From her home base in the beautiful mountains of Western Montana, Andrea Harsell has been bringing her vibrant performing style and exceptional songwriting to audiences around the country for over ten years. With a powerful, supple voice and a passel of outstanding original songs, Andrea is more than just a major talent—she’s a force of nature.
Her music defies categorization, as she moves freely between blues, bluegrass, folk, country, and rock ‘n roll. She’s a magnetic stage presence, with loads of sex appeal and passion that reveals a love of her music as well as a strong connection to her audience. Andrea’s singing is influenced by a wide variety of artists, from Allison Krauss to Blondie. But it’s undeniably the spirit of Janis Joplin that seems to drive this vibrant, exciting performer.
Andrea has taken these great vocal influences and developed her own unique, powerfully expressive voice. Her fresh musical style is fueled by her lyrics about relationships, social issues, love (both good and bad), and the human emotional experience. This is music that’s not predictable, nor easily pigeon-holed. She’s known for her original songs spanning Sunday morning mellow folk to Friday night high energy rock ‘n roll. The songs she writes can be funny, heartbreaking, or thought-provoking, sometimes all in the same song.
This wide-ranging talent comes partly from a deep musical background. After picking up the guitar at the age of nine, Andrea also learned how to play the piano, bass, saxophone and the drums. Her curiosity for all things musical led to her great appreciation for artists across the aural and stylistic spectrum.
Her first independent CD release was “Nine Pound Hammer,” by the nationally recognized bluegrass band of the same name. The well-received 2000 album has made its way all over the world, to great reviews and critical acclaim.
Since then, Andrea has evolved from being the lead singer in that band to a wider range of experimental playing. In 2003, she formed, The Andrea Harsell Experiment. A group of accomplished musicians dedicated to the experimental format which blurred the lines between folk rock, country, blues, and jazz, while focusing on original tunes. Together, they released a live album titled, Live In Missoula 03.13.03. The album was recorded and performed live at the University of Montana and broadcast over the airwaves of College Radio 89.9 FM KBGA and on the world wide web.
Live performances include bluegrass festivals in California, Colorado and Montana, including the annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival talent competition, where she was the 2nd place finalist. Another achievement came in 2000, when she was the first place winner of the KYSS-FM Country Showdown Talent Showcase. In 2009 she was selected to perform at the River City Roots Festival, Missoula's signature festival.
Over the years, Andrea has been in bands in Japan, Hawaii and Montana. She has performed with national artists including Deep River, Hal Ketchum, Bill Kreutzmann of the Grateful Dead, and—fittingly— Big Brother and the Holding Company.
The Missoula Independent has said that Andrea has some of the “best songwriting to be heard in town.” When you’re talking about Missoula, Montana, a creative hotbed teeming with talented artists, writers and musicians, that’s a pretty bold statement. Local radio personality Tony Ravioli has also recognized Andrea’s talent, saying, “She is exceptional…bound for the top.”
“Rock and Roll Love Child” was recorded and released in 2009. The album is comprised of 12 original songs jumping genres from gospel to rockabilly. The album rose to #8 on the International Roots Rock Internet Airplay Charts (rootsrockreport.com) sharing the Top 50 Roots Rock category with Jeff Beck, Great American Taxi, Bruce Springsteen, K.D. Lang, Jack Johnson among others. The album stayed in the top 20 for four months.
Whether she’s onstage alone, strumming her acoustic guitar and singing sweetly of life’s poignant moments, or kicking out the jams as front woman of her rocking band, Andrea embodies the best of both worlds. Her radiant beauty and passionate soul pour out of her in the form of some of the most appealing, unforgettable music you are likely to hear anywhere.
Andrea is currently in the studio recording a new album with Producer Ryan Maynes.
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