ALBUM REVIEW: Nell Bryden “Shake The Tree”

Nell Bryden was born to a musician mother (Jane) and artist father (Lewis) in Brooklyn, New York, but before losing her heart to the folk/jazz fusion that defines her sound, Bryden spent 10 years learning cello before falling for Opera. However, upon discovering Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix, Bryden’s musical passions altered as she discovered the importance of self-expression through lyrical composition. Despite her discovery, Bryden was in no hurry for global superstardom, opting instead to study English Literature and pursue other passions. However, disasters, both natural and man-made, altered her perspectives and positions once again-with 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina both leaving Bryden displaced but inspired. Before she could blink her eyes, Bryden found her compositions had led to support slots for Counting Crows and KT Tunstall, alongside the release of her debut album “What Does It Take?” Fast forward three years, critical acclaim and a growing fanbase lead us to Bryden’s sophomore effort “Shake The Tree”.

“Shake The Tree” is far more than a simple growth of an artist. While it is fair to say that the folk and jazz influences are still at the fore, Bryden really shines on the country-tinged, with the romp-a-rific “If I Forget” and distinctly lush “Couldn’t Love You More” epitomising all that is right with “Shake The Tree”.

What sets Bryden apart from her contemporaries is that she is more than just a pretty songstress or an impressive set of lungs. She may have the power in her vocal, but every song is coloured with emotion. Bryden draws you in immediately and takes you along with her on the twists and turns of her journey.

“Shake The Tree” certainly boasts highlight moments, but it steers clear of any need to fast forward. From the tear inducing “When A Heart Breaks” through to the questioning “Mercy On Me”, Bryden knows how to engage and entertain.

“Shake The Tree” is colourful, cute, candid yet still packs a punch. A record collection is simply incomplete without it.

Reviewer: Jeremy Williams 


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