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Bourbon Princess
Black Feather Wings  (AC-5050, released 2003)

Bourbon Princess features the singing, songwriting and bass playing of Monique Ortiz. Black Feather Wings, her first album to be distributed commercially, proves her to be a formidable triple threat. Aided and abetted by drummer Jerome Deupree, guitarist/pianist Jim Moran and producer/saxophonist Dana Colley, Monique has created a stunning album, full of attitude and mood, storytelling and invective, churning rock and delicate melodies.


The title track and "Stretcher," along with several other songs, sound like potential hits, with strong hooks, gripping lyrics and a unique and immediately recognizable voice.


In 1996, feeling trapped in suburban Pennsylvania, Monique heard Cambridge Mass.-based Morphine and decided to make a move north to the more creative environment. Since then, she has developed her sound as a solo act and in various band combinations.


Her first full album, Stopline, was self-released in 2000 and helped her build a local following. Besides the excellent music, audiences respond to Monique's dry sense of humor and riveting presence. Since then, she has placed a song on the Respond compilation (along with acts like Dolly Parton, Ani DeFranco, and Aimee Mann). She has worked with a number of band members and also as a sidewoman to other artists.


Last summer Monique went into Hi & Dry Studio, and worked with Morphine's saxophonist Colley and original drummer Deupree, along with her main sideman Jim Moran on Black Feather Wings. While her collaborators and the fact that she is a singer/bassist prompt comparisons with Morphine, Monique's music echoes diverse influences like Chrissie Hynde, Lou Reed and Brian Ferry.


Since the recording, Deupree has stayed on as Bourbon Princess's regular drummer and Colley has been succeeded by Accurate Records chief and Either/Orchestra leader Russ Gershon on saxophones.

Dark of Days  (AC-5052, released 2005)

Bourbon Princess is a band of four exceptional musicians making beautiful, dark-edged, highly original music featuring the lyrical songwriting of singer/bassist Monique Ortiz. And although the striking front woman does enjoy a good glass of Maker's Mark, she is not the actual Bourbon Princess.


"People always come up to me at shows and ask me why the band name is Bourbon Princess,"Monique says. "I try to explain that it's not me, but a woman the Marquis de Sade had an affair with - the Princess of Bourbon - and that I named the band after her."


With the co-release of Bourbon Princess' new Dark of Days by the Accurate and HI-N-DRY labels and the band's upcoming tours, Monique will have a lot more explaining to do as a bigger audience comes under the spell of her group's mesmerizing sound.


Monique calls the sound "blue wave ": new wave with a restrained but distinct blues and jazz flavor. She crafts the approach from the warm, flexible tones of her contralto voice and the deep sonorities of her versatile bass playing, with the help of her talented co-conspirators: original Morphine drummer Jerome Deupree, Either/Orchestra saxophonist/leader Russ Gershon and guitarist/pianist Jim Moran.


Bourbon Princess began as a bass and drums duo, but over the course of two albums, 2000's debut Stopline and 2003's Black Feather Wings, and hundreds of live performances, the group's line-up and adventurous sound textures have grown into one of the most distinctive styles in modern rock while drawing comparisons to such giants as Jeff Buckley, Patti Smith, Jim Morrison and Nina Simone.


Dark of Days is a creative breakthrough for Bourbon Princess. "The album is more pop yet darker thananything we've done," says Monique. "That might seem contradictory, but I think we've pulled it off."


"It's the first body of songs I've written that are really influenced by the times," she continues. "The first two albums were about things that were going on in my head or in my immediate world. This one is less self absorbed. 'Dark of Days'' is really about the political times we're all living through now. 'Cliche' is social commentary, written from the point of view of a single woman struggling to make a living, not ready to give up and yet not being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel for all of her efforts. I think plenty of us are feeling that way today."


Dark of Days is also the first full-length collaboration between Monique and Paul Q. Kolderie (producer/engineer for Radiohead, Hole, Morphine, and many others), who manned the console. "It was a great partnership," she says. "He could hear what we were trying to do with our sound and made it more expansive and clear. Since Paul is a bass player, too, it was easier for me to convey the sound I wanted to capture, which is very bass driven, without compromising the other instruments."


Although Bourbon Princess is based in Boston, Monique hails originally from the Pennsylvania of open farmlands and Amish horse-and-buggy traffic. She moved to Massachusetts seeking an environment more receptive to her creativity. Within months she was performing her songs in clubs and coffeehouses, at art school parties and poetry slams, accompanying herself on fretless bass. Audiences immediately responded to her dry wit and riveting presence.


Early on Monique began perfecting a percussive and sliding instrumental style flavored by Arabic grooves, the perfect support for her cinematic lyrics which, while at times unsettling, are always strangely beautiful and affecting.


Besides the two previous Bourbon Princess albums, Monique's songs have appeared on the Respond II compilation alongside tunes by Ani DiFranco, Aimee Mann and Dolly Parton, and on MTV's Real World. She has also been nominated for a prestigious Boston Music Award and in the Boston Phoenix Best Music Poll in the best female vocalist category