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Joan Zen | Intramission

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United States - Montana

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Urban/R&B: Soul Urban/R&B: Neo-Soul Moods: Type: Lyrical
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by Joan Zen

A lyrically passionate and deeply personal neo-soul record - powerful, moving vocal performances combined with unique instrumental chemistry
Genre: Urban/R&B: Soul
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. If I Only Could
2:43 $0.99
2. With You In Me
5:17 $0.99
3. Casually Acquainted
3:47 $0.99
4. Getting Out
3:47 $0.99
5. Don't Call Me Friend
4:20 $0.99
6. Just What The World Needs
2:40 $0.99
7. Watch Us Fall
4:45 $0.99
8. Over The Counter
4:56 $0.99
9. Push Of A Button
4:42 $0.99
10. I Ever Never
3:26 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Who’z Joan Zen?

Joan Zen and her band Soul Evolution are an original, funky neo-soul musical experience, which has been "regaling audiences with their high-energy live show". Their debut album, Intramission, has been characterized as an "eclectic amalgam of original tunes" on which the "band slips from funk to rock to plaintive balladry with ease. Passionate lyrics stand out above well-designed arrangements" (Lively Times, May 2005, Mariss McTucker).

Joan Zen is a “chanteuse of the first order with a voice full of character and conviction and playfulness and soul”(Joe Nickell, The Missoulian, February 2005). Born in Memphis, Tennessee and raised near Atlanta, Joan Zen was steeped in blues, jazz, gospel, and soul from a very young age. Intramission, the debut album from this sultry singer, is a “unique mixture of funky-soul, rock and blues” (Greg Lemon, Ravalli Republic, March 2005) and her live show mixes reggae and hip-hop together to create an original neo-soul sound which reflects the diversity of her musical tastes.

Along with main band members, Joan Zen on vocals, PRS guitar endorsee, and Jason Hicks on sax, drums and keys, Intramission features fine musicianship from L.A. based drummer Michael Bedard, San Diego based guitarist Dylan Ankney, and Ted Pence on bass, as Joan Zen's core musical foundation. These artists have been creating music together in many forms since the early 90's, even though they are all in their mid-thirties. Their incredible musical chemistry makes this album organically magical. Also adding awesome, screaming guitar solos on Intramission is Robb Kunkel on such songs as "If I Only Could" and "Push of a Button". Donald Maus features his ultra melodic and intuitive bass playing on his Messenger Signature electric upright bass on "Getting Out" and "Over the Counter".

Joan Zen and Soul Evolution can be seen showcasing in Western Montana and the Western United States as they tour to packed houses. Joan Zen delivers live music with soul, passion and power. This debut, self-produced album has already inspired an incredible response by fans and friends. Joan Zen is recording their follow up album, entitled Youniverse, including new original works, like "No Motivation", "The God in You", "Chill" and "Mother Terra". Superstar Huey Lewis will be featured playing harmonica on two songs and will sing a duet with Joan Zen on Youniverse, scheduled to be released Fall 2006. Joan Zen appreciates the ZEN-sational support!



to write a review

Jim Strawser

Funky soulful blues voice!!
Deb has that rowdy roadhouse blues voice that resonates in your mind. She has the pipes to do the Blues, and belt it out with the best of them. Being a blues fan, I lean towards her blues side and wish she would take a shot at doing a blues CD, otherwise i find this CD the finest work she has done to date, and I play this CD on www.softsoundsradio.com. Congrats Deb, your career and the band are just getting warmed up Hugs JIM

Mary Cronan

soulfully jazzy, lyrically satisfying, and emotionally uncompromising
With full-bodied female vocals, complex instrumentation, grooving rhythms and funky time changes, Joan Zen's Intramission is soulfully jazzy, lyrically satisfying, and emotionally uncompromising. Battling addictions, losing dysfunctional family members, and escaping abusive relationships are all situations handled with disarming honesty mixed with a very compassionate sense of humor that leaves redemption in its wake. Although deeply personal, the album cleverly critiques modern neuroses on such tunes as "Just What the World Needs" and "Push of a Button", with the kind of intelligence that makes you wish you'd written them yourself! Musically eclectic, "Watch Us Fall", perhaps the album's crowning achievement, encompasses all the album's greatest strengths, personal and universal, exhibiting mindfulness with a clarity that verges on satori! I listen to this album all the time and I love it!

Missoula Independent

serious classic rootsy rock with soulful, sultry delivery
There is a serious classic rootsy rock feel to the self-released debut by the Hamilton (by way of San Diego) band Joan Zen [and Soul Evolution]. The effort hinges on Deborah Hicks’ (aka Joan Zen) soulful, sultry delivery and is at its best when her vocals are pinned up against straight-ahead rock riffs and drums in tunes like “If I Could” and “Casually Acquainted.” I can just picture bar stools swiveling away from the televised ballgame and toward the stage as Hicks belts out her finest Chrissie Hynde impression on “Acquainted”: “As I’m sifting through the memories of you, it won’t let me be until we meet again.”

When Intramission downshifts to a coffeehouse groove, it continues to evoke a mature and refined sound. “Getting Out” and “I Ever Never” have hints of the Cowboy Junkies, and “Don’t Call Me Friend” is a multi-layered, jazz-infused ballad that plays with its timing and vocal harmonies to great effect.
Deborah (Joan Zen) is joined on the album by her husband/drummer/keyboardist/saxophonist Jason, and the two are reportedly in the studio working on another release scheduled for later this year. Here’s hoping the next has the same old-school energy and seasoned hand as their first. (Skylar Browning)

The Missoulian

great, rootsy, ever-so-slightly-jazzy music
We can be honest around here, right? We're all friends. We know the state of things, though we don't talk about it openly all that much. But in our honest moments, we can still admit some of the facts: The fact that most of today's contemporary folk and folk-rock is nothing but bland, monochromatic, smiley-faced gunk; the fact that the Bitterroot Valley hasn't exactly been a hotbed of musical activity of late; the fact that most self-produced records could have desperately used the help of a professional producer and the talents of professional musicians.
At the very least, we can admit these things right now, as a way of contextualizing this: Joan Zen proves all those expectations and prejudices wrong.
You expect a singer who might have better spent time in voice lessons first. ... And instead, you get Deborah Hicks (aka Joan Zen), a chanteuse of the first order, with a voice that's full of character and conviction and playfulness and soul.
You expect a record that sounds like it was taped in a closet · And instead, you get "Intramission," a warm, deftly mixed album with layered background vocals that make you want to join the chorus the first time you hear them.
You expect undercooked blandness·and instead, you get "Don't Call Me Friend," a complexly arranged puzzle of rock counterpoint and multiple time-signatures underpinning soaring vocals. And then you get "Just What the World Needs," an unabashedly pretty song that seems to poke fun at all your expectations:
"Just what the world needs /
A newer model, the same old song·Just what the world needs /
The next best thing the big deal·"
No, Joan Zen's "Intramission" ain't your typical homemade CD of homemade music. For that, thank Deborah Hicks (aka Joan Zen) and her drummer/saxophonist-husband Jason, two Hamilton residents who moved to the Bitterroot a couple years ago from San Diego.
Okay, yeah, so they're not REALLY from the Bitterroot; and worse, they're Californians! But when you hear their band perform their music, you're likely to forgive and forget their geographical roots, and just concentrate on that great, rootsy, ever-so-slightly-jazzy music.
Heck, you might even stop thinking that Californians are ruining this state - if only for a few moments.

Lorrie Young

Rarely, do you find a CD that can only be described as audibly captivating and entertaining...Joan Zen's powerful expression with Intramission, combines eloquence and compassion, creating an evocative composition of vocal and
instrument sounds. Intramission...in my opinion is a must have CD

Joseph Stevens

Awesome cd...great band...Deb (Joan) has the best female voice out there
Great cd! Funk to R&B to Rock...a tight band with an introspective modality.. spiritual overtones...well engineered work...complex vocals that the lead singer Debbie Hicks belts out like no other...she could just be the Janis Joplin that is still with us...look for this band to go big time with the release of their next cd...this is the sleeper band of the century....highly recommended!...JS

LaVonne Miller

This CD is so good, it brings out the passion and soul Joan Zen have, they truly have it together in this album!