Local singer-songwriter Celia called her terrific debut album "Break". This CD was an impressive collection of bewitching songs that brought to mind the indie-folk-pop of people like Beth Orton. Born in Vermont, Celia grew up in England; there is something distinctly British about her music, which can deliver the soaring sweep of Kate Bush or the anguished bite of P.J. Harvey. Sunday at 8p.m. Celia returns to the stage at The Elevens in Northampton with a new band featuring the tasty and melodic guitar playing of Joe Boyle.
Johnny Memphis, Daily Hampshire Gazette Hampshire Life
Celia's new CD Break is cool and entrancing, wonderful-strange-fascinating-speaking-in-tongues
Johnny Memphis-Music Director, WRSI
...Celia has quite the band, a veritable super group of local veterans that includes Jim Weeks (guitar), John O'Boyle (bass), Sue Burkhart (guitar), and Chris Ryan (drums). It's no wonder she'd prefer to have them around.
She just as likely would prefer to have every weapon available to re-create the brilliant sound of "Break," the 10- song set of Celia originals that has to rate as one of the more compelling local releases of the year.
Celia has the ability to float above genres with her ethereal voice. While the music touches on folk, jazz (Norah Jones fans will love this), and electronic pop, Celia's voice soars above it all, worthy of a descriptive phrase that has yet to be spoken.
Donny Moorhouse, Springfield Republican
Celia's music is soulful and sensitive. Her voice is flexible and her songs resonate.
"Like You" is a groovy number. Celia blends folk with r-n-b and it works well.
"Magical" is a sultry song where Celia sings like Lauryn Hill. "Hell is in Your Mind" is a rockin' song that sounds rather like PJ Harvey. It puts the emphasis on Celia's extraordinary voice.
"No Good Man" is a classic blues belter. Celia puts her heart into this song of a bad man. "You mistook me for your ma" she chides.
"Don't Dance" shivers with rage. It's one of the singer's more folksy songs.
"Break" is the work of a gifted artist.
Anna Maria Stjärnell , www.collectedsounds.com
"...'Break' would be worth the purchase just to have the second to last song, 'Tenement Waltz', which is utterly haunting and subtely psychologically disturbing, like some half-remembered Poe tale. The calmly insistent piano melody supports Celia's beautiful breaking vocals and aging-centered lyrics, which are dealt with in such a straightforward manner it's unnerving. This is something to cry yourself to sleep to and could quite possibly be the most bittersweetly depressing song ever written - something only...some obscure Eastern Europan art film...could evoke."
Val Barbaro, Northeast Performer
August 28, 2003 http://valleyadvocate.com/gbase/Music/content?oid=oid:30750
Celia , a singer-songwriter based out of Northampton, sings wastrel white girl blues folk rock, along the lines of Fiona Apple but with an odder, janglier inflection. She seems to be one of those deeply introverted people who, rather than write bad poetry, or fall into narcissism, has found a way to tranform her oddly-calibrated perspective into art.
Break , her new album, is pretty great, drenched in a hothouse atmosphere, like something by Apple or Tori Amos, but distinguished by more complicated beats. There's a little bit of Mary J. Blige in there too, and many of her songs could, with little dissonance, accomodate an MC rhyming through the resonant vocals.
If she sounds two-thirds as good live as she does on her album, her show at Harry's on Sunday, the second of what seems to be a series of CD release parties, it'll be worth the five bucks.
Daniel Oppenheimer, The Valley Advocate
..."On "Break" the waif turns into a kind of post-punk white blues mama in her song "No Good Man," while on "Hell Is In Your Mind" she half-cries, half-snarls, suggesting the kind of anger that is slowly drawn out of a usually patient person.
John Stifler, Daily Hampshire Gazette
MAN!!!!!!!! this gal is HOT!! She makes the acoustics vibe with an entirely "diffrerent" vocal sound. I haven't seen anything close to this unique style"EVER" !! This is one of a kind. This does something to me! Man you just gotta check it out.........A great addition to anybodies cd collection, this artist get's a "10+++" rating from the Reverb...... peace-out
Robert Tomberlin, cdstreet.com
Celia plugs in
Pioneer Valley singer-songwriter Celia turned to two of Berkshire
County’s top songwriters and producers for help when it came
time to record her second CD, “Break,” the release of which will
be celebrated in concert by Celia and her band (including
guitarist Sue Burkhart of Superkart, guitarist/keyboardist Jim
Weeks, bassist John O’Boyle, and drummer Chris Ryan) on
Sunday at Club Helsinki (413-528-3394). Bruce Knowlton and
Robby Baier lend instrumental and songwriting support on
“Break,” which kicks off with “You Make Me High,” an insinuating
piece of Jane Siberry-like techno-folk. The album includes other
electronic-tinged folk numbers that also draw upon the services
of Baier’s Melodrome bandmates, like “Magical” and “White
Trophy,” and one crunching rocker, “Hell Is in Your Mind,” but
Celia also mines her rootsy, bluesy side on acoustic numbers
like “No Good Man” and “100 Women.”
Seth Rogovoy, The Berkshire Eagle
"Celia has a major voice. Her music is ethereal and emotional stuff...always soulful."
The Valley Advocate Northampton MA
"This album is very original. An unusual mixture between blues and gospel, a crossing which seems very natural in Celia's case. Dark lines about alienation and isolation meet a surprising touch of trust."
The Hallandposten, Sweden
"A compelling performer, Celia conjures magic with her bluesy gospel."
Johnny Memphis, WRSI The River 95.3 Northampton MA
"Celia's While I Lay Watching sits quietly waiting to be discovered, enchanting from the first note. Imagine Maria McKee or Michelle Shocked calling attention to a songwriter of such passionate justice. Celia would not be uncelebrated for long. This is not merely a simple and profound album. It is a simple and profound statement. Her lyrics stare you in the face like a beautiful wallflower in a sea of mediocre beauty queens.
Michael Perazzetti, AntiMatters, New York NY
"The way classics were created. Raw. Powerful. Full of emotion. From the soul. Celia is the real deal. In the tradition of the greatest of songwriters."
Jay Jasch, Rarity Concerts
"...she created an honest-to-goodness spell...."
Daily Hampshire Gazette, Northampton MA
"Her best songs are frail and furious at the same time, her voice a willowy blues-folk instrument with gospel and bluegrass in the background."
Daily Hampshire Gazette, Northampton MA
"Celia's debut release While I Lay Watching cuts through a lot of musical territory. The nine cuts here meander their way through a rich landscape of American folk and roots music. Celia has a scratchy, sultry vocal style, bringing to mind visions of dustbowl winters and rickety front porches with dog and grandma close by. Her guitar and piano work have a certain haunting quality and help give the songs here a spare, voice-like back drop that accentuate her arrangements perfectly. Celia's work is imbued with an earthy spirituality and lay preacher aesthetic that brings the sparse production home for the listener. Tracks like "Kingdoms", "Man at the Pulpit" and Arthur's Song" stand out from the rest of the disc. These three songs pull together all of Celia's many influences into tight cohesive wholes, while songs like "Moonwaxing," "She", "Got Nobody", "Sweethearted Doll" and "Bitter Ends" show a strong feminine view of the world. Put all together While I Lay Watching is a wonderful release suited perfectly for that music you want to listen to on that rainy day while you're stuck at home.
Vmag, Northampton MA
"While some of the more obvious reference points for the music of the Pioneer Valley-based singer-songwriter Celia are fellow piano-playing women who sing about female blues, people like Tori Amos and Joni Mitchell, some of the more haunting piano ballads and stirring emotional portraits on While I Lay Watching, her debut album, recall Bob Dylan's lesser-known piano-based music from John Wesley Harding, New Morning and Planet Waves. Celia touches on...stark raw events on the album's nine songs."
Seth Rogovoy, The Beat, Berkshires Week, The Berkshire Eagle.