Rachel Nelson | Change is a Thousand Hearts

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United States - Minnesota

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Folk: Modern Folk Folk: Contra Dance Moods: Type: Acoustic
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Change is a Thousand Hearts

by Rachel Nelson

Haunting melodies, crafted lyrics. Original songs ranging from mountain and Celtic stylings to blues and jazzy grooves. Nelson's "singing and idealism recall Joan Baez back in the day." - Chris Riemenschneider, Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Genre: Folk: Modern Folk
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. How Can I Keep From Singing?
2:33 $0.99
2. Into My Picture
3:48 $0.99
3. Julia Butterfly
4:06 $0.99
4. The Mirror
4:23 $0.99
5. New Decade Blues
3:16 $0.99
6. Woman of My Time
3:40 $0.99
7. The Possum Song
2:08 $0.99
8. A Thousand Hearts
4:45 $0.99
9. Electronic Herd
2:55 $0.99
10. Peaceworker's Farewell
4:23 $0.99
11. When I Forget to Sing
2:43 $0.99
12. In Spring
5:53 $0.99
13. Your One Voice
2:41 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Rachel Nelson - Artist Information

Rachel Nelson's passionate live performances connect with listeners. Mature, deft lyrics are seamlessly wedded to melodies ranging from Celtic simplicity to blues or jazzy grooves. She's been compared to Joan Baez, but might more aptly be likened to John McCutcheon for her blend of original songs, stories, political/community consciousness and sparkling live performances.

Genre: Acoustic
Secondary Genre: Folk
Solo performance:
Rachel Nelson, acoustic guitar, banjo, fiddle, hand drums, washtub bass.
Touring option:
Rachel also tours with a guitar/mandolin backup musician.

Rising Sun Productions


Chris Riemenschneider column, Minneapolis Star Tribune:
"Violin-playing folk singer Rachel [Nelson's] singing and idealism recall Joan Baez...[her CD]Change is a Thousand Hearts features songs about peace and compassion that speak to the times."

Hot Picks, Pulse of the Twin Cities:
"With a plaintive voice recalling 19th century Appalachia, a wonderful fiddle technique, and lone guitar-based songs, Rachel Nelson has emerged as a musical voice for peace...Her first CD...consists of delicate narratives...and includes not only anti-war sensibilities but also a portrait of redwood tree-sitter 'Julia Butterfly' and other originals." - Lydia Howell

Mikko Cowdery review, Echo Press, Alexandria, MN:
"[The evening's performers]are each authentic artists and consummate musicians, each playing a variety of acoustic instruments, and singing with heart in clear, rich, elegantly blended voices. And if that's not enough, all three women are accomplished poets who write their own songs with humor, heart and intelligence.

The real magic of the performance...grew out of the love these women have for the music, and the joy they so obviously share in performing together."

The diverse paths of a multi-talented artist are converging on a new focus for Rachel Nelson. "These days, I claim the old Celtic tradition of the bard, which held that a song, a story, and a poem were simply three versions of the same thing-the oral tradition of live performance."

Musically, songwriting is coming to the fore in Nelson's recent work, as demonstrated by her new CD of original songs, Change is a Thousand Hearts. Some of her originals have roots in the Celtic/Appalachian tradition she has performed for years, while others have a swing or bluesy feel. Her voice changes to suit each genre, and she enjoys "pushing the edges out" in her arrangements of the old traditional tunes.

During the last five years, as she added more original songs to her performances, Nelson began to experiment, including occasional poems and stories in her sets. Her passion for live performance was moving toward a container that included all three art forms in one mix.

In 2000, Nelson performed her first BARD:LIVE! offering, a show called No Time Like the Present. In it, she combined traditional Appalachian and Celtic songs with original songs, stories, and poems for a powerful effect. To her delight, the show was as fun to create as it was to perform: "It was a challenge to me as a writer to weave together many stories, many songs, in the service of one greater story."

The wild card in scripting BardLive shows is the audience itself, says Nelson: "I think of performing as communicating, so I'm always trying to 'listen' to my audience. Depending on what I hear, or see, I could throw over my best-laid plans in the service of the show's main idea. So there's an element of improvising in the moment."

To hone this theatrical sense of improvisation, Nelson has studied with master physical acting teacher Kari Margolis for the last four years. This training adds acting know-how to Nelson's long list of theater music credits. She has composed, directed, or played music for Margolis-Brown Theater, At the Foot of the Mountain Theater, In the Heart of the Beast Puppet & Mask Theater, the Radisson Playhouse, and Park Square Theater, all of Minnesota; Appalachian State University's drama department in North Carolina; and Tennessee's Wood and Strings Puppet Theater.

Nelson began her performing career playing fiddle and banjo in old-time and contra dance stringbands, including Mama's Apron Stringband, Buttermilk Hill, Spider on Ice, and Joe Shannon's Appalachian Acoustic Ensemble. Later, with her solo old-time act, she honed the performance craft, working each show as a blend of songs and stories designed to make a real connection with her audiences. Her recent BardLive shows have found her expanding with confidence into the swing, jazz, and bluesy grooves of her original songs.

"Live performance has always been the heart of what I do," she says. "I'm a communicator."



to write a review

Dale Moe

Great music with something for everyone.
This CD has a great variety ranging from folksy to gospel to blues sliding towards a bit of celtic. Very enjoyable CD that does not fall into one style, but rather, the music reaches out to grasp you with more than one ultimate favorite rendition. Great compellation Rachel!!!