Vancouver based electric guitarist Jill Newman plays the guitar in a way that few women do. She’s been described as a fierce guitarist, able to squeeze out a raw, emotional sound, but with the technical skills to play a smoking lead solo.
Jill's latest CD, Lovestruck Blues, released in 2014, features ten original blues and roots songs that showcase Jill’s tasteful Chicago style lead and slide guitar work and solid song writing. Her music has been featured on the At the Crossroads Blues Radio Network on internet stations throughout Canada, the United States, Spain, Belgium and the Philippines and has garnered strong reviews by the Washington Blues Society and Vancouver BC’s Georgia Straight. Eric Steiner from the WA blues society calls Jill a talented guitarist and songwriter. Michael Usinger, the editor of the Georgia Straight, says that Jill’s music “always lands of the right side of tasteful.”
Jill’s love of music began at an early age. With a mom who played Chopin on the piano and a dad who listened exclusively to Hank Williams and Dolly Parton, Jill quickly learned that musical styles don’t matter so long as the music is good. As a child living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Jill wrapped her fingers around any stringed instrument she could find. Jill discovered her love of the electric guitar as a teen–playing her Strat copy until she literally wore out the frets.
By her early 20s, Jill was playing guitar full-time. Jill honed her chops touring throughout BC and Alberta, playing 6-7 nights a week in everything from country rock bands and original indie roots groups to all women punk and rock bands. Jill played the club circuit in Vancouver, making regular stops at the railway club and the Yale hotel. She thrilled audiences at the Maple Ridge Roots and Blues Festival and brought the crowd to their feet at a show with Juno nominated guitarist, Bill Johnson. It was Jill’s recent work playing Jimmy Page’s blues inspired riffs in an all-female Led Zeppelin tribute band that led Jill back to her first love – playing the blues. And it’s the Chicago blues, where Jill’s unique voice and gutsy guitar playing truly shine.
Jill’s debut album, Fragile Walls (2004) showcases Jill’s songwriting, skillful instrumental work and passionate singing. Her songs are filled with the depth and emotion that comes from a lot of living and a lot of miles on the road. Since the release of Lovestruck Blues, Jill has been busy touring with her trio from clubs and concerts in Vancouver, BC to festivals in Washington, solo shows in Bellingham and a special Pink & Blues event showcasing some of Seattle’s talented women of the blues. Jill has a busy 2015 planned with shows in Seattle, Everett, Bellingham and Vancouver and plans to return to the studio with her trio for a live recording.
Whether she’s playing slide on her vintage telecaster or bending her Gibson strings into spaghetti, Jill’s take-no-prisoners approach to the guitar is gutsy and authentic. As one of the Pacific Northwest’s finest female electric guitarists, Jill Newman delivers a potent cocktail of rockin’ blues.