Showin’ Tell is:
Jeska – Vocals, Guitar
Nicolino – Drums, Percussion
Take the raw, guitar edge of late ‘70s British punk, add soulful female vocals and infuse the mix with the electrifying spirit of the current arena rock revival and you’ve got Showin’ Tell, a modern rock trio combining irresistible hooks with smoldering lyrics, an eye-catching look and flamboyant live performances. Like the beloved grade school activity that inspired its name, Showin’ Tell’s music is about sharing the fun and excitement of discovering something new. The band’s eight-song debut CD, Tuesday Afternoon delivers a potent brew of original tunes influenced by a range of artists from Kiss to Janis Joplin to Lenny Kravitz. Blending heavy drumming, melodic vocals and driving riffs, it is an ambitious first effort from an up-and-coming band. One spin of Tuesday Afternoon will leave the listener with no doubt as to why producer Jason Rubal calls Showin’ Tell “The Next Generation of Rock.”
Showin’ Tell is comprised of three dedicated musicians who are all natives of the South Jersey/ Philadelphia area. Vocalist Jeska, an actress and former Beauty Queen-turned-Rocker (she was New Jersey’s Miss Teen USA, 1996), grew up loving and emulating the vocal style of her favorite performer, Janis Joplin. At eighteen, motivated to prove she “could do what all those bands on the radio were doing,” Jeska bought a guitar and started taking lessons. “I decided pretty quickly that I hated taking lessons,” she confesses. “I wanted to be on the fast track, and I figured that I’d make greater progress if I learned the guitar on my own.”
Jeska stayed on the fast track, teaching herself to play guitar and singing lead in a popular cover band before she was even old enough to be in the bars where they performed. It wasn’t long before singing other people’s music left her creatively unsatisfied, and she started looking for other musicians to form an original band. When she met drummer Nicolino through a mutual friend, Jeska remembers, “All the pieces just magically fell into place.” Having spent several years performing high profile gigs and recording with the heavy metal band, Gothic, Nic shared Jeska’s vision and drive, and the two formed a lasting musical partnership. With the addition of Derek, a seasoned bassist, Showin’ Tell is a rock ‘n’ roll force to be reckoned with.
After two years polishing their live show and gaining an avid local following, Showin' Tell released 2004’s Adoration EP, showcasing four of the band’s most popular songs. Reviews of Adoration raved about Jeska’s Joplin-esque powerhouse vocals and the rhythmic complexity of Nicolino’s double bass drumming. Philadelphia’s Musician Resource Kitchen favorably compared the group to classic bands such as The Eagles and alternative folksters, 4 Non Blondes (whose hit “What’s Up?” Showin’ Tell occasionally cover live). An enthusiastic review from GoGirlsMusic declared Showin’ Tell a “trio of estrogen ruling suaveness…out of control with soul.”
Hot on the buzz from Adoration, Jeska conceived, organized and booked Indiegrrlapalooza, a three-month summer tour featuring Showin’ Tell plus ten other female artists and female fronted bands. The tour hit many popular venues throughout New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and New York. ""There aren’t many bands out there -- especially in our area – fronted by a woman or even with women players,” Jeska offers. “I wanted to develop camaraderie among female artists, so I put Indiegrrlapalooza together and it was a blast! This tour was a great opportunity for all the bands involved to break into new markets, since most out of state bands can’t get good bookings without a guaranteed draw.” Each band also donated a track for the compilation CD Indiegrrlapalooza 2004, A Celebration of Women and Their Music. Landshark CD Duplication & Design sponsored the event and profits from sales of the disc went to a charity benefiting underprivileged girls.
When Jeska and Nicolino attended a music conference in 2004, they heard producer Jason Rubal speak and were convinced he was the ideal choice to work on the group’s full-length debut. “Jason’s speech was just phenomenal,” says Jeska. “He discussed his philosophy that an album isn’t just ten songs on a CD, but rather ‘a single flowing event that tells many stories.’ That was totally in line with our way of thinking. We met with Jason and talked with him about our desire to capture the energy of our live performances on an album that sounds professional and very high fidelity. After visiting many studios and talking with a lot of different people, we knew only Jason could give us that result.”
Basic tracking for Tuesday Afternoon was completed at Rubal’s Seventh Wave Studio, with the track “Lie to Me” recorded at MoonTree Studio, (owned by guitarist Chad Taylor of Live) and the piano-based song “Farewell” recorded at DC’s prestigious Cue Studio (Dave Matthews Band, Garbage, 311). Tuesday Afternoon was then mastered by John Golden (Primus, Sonic Youth, Mike Watt) in Ventura, CA. With a perfectly sequenced mix of ballads, mid-tempo anthems and hard rocking fan favorites, Tuesday Afternoon reflects the broad, cross genre appeal of Showin’ Tell’s brand of rock. From Nicolino’s pummeling cadences that introduce the classic hard rock groove of “Better Off” to the simple acoustic guitar and hand percussion accompaniment of “Lie to Me” the album offers a flavor to please every palette. “Jason taught us so much about music theory and music in general,” Jeska enthuses. “The fact that he requires a flawless studio performance and refuses to just “punch in” during sessions was challenging and a bit frustrating, but Jason had faith in us that we could do it, and we did. “
On “What If?” a guitar heavy ballad about unforeseen complications arising from infidelity, Jeska’s voice recalls the smoldering, sultriness of The Motels’ Martha Davis. “Removed You” (One of Rubal’s favorites) was also included on Adoration, but has received a revamped arrangement for Tuesday Afternoon. Says Jeska of her songwriting process, “All of my songs are personal. Nothing is exactly my story, but my lyrics paint a picture inspired by my experience, which I then adapt so the song can apply to anyone going through a similar situation. To start though, the lyrics have to be in my heart. I can’t write something I’m not feeling.”
Rubal’s success at translating the energy of Showin’ Tells live performance to CD is best heard on the track “Medicine,” a slow grooving revenge fantasy highlighted by Jeska’s torchy vocals, Nic’s percussive nuances and Derek’s rhythmic undertow. “Medicine” is one of those songs that are recognizable from the first chord I play,” says Jeska. “It’s a favorite of the hardcore fans that come to our shows every week and as soon as I hit that first chord they get into it and start dancing. It’s awesome to hear people singing along with our songs.”
Playing out several times monthly, Showin’ Tell is a staple in the Philadelphia original music scene for the past few years. They have several high profile performances on their resume as well, having played the Mazda Rev It Up Tour at the Philadelphia racetrack, as well as playing at Lincoln Financial Stadium, for the Temple University Homecoming game. Locally, Showin’ Tell host the weekly Wednesday Original Nite Party at The 5 Spot in Philadelphia, which is sponsored by Jagermeister and Dock Street Beer. The tracks “Medicine” and “Better Off” from Tuesday Afternoon are also featured on Jagermusic.com.
With the long awaited release of Tuesday Afternoon, Showin’ Tell steps up to hit one out of the park. “Jason Rubal pushed us farther than we would have pushed ourselves and, in doing so, made us not only much better players but much stronger as a band. We’re very proud of this record. Nic echoes her sentiments, “We’re all very driven and playing in this band with Jes and Derek gives me the chance to work with people who want to go the distance. As the three members of Showin’ Tell, this is all we want and there’s nothing else. We’re ready for what’s next.”
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