Tami Neilson: Devil in a Dress

The world-class vocalist will bring some serious sass to the Blues on Broadbeach stages this May.

Red-hot honky-tonker Tami Neilson is no stranger to the stage or to the music industry, having toured with her family band since the age of ten.

“I had a very unusual dynamic growing up,” she explains. “I was kind of in this protective bubble because I was with my family all the time, but I also had this front row seat to the music industry that most kids of that age are not exposed to. The highs and lows, the corruption, the glamour – I was very aware of what the industry was, but at the same time very sheltered from it.”

This unique upbringing has raised someone who lives and breathes music. Particularly the music of her parents’ era.

“I do tend to gravitate naturally to the music of the fifties, sixties and seventies, and music I grew up on. Rather than being influenced by my peers I was directly influenced by my parent’s taste, so I kind of skipped this generation.

“Mavis Staples is my ultimate shero but of course she has spanned every decade since the fifties, so when I say I’ve got this great album from Mavis Staples, it’s still new music!”

These influences can be clearly heard in Tami’s sound, as she channels some serious soul diva through an impressive set of pipes. Long may have been her musical journey so far, but you can’t help but feel she’s at the top of her game right this second. Although oft-described as a country singer, she personally rejects that label.

“I think it’s funny how other people categorise your music. All my music touches on elements of country, rockabilly, soul, gospel, blues and I always tend to say that I sing an era of music more than a genre. That golden age of music in the 50s and 60s didn’t really have distinct lines.

“I guess I tend to say that I paint with the same palate, but some pictures that you paint you use more blue and some more red.”

Her most recent release ‘SASSAFRASS!’ definitely paints in shades of red and pink, with a sassy soul-rockabilly vibe and ultimate 60s glamour combined with a distinctly contemporary and often-feminist commentary, particularly in tracks ‘Devil In A Dress’ and ‘Stay Out Of My Business’.

“A reason I really love being in that aesthetic is because it’s like an act of subversion, to be presenting myself in this way,” she explains about her striking look. “My album, the lyrics and the content, I think it makes even more of an impact you’re getting to say the things that women of that era didn’t get to voice and you’re doing it with a smile on your face and sporting a beehive, tongue in cheek. It’s almost a rebellion.”

You can catch the rebellion in all its red-lipped glory when Tami Neilson hits the stages at the Blues on Broadbeach Festival being held 16 to 19 May 2019. Other headliners include Canned Heat, Eric Bibb and Harts. Visit bluesonbroadbeach.com for more.

IMAGE (c) Mrs Jones

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