Let It Shine
On her fourth album, Let It Shine, Nashville based songwriter Colleen McFarland takes an in depth look at relationships, past and present, tying her perspective in tastefully with poignant musical phrasings that further accentuate the underlying themes Let It Shine conveys. "It's about falling in love, relationships that have not come to fruition, how I've come to terms with past relationships and dealt with their closure," says McFarland. 'Sometimes I also take a bit of reality and create a story that isn't always mine as well'. There's a thoughtfulness to her music that emanates through every polished composition, a casual delivery paired with passionate, meaningful lyrics and a steady band led by co-producer/guitarist Thomm Jutz, with a stellar group of backing musicians whose past and present touring roster include Nanci Griffith, Doc Watson, Bonnie Raiit, Bruce Hornsby, Ricky Skaggs, Kim Richey, John Prine, and Lucinda Williams. They provide a balanced fullness to each of McFarland's 13 captivating original songs, each one looking deeper and deeper into the relationships that have helped shape this composed artist's life. 'Let It Shine' proves a fitting outlet for Colleen's experiences. "I don't have any children, but each album I make is really a birth of my ideas and experiences in life," she posits. "You put an incredible amount of work into each project, and what comes out is really unique and special." The youngest of nine children, Colleen grew up in a three bedroom, one bathroom house in Jennings, Missouri, USA singing whatever music her parents, and one brother and seven sisters played on the radio and family turntable. After getting her 'feet wet' as a soloist in church weddings and at school, Colleen became a professional entertainer at the age of fifteen, performing throughout the Midwest in local bands and orchestras. Writing music at an early age, her voice and songs reflect the influences of her Midwestern roots, as well as soul and blues, and artists like Neil Young, Aretha Franklin, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, Lucinda Williams, and Gillian Welch. After paying her way through college with odd jobs, scholarships and musical gigs, Colleen graduated cum laude with a bachelor's degree in music performance from the University of Missouri in St. Louis. She moved to the Northeast to further her singer-songwriter career, and performed at many venues, including the Tin Angel, The Point, The Lansdowne Folk Club, and The Bitter End, while also performing in many coffee shops and at festivals, including the Newton Colony/XPN Music & Arts Festival in Collingswood, NJ featuring The Mavericks, and Lucinda Williams. She has shared the stage with Freedy Johnston, Kim Richey, Audley Freed, Reeves Gabrels, Jeff Black, Jeffrey Gaines, Lucy Kaplansky, Frank Black, and Entrain to name a few. Colleen has recorded and co-produced four independent cds, 'Speaking In Rhymes', 'Three Miles From Odessa', 'Beautiful Lie', and her most recent, 'Let It Shine' (on her own label 9th Child Records). She also worked as a voice-over and jingle talent, recording commercials and industrial spots for Nike, Fox Television, Polygram Video, and was the featured soprano for Bernard Herrmann's (of Alfred Hitchcock fame) post-mortem Opus 6. Moving to Nashville in 2003, Colleen has performed solo and with her band at 3rd and Lindsley, The Bluebird Cafe, Borders Books & Music, The Basement, Douglas Corner, The French Quarter Cafe, and The Family Wash. Colleen also sings with several Nashville bands including Soul Food, led by guitarist/pedal steel player Pete Finney (Dixie Chicks/Patty Loveless) featuring Jen Gundermann on keys (Last Train Home/Jayhawks), Ken Coomer on drums (Wilco) and Dave Jacques on bass (Emmylou Harris/Patty Griffin). Colleen has frequently joined guitarist Reeves Gabrels (David Bowie's Tin Machine) singing blues and funk at the Family Wash and sung backup with Curt Perkins (Jouse Rouse) at The Basement and Family Wash in Nashville. Colleen has toured in Europe, including performances in Germany, England and Norway. Her show with Norwegian songwriter Peter Nova at Pub Ampfield in Gjovik, Norway was voted best concert of 2006 by Frode Hermanrud, journalist for Oppland Arbeiderblad, their song 'I Do' (2008 release) was recently one of the top 10 songs played on Norwegian radio. Colleen licensed two of her songs to Universal Studios in January of 2006 for the DVD release of the television series Northern Exposure and recently signed a licensing deal for film and television with Universal Studios along with Grammy nominated co-writing partners John Mattick and Rodney Lawson of Crew 22 Productions. They recently had two original songs on the CBS series 'Swingtown' premiering on September 5, 2008. Colleen's songs can be heard on radio stations across the U. S. and Europe, including WRLT in Nashville, WXPN in Philadelphia, and as far away as Paris, France, on NSEO "Keep It Country". Colleen was also picked for Best of Show 2006 for 'The Miller Tells Her Tale', a popular Americana internet radio podcast from Edinburgh, Scotland, and her songs have also been featured on BBC Radio 2 with Bob Harris and Bryan Burnett of BBC (Brand New Country). Colleen is gearing up for her premiere showcase at Far West Folk Alliance Conference in Irvine, California in November of 2009.