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Nell Bryden Second Time Around [album]

Nell Bryden: Second Time Around“Given that songstress Nell Bryden
t even born in the 1950s, its
  surprising that she can give such
  credibility to her chosen style on her
  aptly-named album Second Time

COOL MUSIC WAS BORN in the 1940s and 1950s and in the 21st Century retro style is hot. And that means fashions, furniture and music — a veritable treasure of retro magic that the gifted Nell Bryden has harnessed to great effect for her new album, Second Time Around.

Familiar sounds emanate from each track. Nell has an outstanding voice and her songs have dance-ability — we dare you to sit still for one moment! The tempo changes dance along the instruments and the infusion of 40s, 50s, jazz, country and easy listening that make up Second Time Around is remarkable.

Nell's unique career story starts with her working part-time as a waitress in New York to fund her dream of having enough money to travel around America with her band to perform to "everyone and anyone who would listen". After being on the road for three years, playing over 500 gigs across America, she found she couldn't afford to continue to follow her heart and moved back home. Feeling disillusioned and despondent, she knew that somehow she had to get back out there and began selling all her worldly possessions to fund one more tour.

But luck was with her. Sometimes the secret to achieving our dreams lies closer to home that we might think. The key to launching Nell Bryden's music on a global stage lay undiscovered for twenty years in her father's home.

Nell found that good things do indeed come to those who wait — while searching her father's attic she found a painting that was to change her life. The painting had been giving to her by her stepmother twenty years earlier, but as Nell's impressionist artist father Lewis only ever decorated his house with his own art, the painting had never seen the light of day.

At a Sotheby's auction, Nell discovered it was a Milton Avery original from 1952 called '3 Birds' and it sold for just under 300,000 — enough money for Nell to go in pursuit of her dream.

On her next tour after that, she decided to be more ambitious and to include Europe. Performing tracks from her new album Second Time Around, Nell's tour is currently wowing the UK, having already supported KT Tunstall, The Counting Crows and Kate Walsh.

Even the cover of the album is charmingly retro with superbly faded colours — a nostalgic step back in time. The album incorporates so many different treatments and such musical awareness from Nell Bryden that most people are going to find something to like among the delightful cornucopia of melodies that make up Second Time Around.

Her talent knows no bounds. Late Night Call is a jazzy treat that makes you envisage Nell in a Speakeasy bar. Why Can't That Be Me is quirky with overtones of 20's music, turning to country — a great cabaret-style track with great vocals, full of longing to the edge of acceptance. This is another favourite along with the title track, Second Time Around, which has a great beat, catchy lyrics that Nell sings clearly and beautifully and an all-encompassing atmospheric retro aura that is rather addictive.

Only Life I Know is country/road music with a chorus that wouldn't be out of place at a barn dance and is another winner. We loved Where The Pavement Ends, which is a brilliant track with a degree of poignancy. It has echoes of Irish country and traditional Jewish dance music. Goodbye has fine sentiments and is pleasing musically.

We were intrigued by Helen's Requiem. It is given a slow, unusual treatment that gives Nell a chance to air her range of vocals in a controlled way — very much like From Midnight On. Second Time Around is described as "an anthology of unique blues, country/modern Dixie and jazz tracks all delivered in Nell's inimitable sassy, vibrant and elegant manner". A woman of many musical talents, Nell not only writes and sings but also plays electric, acoustic and twelve-string guitars as well as the dobro and cello on the recording.

Goodbye was released as a single on 8 September (2008); Second Time Around will be released as a single on October 20 (2008) and the album Second Time Around will be released on October 27 (2008).


1 Tonight | 2 Second Time Around | 3 Late Night Call | 4 From Midnight On | 5 Why Can't That Be Me | 6 Only Life I Know | 7 Green Dress | 8 Where The Pavement Ends |
9 Goodbye | 10 If I Forget | 11 Helen's Requiem

Check out and

"In her circa 50s' cocktail frock and killer heels Nell takes bluegrass, jazz and country; mashes it up and belts it out. She can play, has a voice to die for, writes great songs and I am starting to think I hate her. Too much talent should not be allowed" — Janice Long, Radio 2

"Nell Bryden — well, I think this album is absolutely brilliant" — Bob Harris, Radio 2

"Nell Bryden writes well crafted pop songs, her voice has great depth, flexibility and energy" — Time Out, New York

"The album incorporates so many different treatments and such musical awareness from Nell Bryden that most people are going to find something to like among the delightful cornucopia of melodies that make up Second Time Around" — MotorBar