CityBeat Magazine - "Wells to the Wall" - 2/7/12
CityBeat Magazine - review of "Live from Earth" - 4/23/12
CityBeat Magazine - Top 100 Local Music Releases of 2011 (Mind the Gap made the Top 20) - 12/28/11
"The young Blues/Rock singer/guitarist’s debut was a revelation, showcasing her diverse songwriting and stylistic influences (from The Beatles to Cream to The White Stripes, with many stops in between)." -Mike Breen
Spill It - Soundtracking the War on Christmas
Last but far from least, gifted young Blues/Rock singer/guitarist Natalie Wells and her band present a holiday shindig at Oakleys 20th Century Theatre on Wednesday at 8 p.m. Wells just released her magnificent full-length album Mind the Gap, an instantly alluring, soulfully heavy affair dripping with inspiration from some of the all-time Blues and Rock greats, from The Beatles (one of the more obvious influences, especially on the cover of the legends Hey Bulldog) and Cream (and the 60s/70s Blues Rock explosion, in general) to contemporary acts like The White Stripes and The Black Keys. (Keep an eye on the music blog at citybeat.com for a full review.) There are often a few records that are released right before the end of the year that catch me off guard and instantly end up shooting up the rankings in CityBeats annual Year in Local Recordings feature (running in next weeks issue). This year, Mind the Gap leads that class by a long shot. -Mike Breen
Ear Candy: songs we like
Metromix (CIncinnati Enquirer)
Okie doke, people. Get ready for some guitar shredding from one talented chick. Natalie Wells released this album last weekend with a good old-fashioned release party, so its hot off the presses. This particular track, according to Ms. Wells, is about addiction and that inevitable point an addict gets to when it all just stops working. This one also features local musicians Bob Nyswonger (the Raisins) and Ricky Nye. Just listen, and be in awe. Then purchase the album at www.nataliewells.net, of course.
Move over, Nancy Wilson. Move over, Bonnie Raitt. Hell, move over Jimi Hendrix. There's a new kid in town and she's smokin'. Never in my life have I seen a female guitar player play with such technique the way Natalie Wells did on Friday night.
I walked into the bar after work at midnight when the entertainment is usually packing up for the evening. This 22-year-old woman and her Cincinnati-based band (known appropriately enough as 'The Natalie Wells Band') were raring to go with another set that absolutely blew me off my seat.
I read that she played the blues, but with her double-braided hair and headscarf, I assumed that she would pull out a Grateful Dead tune or three. Much to my surprise and to the astonishment of the rest of the audience, she instead, among other songs, played Hendrix's 'Manic Depression'. This chick, who has only known how to play guitar for almost five years, pulled out riffs that, as someone who has been playing guitar for 17 years, I could only dream of playing. I daresay she even puts Hendrix himself to the test.
Wells was so impressive that her band, which was extremely talented in their own right, was almost overlooked. You have to be one hell of a musician to be able to play along to what this prodigy had to offer up. The performance was mind-boggling.
Review by Freewheelin' Magazine
Tim Halloran, Freewheelin' Magazine
The truth be told, I'm really better at writing about music than I ever will be playing it. There is a new band on the block fronted by a 22-year-old prodigy named Natalie Wells. If you have not had the chance to hear this lady play the Blues, well, you're in for a treat; she's HOT!
Natalie Wells Band Playing the Blues
Kenny Utterback, Nashville Music Examiner
Many folks around town, here in Nashville, know that I've personally been playing the blues for over forty years. Now, I don't know if that exactly makes me an expert, but I believe I can tell a bad note from a good one; particularly when it pertains to the blues. That being said, it was only this morning that I got the surprise of a lifetime from a friend of mine in Knoxville. He sent me some links to the music of the Natalie Wells Band, whose music totally blew me away! The band's existence is no secret to people in Ohio and Kentucky, so I imagine it won't be long before Tennessee gets to know the music of Natalie and her band.
When I listened to my first choice of tracks on the Natalie Wells Band MySpace page, choosing Crossroads (a favorite oldie that I've played for years), I noticed that Natalie was doing the Clapton (Cream) version. She did an amazing job of recreating the original guitar parts; better than I ever have. So, I thought, She's awesome! She can reproduce the feel of early Clapton! But, when I clicked on The Sky is Crying, an old blues tune done by Stevie Ray, I noticed that she did none of Stevie's licks, but rather played her own version of the blues. That's when I instantly became a true fan of Natalie Wells. In praise of Natalie's guitar playing, one music critic has even said that Jimi better move over, although there's plenty of room for a talent like this, in my book.
In 2003, before Natalie was even 21 years old, her Cincinnati-based band had already been nominated for--and won--the Cincinnati Entertainment Award for blues. They were nominated again in 2004 and also 2007, proving that their home town had an eye on their expertise. They have received critical acclaim in such diverse publications as the Charleston Gazette and Freewheelin' Magazine, are extremely popular in the Cincinnati and Covington, KY area and have a performing schedule that's booked into early December of this year. In fact, if you're up for a road trip to Newport, KY, this 4th of July, be advised the Natalie Wells Band will be playing at the motorcycle rally, being held there that weekend.
I'm personally planning to spread the word around town; Nashville needs to be able to see this band live. -Kenny Utterback
Goddess of Electric Guitar - Best Bet
Guitarist Natalie Wells, who brings her self-named, Cincinnati-based blues trio to town on Friday, should be known as Natalie Janie Hendrix Wells. She is a woman possessed on electric guitar, her complicated runs racing up and down the fretboard (and maybe behind, for all we know) then back up again. Her eyes roll up in her head at the most intense of these finger fireworks, her lions mane of braided, black hair whipping along with the musical meltdown underway. Good rock and blues vocals, too.
Young, Gifted and Blue
As the youngest woman fronting a blues band in the Tristate, Natalie Wells, 20, is learning those lessons. But her age invites even more condescension, she says.
'I was playing at a jam and I was tuning my guitar, and this guy's like, 'Oh, honey, it doesn't matter if it's in tune.' It used to bug me, but then you just don't pay attention to it after a while. Most people have been pretty cool about it. They think it's neat (that I'm a young woman), and then when they hear me play, they're really nice to me. -Larry Nager
While female roles in the Blues are often limited to vocalists, Northern Kentucky native Natalie Wells struts her stuff on guitar. The 21-year-old sings, too, and, with her self-titled band, she could very well be the future of the local Blues scene.
They Were All Winners
Among the big winners: Pearlene, Artist of the Year; Mallorys The First One Hundred Years, Album of the Year; and Playhouse in the Parks The Love Song of J. Robert Oppenheimer, Best Production and Best Local Premiere.
Several young lions on the music scene won awards, including Natalie Wells (Blues), Brian Newman (Jazz), Jason Ludwig (Singer/Songwriter) and Cari Clara (Best New Artist). Eight different local theater companies won CEAs, a new record.