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Nell Bryden Honorary Brit

American singer divides her time between her native New York and London, and will be hitting the road this autumn to promote her latest album, SHAKE THE TREE, coincidently also recorded here in the UK. Her new album, which she describes as having “Daniel Lanois


production with an Americana base,” has already attracted plenty of airplay on Radio 2 and comes hot on the heels of her supporting both Chris Rea and Duane Eddy on their recent UK tours. It’s the latest chapter in a remarkable career, which has seen her

single-handedly establish herself as one of this country’s favourite singer-songwriters. “When I first came over here, I was looking for a way out of the

trenches in America,” she says. “In America, everyone was trying to figure out what category I fit into. Was it roots, blues, country or jazz? As soon as I came over to the UK, people just took me at face value, as they often do with American artists.” “There are a long line of artists like that,” she adds. “From Jimi

Hendrix, all the way to the Kings of Leon; with artists coming over to the UK and being embraced here first.” Nell first came to London six years ago, after booking herself a

month-long tour of venues around Europe. “I got an email from a guy who had just come back from touring in Ireland,” she explains. “I was looking for something different. I Googled all the places and set up a 30-date tour for myself in Ireland, England, Scotland and Holland.” “As soon as I came over here, someone told me about Bob

Harris and I sent a hand-written package to him, and lo and behold, he played it. I found it shocking that in this day and age there was still a national DJ who was listening to hand-written CDs being sent to him by unknown artists. I thought that was really refreshing.” The rest is now history and Nell says she feels “very

comfortable” over here in the UK. “London for me is like a second 54 Maverick

he might be a Brooklyn girl through and through, but Nell Bryden is rapidly on the way to becoming an honorary Brit, thanks to her regular appearances on national radio and tours around the country. The

home,” she says. “It’s such a big international city and it has a sense of so many different people passing through. I’m from Brooklyn, so the mish-mash of culture appeals to me. I feel like I have more in common with people in London than people from Alabama or Mississippi. It’s not all that different to New York.” “When I went down to New Orleans, I found it so refreshing,

because they do not give a hoot about what anyone’s style is. They just mash it all together and the messier the better! I’ve changed my sound on this record because of having been over here so much. It’s just soaked in. But I’m sure I will change again! I want to be the kind of artist who is always trying to write a good song, rather than having certain sounds, which I’m trying to fit into.” Her new album puts a contemporary spin on her love of vintage

artists like Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline. “I do love that era of country music,” she says. “I realise country can be a bad word over in the UK! Back then, artists were literally mavericks and did their own thing. As long as it was a great song and a great story, people got behind it. I think Patsy has such an iconic sounding voice. You just hear her sing one note and you know it’s her. I’ve always loved singers like that. And Johnny Cash was such an outlaw. He did it his own way. I find that incredibly appealing.” Nell also enjoyed the recent tours with Chris Rea and Duane

Eddy, although adding: “…they were totally different. With Chris Rea, it was a well-oiled machine. People were really responsive. I was playing to a full stadium. Duane Eddy’s sound is more my sound. He just came from such a seminal rockabilly era. He went out with Richard Hawley’s band, which was really exciting. They were all thrilled to be playing with him. It was a very cool bunch.” Having spent so much time over here, Nell has also learned to

love the joys of English cuisine. God bless her! “You guys used to not be able to do a cup of coffee at all! I

would go on tour and the coffee was the powdered kind, but now I can get a strong cup of espresso—that’s exciting for an American! I will never convert to tea, though. As far as food, I have a weakness for things which are not terribly good for me, but taste great on a cold rainy day, like steak and ale pies, and Indian food—especially in the Midlands—is so good!” Jamie Hailstone

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