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Take A Listen

We weren’t just kidding when we told you the fabulously talented women in our We Can Do It! showcase were going to bring the house down. Wednesday night, Rock On Philly was proud to host a powerful and fun evening at Milkboy featuring performances by some of Philly’s own fantastic women in music: Tara Hendricks, Victoria Watts, and CC Davis. In celebration of Women’s History Month, these women rocked the crowd and played a memorable show.

The amazing Monica McIntyre warmed up the crowd with her gorgeous cello and soul set; her voice a chill-inducing force that filled the room. There’s an earnest, heart-filled aspect to her work, and opening the show with such honesty set the crowd in the perfect mood for the rest of the night.

Our first mainstager was Tara Hendricks, and boy can that girl sing. There’s a wonderful soulful quality to Tara’s work, the likes of Amy Winehouse and The Noisettes — both of whom she covered. Her band is tight, in-sync, and the perfect complement to Tara’s powerful voice. Her music is not something you want to miss. A perfect first act, Tara has finely mastered her cheeky blues sound, and she’s got talent to spare. Her original work is engaging, exciting, and well-crafted. She’s a unique voice in the Philly music scene and can sing circles around just about anyone.

Next to the stage was Victoria Watts, Philly’s rock queen. Victoria spoke out in our show preview about the status of women in the music industry, and her talent was clear as day on the Milkboy stage. With an energetic set, Victoria brought a punk-rock feeling to the mix, throwing in an excellent Florence + The Machine cover. Victoria is certainly a powerful figure in the Philadelphia music scene, and she’s got femme rock down pat.

Last up was CC Davis, who opened her set with an astonishing cover of “Proud Mary“. She got the house bumping for the final hour of the night, bringing incredible energy, a hefty dose of soul, and indomitable force to the stage. She commanded the attention of the room through her set and brought the evening to a wonderful close. With so much power, it was impossible not to be captivated by her performance. Her set was the perfect ending to a perfect night of good people and good music.

Our own Jennifer Logue got up between sets to show the crowd what she’s made of, singing her original work before introducing the next act. A rare treat for Rock On Philly audiences!

From the first song to the last, these women certainly delivered and showed Philadelphia just how good they are. We couldn’t have picked a more fitting trio of talent for a celebration of Women’s History Month; Jen herself declared this was one of the best showcases we’ve ever put on. Follow these fantastic women on twitter — @taragirl, @Victoria_Watts1, @accessdavis — to keep up with their happenings. These ladies are a force to be reckoned with.

From the age of seven, Monica McIntyre was immersed in orchestra, alongside her nine-year-old sister, Marcia. Growing up, McIntyre and her cello became one, and her sister likewise with the violin. McIntyre spent countless hours performing in the church choir and DC Youth Orchestra; then spent 15 years in Pennsylvania, developing her own unique genre, before moving to New Orleans in 2010 and joining the Honeypots.

It Soon Come, with perfectly crisp tracks recorded at the Living Room studio, showcases the angelic voices of McIntyre and her sister, and their beloved cello and violin. Adding to the mix her own slapping and plucking techniques, McIntyre’s cello performance becomes an integral element in her powerfully moving lyrics. Accompanied by dynamic vocals from Thea Bashful, and soft, subtle percussion and oboe by Mike Jacobson and Reggina Thompson, the tunes are powered by the voices of these three women, weaving in and around the songs, melting into a soothing and rhythmic mixture of sounds that blend the worlds of gospel and soul, blues and reggae, world rhythms and new spirituals.

McIntyre wrote all the songs herself, except the first song, “Wade in the Water,” an old field-song that she arranged. And it’s the perfect segue to the common thread throughout her songs—the nurturing and healing power of the Mississippi River merged with the spiritual presence of the ancestors. “It Soon Come,” the title song, spotlights McIntyre’s Jamaican ancestry with a charming reggae sound. Truly a feel-good song with a positive message, the fun and catchy reggae tune, “Dontcha,” is sure to be a hit. You can feel the Jamaican influence throughout the record, commingled with soulful, gospel-like songs like “Think of Me,” that reach out to ancestors in a powerfully moving spiritual performance. It Soon Come, a record that warms the soul, is one you can listen to over and over, and enjoy more and more.

Monica McIntyre’s second album It Soon Come is a departure from how she introduced herself. This album is stripped down to strings, the oboe, percussion, McIntyre’s singing, and her harmonies with her sister, Marcia McIntyre. Monica uses her cello in a way that lets the lyrics of her songs ride on. The songs’ strong choruses allow you to sing along after merely a verse, getting stuck it in your head for the rest of the day. Monica introduces this style with her rendition of “Wade in the Water,” the first track. The rest of the album is original compositions written by Monica. In the track, “Freedom Song,” she chants “Sing me a freedom song, all day and all night long, freedom, freedom, freedom.” The pulse found in that song, the desire and urge to hear, and sing songs of meaning, beats through the entire album. And that desire to hear those songs must have been one of the major inspirations for her to make this album. Throughout the album, motifs such as love, higher spirituality, and a connection with the earth arise. This is all done in a way that New Orleanians can relate to, such as when she sings “The Mississippi River, takes them all away, she takes all my blues away,” in the track, “River Mother.” You’ll catch yourself singing to the songs and walking to her cello after you hear It Soon Come.

A lovely radio interview on New Orleans' WTUL station.

The cello is peaking in popularity as an instrument in jazz and world music and even in rock ‘n’ roll. The latest release by cellist, vocalist, and songwriter Monica McIntyre showcases the instrument on a compelling collection of songs that span the breadth of popular music. She celebrates the recording at Café Istanbul tonight in the New Orleans Healing Center.

It Soon Come marks a decidedly different approach to McIntyre’s previous album due to the instrumentation being limited to strings, oboe, and percussion.

The album is stripped down musically compared to her debut, but the strong vocals make it feel intimate and filled with soul.

Monica is joined on vocals by her sister Marcia McIntyre (she also plays violin) and by Thea A. Olufumilayo Bashful.

John Chelew, whose music credits include The Blind Boys of Alabama and Ruthie Foster, produced the album.

“Dontcha,” a featured song on It Soon Come can be streamed here. Copies will be available at the release party, which begins 9:30 PM. This night will also feature the debut of the music video for the title track It Soon Come, which was directed by Philadelphia native Muthi Reed.

The band at Cafe Istanbul will feature Marcia McIntyre on vocals and violin, Thea A. Olufumilayo Bashful on vocals, Reggina Thompson on oboe, and Mike Jacobsen on percussion.

http://wgno.com/news/stories/monica-mcintyre/#joCOxmsemFsMgIuP.01

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-7u94ePz-NE

Monica McIntyre does not know why she was chosen to thank Abe Pollin and Melvin Cohen on that May afternoon in 1988 when they promised college scholarships to her fifth-grade class at Seat Pleasant Elementary.

But she remembers all the television cameras and the kiss Pollin planted on her right cheek, a kiss that was displayed on the front page of The Washington Post the following day.

Monica was a smart, talkative kid who learned the cello as a youngster and plays professionally as an adult. Her mother, Lorna, had immigrated from Jamaica, and, coincidentally, had worked as a cook for the Pollin family years before her daughter ended up on a stage with Abe.

Her father, Paris, was a teletype operator at the Goddard Space Flight Center, and, with his wife, had great aspirations for his two daughters. The offer of the scholarship represented a chance to make those aspirations come true.

Monica attended Eleanor Roosevelt High School and then Drexel University in Philadelphia. However, she and her parents say they grew disillusioned with the fine print of the scholarship offer. At first, the family believed that the businessmen were offering to pay full college tuition at any public or private college. Later, they learned that Pollin and Cohen were willing to match the cost of in-state tuition at the University of Maryland.

The McIntyre's say they did not get the Dreamer money they needed to pay Monica’s tuition at Drexel, leaving her with more than $10,000 in debt. Tracy Proctor, who was hired by Pollin and Cohen as the Dreamers’ mentor, said the businessmen fulfilled their obligation by paying more than $14,000 to Drexel on Monica’s behalf.

Monica did not graduate from Drexel, coming within a handful of credits before getting a job at an interior design firm. She now lives in New Orleans, where she plays the cello and is learning carpentry.

Monica E. McIntyre , "Bruised Fruit," from Blusolaz
How did it come together?

When I write lyrics, I hear melody immediately, if not simultaneously. By the time I've completed a verse I know where I want the song to go. Having played cello for 20 years, I hear music in everything, so my ears naturally hear melodic lines and phrasing when I write or speak lyrics. Most songs I've written aren't as traditional as this. This one's easily the most physically tangible. Everyone can relate because heartbreak is such a common human condition. When people listen to my album, they generally say "What's up with "Bruised Fruit'? -- implying they've been there and were taken there again while listening to this song.

What makes it so special?
My favorite element of speech is metaphor; I think in it, I speak in it, I live in it. "Bruised Fruit" really carries the image of this fruit throughout the whole song, imbuing it with human qualities. You can relate to the fruit and I think that's what causes the song to work so well lyrically and emotionally.