Nuala Honan is an Australian-born dynamo artist. After the success of her 2013 debut album ,’The Tortoise’, Nuala returns from a year long sabbatical, having had some distance from the symptoms of life as a skint troubadour, harvesting 15 years of experience with a fresh sound that lies somewhere between her rural desert upbringing, and her fierce female pop contemporaries. Her voice celebrates the same duality, sliding naturally from beguiling sweetness to raw power as the song demands. You can expect her usual charm and breathtaking voice, but with a little less strings and a little more noise. Driven by post-punk rawness yet still, audaciously, featuring moments of operatic singing over the tumultuous drums, Nuala wields her Telecaster and leads a killer band in a pop-drama, exploring the strength in vulnerability and connection.
Nuala has that uncanny ability to write new songs that sound like they have been written before, somehow conjuring the sense that the lyrics have been worn smooth by the passage of time, balancing vulnerability with emotional power and a defiant optimism in the face of life’s challenges. Her voice celebrates the same duality, sliding naturally from beguiling sweetness to raw power as the song demands.
Originally from rural outback Australia, Nuala spent a few years in Adelaide at boarding school and a year out in the world after, where she was awarded the South Australian Music Industry Award for Most Outstanding Female Vocalist before moving to England aged 19, following her family's musical heritage and an adventurous music scene.
After independently releasing 'Lost Cabaret' in 2008 with Devon based band ‘Alchemy Quartet’, the band was invited to play a prestigious slot on Glastonbury Festival's Avalon Stage. She has performed on major stages at most of the UK’s festivals including Womad, Greenman, Bestival, Wilderness, Boomtown, and Larmer Tree.
Nuala’s 2013 debut album, The Tortoise, was played and produced by Nuala’s tight-nit community of fellow musicians; even the cover is designed by a personal friend. However, the closeness of the creative crew behind the album does not mean it is another example of that home-brewed, stripped down style that has dominated much of the acoustic music scene in Britain for the last decade.
In fact, the opposite is true. Early on Nuala and Ben Capp, Woodshed Studio owner and the album’s engineer, decided that they wanted the album to be meticulously produced. In fact, this is one of the reasons the album is called the Tortoise; no part of the process was to be rushed. The result is a record that sounds so accomplished that it could come from any of the big producers of country in Tennessee’s ‘Music City,’ Nashville.
This sense of community is essential to Nuala’s work, and is partly a result of her own creation. She hosted a music showcase, Live in the Lion’s Den, which ran weekly for 6 years on a Tuesday at The Golden Lion, Bristol. Tuesday night's promised to be the most consistent evening of quality weekly entertainment in Bristol with acts travelling from all over the country and abroad to play this institutional residency. The night played an important part in the greater Bristol music community and is sorely missed.
Nuala is currently working on her follow up record alongside writing and performing with old-time trio Boogaloo String Band, bluegrass trio Medicine Creek, touring the gig theatre spectacle We Are Lightning and starting work on her second collaboration with poet Sally Jenkinson, more details on the 'PROJECTS' page.
It is important to note Nuala is a great supporter of women in music, you can find out about a project she founded on advocating for women, working on broadcasting for BCfm Radio in Bristol at theworldislistening.com.
Nice stuff people say...
"She is an amazing guitarist. You don’t always notice when you watch her perform, because she’s got this voice that makes you feel like the bottom of your spine is melting and your toes are dipped in honey, and it’s kind of inveigling, but she is also a kick-ass musician and composer." Sally Jenkinson, for Folly
"The performers are all superb, especially Nuala Honan's beautiful, soaring vocals which can induce even the hardiest audience member with goosebumps." The Post, Bristol - for Death & Treason, Rhyme & Reason
"The delivery is saucily gothic and deliciously deadpan, with the highly talented and original folk-scene stalwart, Nuala Honan providing a compelling comedic focal point as well as stunning vocals – this woman has bags of stage presence and a voice that can do anything from soft and tender balladry to spine-tingling soul." Rina Vergano, Venue Magazine - for Death & Treason, Rhyme & Reason
“Beautifully written songs, beautifully sung in a voice free from pretension. Nuala is a fresh breeze of talent and raw integrity in the musty, tired world of singer-songwriters.” - Dizraeli
“Bringing a fresh and captivating intimacy with the warming breath of a bubbling country heart and some traditional fireside honesty.” - Pete Hogg, Wandering Word
"A soulful artist with a knack for writing compelling and passionate songs -..the charming Nuala herself - all frothy hair, winsome smile and a voice that would smack you round the ear when you least expected it." - fRoots Magazine Online
"Opening solo… Nuala’s performance was surprisingly serious in style and purpose. The singing was gently forceful, her acoustic guitar skillfully wielded and assertive with an edge of poignancy underlying lyrics like ‘This Heart’. She claimed her due attention from the filled room…” - Tony Benjamin, Venue Magazine
”The Australian singer possesses one of those voices that seems effortless yet shocking in the power at hand. " - Evening Post, Bristol
"This is just one of the finest bands anywhere, Nuala is an exceptional songwriter and has one hell of a voice, backed up by guitar, violin, bass & drums, not a name easily forgotten."- Priddy Folk Festival
“Her voice, soft and lilting and yet brimming with intensity. Her lyrics speak to that part of me that longs for serendipitous encounters and adventures that enrich the soul. Nuala demonstrates - in the words she chooses, the cadences she wraps them up in, the music she sets them to - a gift of communication, an ability to speak an emotional language, that surely equals the gift of that beautiful voice of hers.” – Gabriel Norland, Avantrural, Wattsfest