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
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
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
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