In the tradition of The Cowsills and The Carter Family, Canadian-born songstress Tami Neilson grew up performing with her parents and her two brothers around North America as The Neilson Family Band. She then settled in New Zealand and lit out on her own as a country crooner adorned in vintage sound and clothing — lit being the operative word as she carried voice, heart and style like a flaming torch. She rapidly picked up New Zealand Music Awards over several years for Best Female Artist, Best Country Album and Best Country Song, thanks to her pithy, bang-on verses and a voice that sounds like she swallowed Patsy Cline in one bite without chewing.
That would have been a comfortable musical space in which to nestle amongst her laurels, but with the blink of a false eyelash, Neilson strutted on, augmenting her sweetheart-of-country sound with gospel, R&B, soul and rockabilly. This hip-swinging combo became a raucous shout-out against double standards, male-based workplace cultures and the musty whore/virgin paradigm. Her trademark cheeky joy rides aloft on brawny, vigorous grooves, laced with horns and sass, meaning there’s no chance of turning this dissent into a lecture — it’s a full-blown party.
Biography by Mary-Lynn Wardle