From blues to roots rock New album for singer Christine Santelli
by : Diana Schwaeble Managing Editor
Jan 20, 2007 | 354 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Former blues singer Christine Santelli is moving a new direction with her latest album, "Tales From the Red Room." The CD features 13 terrific tracks that showcase her fabulous voice and songwriting skills.

It has already gained notice. She was recently named "Best Vocalist of the Month" by "SingerUniverse" for the track "One More Day."

Hear Santelli and her band perform the songs live at Scotland Yard on Wednesday, January 24 at 9:30 p.m.

Blues maven

Santelli has built up a loyal following from her regular monthly gigs at Scotland Yard, the local blues bar in Hoboken.

Her current band line-up includes long time member Matt Mousseeau, who is the drummer and Santelli's husband. The pair has worked together for twenty years. Other members include: Tim Tindall on Bass and Jason Green on guitar.

Even those who haven't had the good fortune to hear her sing there have been privy to the work that she put into the bar, mostly in booking the talent and building a following for the blues club, which she helped build from the ground up.

According to Santelli, initially the bar wasn't known as a blues club and needed something for the early portion of the week to get people to come in.

"I started the singer/songwriter series on Sunday nights," said Santelli, "where a bunch of us got together to work on our songs."

She was able to draw a crowd of regulars and stellar talent to play the room.

"I've brought in a lot of talented people that you wouldn't [normally] be able to see for free," said Santelli.

"I've been nurturing it ever since," added Santelli, "like teaching people to clap after a solo."

According to Santelli, a few of her favorite gigs at the Yard were the benefit shows for Hurricane Katrina, like the recent King Family Christmas show to benefit the displaced New Orleans musicians.

The early years

Santelli is a talented, seasoned musician with over 20 years of experience. Although she's called Jersey City home for the last 15 years; she grew up in Clifton Park, New York. Her love of music began early when she began taking piano lessons at 7 years-old.

According to Santelli, she was taking piano lessons, but really wanted to play guitar, which her parents finally agreed to. One of her first teachers was Peter Davis, who tried to get Santelli to practice.

"He told me, 'If you didn't have such a beautiful voice I would kick you out, but I believe in you,'" said Santelli.

Those lessons paid off. She played her first solo show at the young age of 15 at the coffee house Café Lena that also has the distinction of having had Dylan on their roster.

Santelli said that she plans to go back there this summer to play.

Tramps in Manhattan was the first well-known New York venue she played at. According to Santelli, she got her break in that room from Steve Weitzman, a former writer of Rolling Stone, who was booking that room at the time. Santelli said that he rattled off a list of places that she should play at first, but eventually gave her a shot anyway. Santelli played at Tramps until they closed.

A new direction

"Tales From the Red Room" is different than her previous albums that were blues based. According to Santelli, she was ready to move in a different direction. Santelli said that she considers the new CD to be closer to a rock/roots album.

It took her nine months to complete the album, which she produced herself along with Mousseau and Hugh Pool. According to Santelli, the name for the album was taken from her living room in Jersey City where she wrote most of the songs. Santelli said that the room is actually yellow and green, but there are two red shades give the room a reddish glow when the sun shines through.

Santelli said that one of her favorite songs on the album is "Don't Follow Me," which is a melancholy ballad. Although the album is a departure from her blues roots, she doesn't think fans will have a problem with it. According to Santelli, she saw an old fan from her first album "24 Hours" at a recent show in Manhattan who came up to her and said that she really enjoyed the new material.

Whether or not listeners are blues fans or not they should appreciate the new album, which features 13 polished songs. Santelli's beautiful voice has been seasoned by years of blues singing, which positively captures the listener with its resonance and emotional depth.

The tours

Santelli has toured all over the world and played in some fabulous cities. Some previous tours have included: South Africa, France, Russia, Norway, Switzerland, and Montreal. At the Montreal Jazz Festival in 2004, Santelli was in the same line-up with Bonnie Raitt. According to Santelli, they were initially scheduled to play only one night, but they had such a great response that they were asked back for another night.

In March, the band will play in Austin, Texas for the Quadruple Bypass Festival and then from there they will continue on for a stateside tour.

Santelli said that the band has been working together on the new songs and is ready to tour. "Now is the time to get back out there in support of this," said Santelli.

Christine Santelli and her band will perform songs from her latest album "Tales from the Red Room" on Wednesday, Jan. 24 at Scotland Yard, 72 Hudson St., in Hoboken. The CD is available at Tunes in Hoboken, CDBaby.com, and through her website. For more information, visit: www.christinesantelli.com or www.myspace.com/christinesantelli.
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