Thursday, February 2, 2012, 10:17 AM

playing WEFT Sessions Local 901
Champaign, IL
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Jonathan Widran Piece 
Friday, September 30, 2011, 04:22 PM

Since emerging on the indie scene in 2005 with her debut album Back There, Heather O’Neill has become the rare singer songwriter who addresses the tough topics that provoke and inspire- all the while keeping her fans smiling, tapping their toes and laughing to a vibe she calls “provocative blues with a comedy chaser.” While still committed to injecting “ a comical spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down ”, she tackles her toughest subject yet - misogyny and the way it manifests its self in the modern world. On her funk and R&B infused 6 song EP whose title says it all
A Feminist Manifesto

On a purely musical level, her first release since 2006’s Nine Lives, is O’Neill’s most fully realized project to date. A powerfully produced work whose catchy melodies and infectious grooves offer a beautiful juxtaposition to the powerful and frequently heartbreaking lyrics. Her crisp seductive vocals are backed by a full band, including horns, bass, drums, and special guest stars , renowned Chicago based guitarist Dave Uhrich and Jerry Goodman, legendary for his ground breaking jazz fusion work with Mahavishnu Orchestra.

“With A Feminist Manifesto I wanted to make a record that addresses the nuances of misogyny in a modern setting,” says O’Neill who cites her chief musical influences as Bette Midler, Courtney Love/Hole, Ani DiFranco, Tori Amos, and Erykah Badu.” It’s kind of the modern equivalent of John Lennon’s very bold song “Woman is the N***** of the World”, with the intent of opening people’s eyes to the fact that we have made great strides but there is still a long way to go.”

O’Neill has been sharing her deep seated emotional concepts and wry musical musings with audiences across the US and the UK for over 5 years. Playing in clubs, cabarets, colleges, coffeehouses, and festivals. Her musical diversity has driven a unique slate of bookings, from folk festivals to “hippie festivals” the STL festival and Something Fantastic Festival, as well as top clubs in NYC and Los Angeles including the Rainbow Room, Sunset Grill and Kibbutz Room. The singer has also enjoyed airplay on various podcasts and women’s, college, and international radio stations

A handful of tracks on A Feminist Manifesto layout O’Neill’s unabashed way of expressing the way she feels. The horn splashed opener “ Ballerina in a Bullfight” tackles the issue of men being intimidated by strong women and the refreshing glory of someone who is in touch with his feminine and masculine sides. So he’s not “afraid of the light from a firefly.” Using the grace and power of a bullfighter as a metaphor for being in touch with your hardness and softness. While that song is a first person observation, the mid tempo bluesy “Tiffany Town” sharply addresses the “dumbing down” of women in popular culture.
“Monique” finds a lover musing about the partners her partner had before she came along. “1,000 Springs” is about the desire to stay optimistic while the world is beating you down.

“This EP reflects where I am in a peaceful kind of way. The music sounds happier to me than my previous works. I feel my lyrics still have a tendency to call out the silliness of the world around me. But I have found an acceptance for the way it goes
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