Electronic Press Kit
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Short Bio (under 120 words)
A distinctive presence in the NYC Americana scene, Karen Hudson wins audiences over with her edgy wit, elegant stage presence and wry, insightful tunesmithing. Hudson has been compared to Rosanne Cash by The Village Voice, and to early Linda Ronstadt by 3rd Coast Music Magazine in Austin, Texas. On her third CD “Sonic Bloom,” produced by Eric “Roscoe” Ambel, Hudson explores some gothic territory, but refuses to be held hostage by her loss, so even her darkest songs are tempered with wry humor. The musical roots go deep and broad — it’s ‘Americana’ for people who like to mix The Rolling Stones with their Patsy Cline. She has opened for Madeliene Peyroux, Walter Salas Humara and Pete Seeger.
A distinctive presence in the NYC Americana scene, Karen Hudson wins audiences over with her edgy wit, elegant stage presence & wry, insightful tunesmithing. Hudson has been compared to Rosanne Cash by The Village Voice, and to early Linda Ronstadt by 3rd Coast Music Magazine in Austin, Texas. On her third CD “Sonic Bloom,” produced by Eric “Roscoe” Ambel, Hudson explores some gothic territory, but refuses to be held hostage by her sense of loss, so even her darkest songs are tempered with wry humor and she digs deep down to exorcise demons and give herself permission to blossom and thrive. The musical roots go deep and broad — it’s ‘Americana’ for people who like to mix The Rolling Stones with their Patsy Cline.
Sonic Bloom is also upbeat—Ambel reveals the toe-tapping heart of every number, in a production that’s equal parts “Twang” and “Thump.” Hudson drew on familiar faces from NYC’s Roots Music scene, including longtime collaborators Stephen B. Antonakos (Five Chinese Brothers/The Blue Chieftains) on guitar, bass player Skip Ward (whose credits include Steve Martin’s Grammy-winning “The Crow”), drummer Tom Curiano (Garland Jeffreys), and Skip Krevens on pedal steel. Ambel also brought in drummer Kenny Soule, and contributed some of his own trademark gritty guitar vibe.
The youngest child of five, raised in Long Island by a single mom, Hudson hammed it up in backyard plays and, later, sang Linda Ronstadt songs in acting auditions. She drew on years glued to her Toot-a-Loop transistor radio soaking up the sounds of AM radio, which included a combination of pop, soul and country as inspiration to pen her own songs. After moving to NYC, she released two well-received discs, “Bittersweet” and “Hudson River View” and opened for acts as diverse as Walter Salas Humara (Silos), Madeleine Peyroux, and Pete Seeger.
On Sonic Bloom, Hudson reckons with the important men in her life while firmly staking out her own territory as a grown woman. She reflects on the loss of her brother-in-law, a man Hudson had regarded as a second father, on the deceptively chipper “Dead Letter File.” She summons up painful memories of her real father in “Mama Was a Train Wreck,” a sardonic minor key rocker, flatly stating “Daddy was a train.” Hudson revs up her honkytonk sass to belt out a New-Wave pop anthem imploring her man to “Call Me,” and sweet talking him into reconciling on “The Better Half of Me.” Temptation is examined from both sides of the equation, with the flirtatious, girl-group take of “A Woman Knows These Things,” and “Daydream,” where the forbidden tastes pedal-steel sweet. The album concludes with the jangly folk-rock anthem “The Beauty of the Now”— co-written with guitarist Steve Antonakos, who plays the catchy 12-string guitar hook— which celebrates realizing “You don’t have to work so hard, open up let down your guard . . . all you gotta do is be.”
Hudson first conceived Sonic Bloom’s song cycle as part of an art project she funded with grants. Financing the recording through a New York Foundation for the Arts fiscal sponsorship gave her the creative freedom that helped her to “think about how my work affects people and continues a legacy—whether by being an activist in song, or interpreting old folk songs, or, like me, being just another struggling artist who sings about her dead alcoholic dad.”
By affirming her belief that it’s never to late to claim your own creativity, Karen Hudson hopes that Sonic Bloom will inspire others to nourish their own roots—and cultivate their own sweet blooms. —C. Adams
“...more the honky-tonk than the wallflower kind, though she convinces more doing her own late-Rosanne Cash-style numbers...”
—The Village Voice
"Hudson has been compared to many other women singers, but the name that resonates with me is Linda Ronstadt, with the proviso that we’re talking pre-Peter Asher, albums like Silk Purse, which Lester Bangs found to be “brimming with passion and vulnerability, tremulous, yet possessed of a core of absolute strength,” words that can easily be applied to Hudson. An important difference is that Hudson writes her own songs . . . Mama Was A Train Wreck (“Daddy was a train”) is a standout in a consistently strong set." —3rd Coast Music, Austin, TX.
"With her edgy wit, elegant stage presence and a great band behind her, songwriter Karen Hudson has been
a mainstay of the New York Americana scene since the early zeros...Hudson’s matter-of-fact vocals carry the lyrics with
passion, soul, and rich dynamics, from an insistent wail to a warm, caressing timbre: she’s never sung better." —New York Music Daily
"Hudson writes without judgement and without the bitterness of hindsight, she just presents the story as it happened. It is as fitting to compare her writing to John Steinbeck’s books as it is to Woody Guthrie’s or Bobbie Gentry’s lyrics because there is a depth and understanding in Karen’s words that transcend the song." —Allen Foster, Songwriter Monthly
"Lucinda meets Gram with a driving beat, jangly guitars and pedal steel. Love lost, love found and all the real life in-betweens. This is Karen Hudson's Sonic Bloom in all its Americana beauty!" —Joltin Joe, The Mad Scientist-Radio Nowhere WMSC 90.3 FM Montclair, NJ
"Back in my neck of the woods I ambled over to The Old North Branch Inn where The Karen Hudson River Band debut its new album "Sonic Bloom." Hudson entertained a large, enthusiastic crowd...Hudson's original, autobiographical songs were heartfelt combinations of bluegrass, country and rock. The band (Steve Antonakos, Tom Curiano and Skip Ward) was hot...and I had a blast." —Jonathan Fox, The River Reporter