Tami Neilson • Nov 23, 2018



Friday November 23, 2018
Doors 7:00PM, Show 8:00PM
Tickets: $14.99 (+SC) advance, $18 door • 19+

“There are singers, and then there is Tami Neilson, for whom the word singer just isn’t big enough.” -HMV

“A great big canyon of a voice..” -DOWNBEAT

SASSAFRASS! is a party in full swing, shaking its ass and shimmying across the dance floor in gold tassels, rhinestones and a 1960s hairdo, not giving a hot damn who is watching. Tami Neilson is throwing the party, her powerhouse vocals driving it along with lung capacity like a steam locomotive. When confronted with sexism and misogyny, she throws her head back and laughs, responding with tongue planted firmly in cheek, cutting it off at the knees.

“As I wrote this album, I noticed a theme emerging. It was like the combination of becoming a parent, losing a parent and clocking another decade all suddenly culminated into a very low tolerance for bullsh*t. I had never been one for confrontation or rocking the boat (or saying “bullsh*t”in an interview), but losing my father changed my life perspective, driving home the realization that our time here on earth is not forever. I also see my boys growing into young men and the realization that I am the first and most formative female influence they will have in their lives — that the way I treat people and allow myself to be treated is molding the way they view women on a daily basis — is a huge responsibility. By being a mother who works and travels and provides for them along with their father, who takes equal responsibility for their care, it becomes the norm that they too will be caring, loving and supportive parents and partners, who take equal responsibility in their relationships.  Apart from the typical pitfalls of sexism in the music industry (being told I was “only 20lbs away from being a star” when I was 19 yrs old and 120lbs with the waist circumference currently equal to one of my thighs), which you tend to brush off as being part of this business, I was taken aback at how greatly it was exacerbated once I became a mother. The double standard our society has toward working mothers is still very much alive and well, deeply ingrained in both men and women, and is one of the things I address on the album. The third verse in “Stay Outta My Business” is a true story. I had a full year of people (mostly women) coming up to me after my shows on tour, shaking their heads and commenting on my being away from my children, asking who was looking after them in my absence, eyes wide with horror. A man once asked me why my husband had to stay home and “babysit” while I was out on tour, having FUN. I gritted my teeth and said, “He’s their father… I believe the term you’re looking for is ‘parenting’, not ‘babysitting’.” Not once did anyone approach the two male musicians in my band, who I introduced as being a “Father of four” and a “Father of three” and question their parenting. SASSAFRASS! is the mouthy lovechild of the current social climate and my own experiences as a woman, mother and daughter. The obstacles I’ve faced simply because I am female. It’s also my attempt at challenging a society that doesn’t yet treat women equally in order to shape a better future for my children. I want them to know that their mother marched and was on the battlefield in 2018, that she did her part and created something she hoped would give women the solidarity and strength we all needed to invoke change.”

Recorded at The Sitting Room in Lyttelton, New Zealand, SASSAFRASS! was co-produced by Tami Neilson and Ben Edwards, who also co-produced her last two critically acclaimed albums “Dynamite!” and “Don’t Be Afraid”. She’s accompanied by her Hot Rockin’ Band of Rhythm: Joe McCallum (drums), Mike Hall (bass), Brett Adams (guitar) and Neil Watson (guitar and pedal steel) who have joined her on her extensive international touring schedule the past 3 years. For the first time, this tight unit is joined by a brass section, expanding Tami’s sound and making this album a broader soundscape, while strings add a lush, cinematic touch. Like a soundtrack curated for a Tarantino film, Neilson manages to deliver subversive lyrics wrapped up in vibrant candy-colored packages of soul, rockabilly, blues and Patsy Cline-esque country in equal measure.