Marcella & Her Lovers

Swamp Soul Memphis

Marcella performs at William Faulkner's home Rowan Oak

On Sunday, September 26 we played on the grounds of Rowan Oak, home of William Faulkner on what happened to be the great author’s 119th birthday. The weather and crowd were exemplary as the audience set up lawn chairs around our stage in front of the stable, under festive strings of Edison lights. The effect was magical. The grounds, a former pasture where Faulkner kept his horses, was the perfect setting. The evening was part of Sarafest, a week of events sponsored by the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies. The Thacker Mountain Radio house band the Yalobushwhackers played first getting the audience ready for the night, Maggie Koerner's hauntingly, beautiful voice filled the air, and Marcella did a powerful, stripped down trio set; singing and alternating between keys and accordion, with saxophonist Jim Spake and percussionist Rory Mills Sullivan closed the night out in a most magical way. 

For more photos from the evening click here

Marcella announces Memphis Music Fall of Fame inductee Sam "Sam the Sham" Samudio

Marcella was unbelievably honored to have been a presenter today at the fifth annual Memphis Music Hall of Fame induction announcement ceremony. I announced Sam "The Sham" Samudio (Sam The Sham and the Pharaohs). We got to speak briefly and he shared with me his love of the beautiful Louisiana countryside we have down there. It's where my ancestors hail from and it's truly a magnificent place. I love all the guest presenters @catrina_guttery presented the Hi Rhythm Section, Tonya Renee Dyson presented William Bell, Ori Naftaly@orinaftaly4fun John Lee Hooker and Jim Spake presented Charles Llyod. Elizabeth Cawein did such a wonderful job organizing everything! What an honor!!! 

Memphis College of Art recognizes Marcella in Alumni Spotlight

"With her steady rise in the music industry, Simien credits her experiences at MCA with encouraging her as an artist and teaching her discipline in both her visual and musical craft. Simien began performing at various locations around Memphis when she was still a student, but didn’t realize at the time that she was building skills for a career in music....." Click the heading to read more....

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USA Today covers 'An Evening at Elvis'

Ever wonder what it would be like to go to a concert in Elvis's living room? Marcella and her Lovers were featured in this unparalleled music series that does just that. Created by the Mike Curb Institute of Music at Rhodes College, this music series also features revered artists Bobby Rush, Rosanne Cash, Bill Frisell to name a few. Read what USA Today had to say about it. View Marcella and her Lovers' performance here.

Bentley's Bandstand January 2015

by Bill Bentley, January 12, 2015, 

Marcella & Her Lovers, The Bronze Age. How does the daughter of zydeco guru Terrance Simien make her own mark on the world? There’s nothing wrong with going to art college in Memphis after growing up in Lafayette, Louisiana, and jumping into the thick musical vibration of Bluff City. Marcella Simien heard it all as a youngster, no doubt, and once she double-downed with the Memphis sound, she found a totally striking new attack on Southern soul.

Even better, she found a handful ofplayers in Memphis that knew exactly the sonics to put with her style. It makes for one of the best new soul records of recent years, and even ifthe release is only a five-song EP, there is such an overwhelming surge of emotional realness it doesn’t matter. Then, just to show they know their way around history, Marcella & Her Lovers zero in on Billy Bland’s classic “My Heart’s on Fire.” The heavens are smiling on them all.

See the review here

Still a buzz in Memphis, Simien ready for next step

by Herman Fuselier, December 19, 2014, The Adverstiser 

Marcella Simien is living proof that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Simien is the daughter of zydeco’s only two-time Grammy winner, Lafayette resident and St. Landry Parish native Terrance Simien.

In 32 years, the elder Simien has toured more than 1 million miles while performing 7,000 shows in 42 countries. He’s shared the stage and studio with Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Robert Palmer, the Dave Matthews Band and many other music notables.

Marcella, a 2009 graduate of Comeaux High School and Memphis resident, is ready to follow in his footsteps. Her band, Marcella and Her Lovers, has released its debut EP, “The Bronze Age,” with Memphis producer Scott Bomar. Bomar, an Emmy-winning film composer and Grammy-nominated producer and recording engineer, has worked with Al Green, Cyndi Lauper and other well-known names.

“The Bronze Age” has four originals and a fiery cover of Billy Bland’s “My Heart’s On Fire,” a 1961 classic that also became a hit for local favorites Lil Bob and the Lollipops.

The EP is already drawing favorable reviews. J. D. Reager of the Memphis Flyer said “Simien herself is a tremendous singer and an engaging performer, which clearly comes across on the recording. Honestly, there really are no duds here, but two stand-out tracks would be the up-tempo groover “Branch Strewn Sky” and the spacey march “We Rewind.”

The review continues a Memphis buzz that started more than a year ago for Simien. The Memphis Commercial Appeal named her Best Newcomer of 2013. The I Love Memphis blog picked Simien as one of the “10 Bands to See in Memphis.”

Read the full article here 

"Swamp and Soul" feature in CLICK magazine

by Charles Gray, December 16, 2014, CLICK

Somewhere between the soulful rhythms of Blues City and the enriched melodies of Lafayette is a place with a sound all of its own. It’s not in the MidSouth, nor in Louisiana, but more of a state of mind that blends the two cultures in a mixing pot, full to the brim with music history. Marcella and Her Lovers is a local outfit that lives and thrives in this atmosphere. Singer and songwriter to the lovers, Marcella Simien, is a longtime resident of this aforementioned place and has endearingly coined it “swamp soul.”

“It’s sort of a melding of where I’m from and where I am now,” Simien says. “I love Memphis soul and I grew up surrounded by Zydeco, so it’s kind of a blending of the two together.”

On November 7, the group released its first EP, The Bronze Age, a collection of five tracks thick in tradition, made sleek by a modern edge and now available at The steady rhythmic chug featured on tracks like “We Rewind” is matched by the piano/accordion ballad “Ethel.” The album stays true to its dichotomy of two Southern sounds showcasing a bold aesthetic that was earned over a lifetime. 

Read it here 

Terrance & Marcella Simien at Bar DKDC

Chris Davis, Memphis Flyer,  November 27, 2014 

There's a special family reunion happening in Memphis this week. Multi-Grammy-winning Zydeco Experience performer Terrance Simien is bringing his accordion to Bar DKDC to sit in with his daughter and her band, Marcella and Her Lovers. It's not nearly as awkward as it sounds.

"He'll just be playing with us, and we'll do a few more songs than usual," Marcella says, tamping down any notion that her dad might be appearing with his full Zydeco band. The younger Simien moved to Memphis and established herself as a gutsy and idiosyncratic solo performer before putting together the band Marcella and Her Lovers a year ago. A recently released EP, The Bronze Age, shows off the legacy performer's uncommonly expressive voice and songwriting, though the best cut is arguably a reworking of Little Bop & the Lollipops' 1961 single "My Heart's on Fire."

Read it here

"The best live band in town is Marcella & Her Lovers"

by Joe Boone, December 25, 2014 "Beat It, 2014" Memphis Flyer 

As for live music, Big Ass Truck's reunion was the highlight of the year. Just kidding; we stunk. The best live band in town is Marcella & Her Lovers. It takes courage to sing like Marcella René Simien. The emotional flood gates open up with every note. Her rhythm section can split hairs and topple buildings with equal panache. And guitarist Dave Cousar is sublime. His atmospheric, harmonic style lends an otherworldliness to her earthy vocal. This is one magically idiosyncratic band.

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Marcella Simien readies debut EP in welcoming new home of Memphis

by Chris Herrington | Commercial Appeal | November 6, 2014

If modern Memphis music is any one thing — and it isn’t, but play along — it’s not a sound. It’s not blues or soul or garage rock or rap. But it might be a perspective on the past.

Austin and Nashville (even in its classier “Americana” form) imply a sound. New Orleans’ more cross-cultural gumbo has a specific flavor. Memphis implies an attitude. True to its musical crossroads/melting-pot heritage, the city continues to both lure and develop musicians who are grounded in tradition but who interlace various roots strands in ornery or idiosyncratic ways. Resistance to commonality is itself a common denominator.

One of the latest and most interesting embodiments of this civic spirit is an accordion-playing 23-year-old Louisianan of Creole ancestry and zydeco upbringing who loves singing Brian Eno and Outkast songs. Meet Marcella Simien, though chances are you already have.

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