has a growl to it, it is forceful and sometimes slightly rough — a press release uses the word "sassy" — in an artful way.

Colonna's new record is such that if it had dropped at any time during the 1970s, it would have been accepted without any problem. Still, it's not exactly a retro record. The reason is that there's much focus on the craft of songwriting here. Colonna belongs to that large group that gets tagged with the moniker singer-songwriter. Songs on this disc tend to be about four minutes long. And that's always four minutes of carefully developed and widely varied music. There's no resemblance to the pop music made of simplistic melodies in a verse-verse-chorus format, all of it tied together with lifeless musical bridges just meant to provide transition and take up time.

Although the lyrics can be playful, they often take the form of thoughtful reflections on the sorts of experiences one has in intimate relationships. It's interesting that they cover a range running from disillusionment about said relationships to almost wild hope about them.

It's curious that even with the record's many nods to the past, Colonna doesn't make many obvious references to music after the 1970s. You won't hear any snippets of New Wave or hip hop or what was called "alternative music." If I had to compare the sound of We Are One to that of anything else, I'd say it reminds me, in a very general way, of the Leon Russell and Dr. John records I listened to in the late 1960s and the 1970s. It's a kind of songwriting I identify with New Orleans, though, in fact, it may well be a sound that thrived throughout South Louisiana in general. The songs I'm thinking of draw from both blues and R&B and are substantial but accessible. (The press release I mentioned early refers to the music on Colonna's CD as one of "swampy, soulful textures and rhythms.")

The CD closes with its strongest material. One of the last two cuts, "Heart of Darkness," is a somewhat somber and eerie drone, almost a keening. Whispered, indistinct vocals are layered over the kinds of exotic percussive sounds that used throughout the disc to splendid effect. "Heart of Darkness" is certainly the most experimental cut on the record.

The melodies I found most moving were in the last cut, "All That I Am." The song is unique on the disc in having a strong country music inflection.
Colonna's been named Best Singer Songwriter by the Austin American Statesman. That periodical called her "a force of nature." From the sound of things, forceful music is certainly in her nature. Learn more at www.wendycolonna.com or visit the Wendy Colonna page on My Space.