Jentri Colello

by Dan Vierck
August 2008

Jentri Collelo

Jentri Collelo

Jentri Colello could fool anyone. The band has been together for less than two years, this incarnation for less than six months, and the lead singer and initial song writer, Jentri Colello herself, has only been playing out slightly longer than the band has been together. Regardless, Colello is as confident on stage with her songs as any pro, having survived a weekly spot at the Local Tavern in Madison for some time, and backed by a band of two long-time friends who have been playing since birth and one area alt-country fixture.

Colello is quick to clarify that this is not a singer-songwriter operation with her bringing finished songs to backing band. “I’ll play [what I’ve been working on] probably halfway through and they’ll jump in and do whatever. It’s really relaxed. I prefer not too give them any guidelines because I think the best part about playing with other people is seeing how they hear it and then seeing how they manipulate it.”

Her name, it seems, was simply the best name they could find. “We were originally playing under a band name and the guys said ‘Your name is kind of a cool name, it kind of sounds like a band name anyway, lets just play under that.’ I could really care less, but at the same time, I was a little bit apprehensive because as soon as people hear just a name think it’s just another singer songwriter, they’re not going to bother. They [the band] have so much say in how the songs are completed. I really, really hate taking anymore credit than they do.”

On the band’s new EP, “Bird of Prey,” released July 11 at the High Noon Saloon supported by The Blueheels and Decibully, the fleshed out songs are smooth and for the most part have the drive of a good rocking chair. It’s a summer evening, dark, cool and comfortable and you’re out on your porch rocking and reflecting on somber moments of your life. That’s the sound they’ve got going on.

In person it’s a bit more kick than recorded, but that might just be the live environment. On “Plane” the band works the best. There’s plenty of fun with all the instruments, instead of focusing on complementing the rhythm guitar and voice in front. The guitar and voice are strong enough to lead the songs though, as they often do. Colello sings a little lighter than Nora Jones, letting herself sound fragile, but emotionally insistent without any of emo’s tune-breaking warbling or shouting.

When it’s just her, or her with lead guitarist Josh Harty, the songs seem to have even more weight. Without the punctuation of percussion and the bounce of bass, the songs are left to really float around like ghosts, emotionally evocative and haunting.

A fresh out of the shadows talent supported by seasoned area pros, Colello looks forward to Jentri Colello solidifying their sound, “I think the most important thing is not just to come up with a batch of songs that we’re going to be proud of for the next ten years instead of the next six months but also be able to say something instead of like, ‘This is our 50’s song and this is our country song.’ Maybe I’ll never know what I sound like.”

The band or Colello herself (check for details) will be playing Patchwork’s CD release party at The Frequency Aug. 15, then playing The Project Lounge Aug. 29 with ATLATL and iCARUS HIMSELF and the band will also be performing at the Willy St. Fair Sept. 21.

Where it came from though, is clear, “It’s been me being really influenced by the people around me and them being really supportive. Blueheels has been an influence since the first time I saw them over three or four years ago, and watching them evolve has been a big inspiration because I know that we could sound completely different in four years. To have such an incredibly talented and tight-knit group of musician friends in Madison is definitely the biggest inspiration. I can’t really state that enough.”

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