Tami Neilson

Set times


You’ll never forget the first time you saw Tami Neilson. She can hush a room with an original song that channels the hurting spirit of Patsy Cline or the sensuality of Peggy Lee, or bring the audience to its feet on a rockabilly raver.

She’s an artist with real range: there is her powerful big-ballad voice, her golden-age of country Americana, the heartfelt Gospel, soul-infused R’n’B, Western swing or belting old style Rock ’n’ roll. She encompasses them all and is a personality-powered cyclonic force of nature in stylishly retro attire, long lashes and a stacked-high beehiveTami grew up performing across North America with the Neilson Family Band, working alongside greats such as Johnny Cash, Tanya Tucker and Kitty Wells.

With her parents Betty and Ron (her late father a songwriter of considerable accomplishment) and two brothers – Todd on drums, Jay on bass – she spent years on the road learning her craft, exploring her increasing vocal and emotional range, and building a deep well of musical in-fluences she could draw on when she started to write her own material. Then she fell in love with a New Zealander, moved to the bottom of the world and had to start a solo career without the family. Over many years she built a platform for herself through open mic nights, playing soulless casinos and the dead-air time-slots at festivals, finding a small group of fellow travellers and supportive players, and then a series of increasingly impressive albums followed. The early ones saw her in a self-created territory between mainstream country and alt country, a couple recorded around the kitchen table back home in Canada (brother Jay now an acclaimed producer and songwriter) and then the awards started coming in New Zealand for albums which added breadth to that “country singer” label: Best Female Artist, Best Country Album, Best Country Song, an APRA Silver Scroll (songwriting) award and Album of the Year nominations.

Tami now tours extensively around North America, Europe, UK, Australia and New Zealand, her albums receiving rave reviews in Britain’s Mojo and Guardian (named “Top 10 Best Country Music Album”), Rolling Stone, American Songwriter and MOJO, her songs appearing on the Netflix’s Wanted and the TV series Nashville. Tami Neilson’s singing and writing is too big to contain as HMV.com noted.

We can’t wait to welcome Tami to Groundwater CMF this November.

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