Still stuck for a Valentine’s Day gift? This promises to be better than chocolates and flowers.
The rollicking roll of piano blues and soulful ballads of recording artist, “Jenie Thai Nolan,” who is back by popular demand will kick-off this weekend’s Valentine’s Day celebration on Feb. 15 at Donnelly’s Irish Pub from 2:30 to 6 p.m.
Donnelly’s is taking reservations, as its staff notes: “It’s standing room only and a packed house any time she plays,” so reservations are recommended.
Nolan’s vocals and precision piano playing in blues, jazz and modern stylings will front the Brant Parker Band, coined as “the best house band in the world”.
Parker’s five-piece ensemble has a solid-rhythm section that manages to rock the house, and vocally, provides the bass registers and depth to Nolan’s sweet highs.
Even though he’s from St. Catharines, Parker has managed to share the stage with famed rock and blues artists, Johnny Winter, Jeff Healey and crooner, Tony Bennett along with local favourites, Jack de Keyzer and members of Downchild Blues Band.
Nolan, prefers to be known as “Jenie Thai,” because she was born in Thailand, but moved to Canada and raised in Edmonton, Alberta.
Nolan has the gift of rejuvenation, making even old blues and jazz renderings sound new.
Her influences include: Tom Waits, Nina Simone and Bonnie Raitt, and she is a firecracker combination of many talents.
Her latest album, “Night on Fire” was released in September of 2018 and is loaded with many fun, jive-able hits to celebrate an upbeat Valentine’s Day.
When asked why she chose that album title, Nolan told Thorold News: “When I wrote the first song, the title track -- it kind of set the tone for the rest of the album.”
Recording it went relatively easy for this entertainer. “Because there was a six-year gap from the previous album, I was more studio ready, relaxed and everyone was there for the love of music,” she said.
“Night on Fire” has lauded her “tremendous” reception, and she has been able to tour through Mexico, the U.S. and Canada in support of it.
“Only the Moon” was released in 2013 which followed her first EP. Along with her extensive training in blues, jazz, classical and folk, Nolan has ample ammunition to entertain any audience and front any band.
While she has performed at many theatres, lounges and venues throughout the U.S. and Canada, she prefers smaller venues to capture the avid “listener”.
For the last two years, Nolan has won Best Piano Player and Keyboardist at the Maple Blues Awards, which recognizes the best of the blues genre in Canada. Nolan was already on their radar by 2016, when she captured the Best New Artist title.
She is also a two-time, semi-finalist at the 30th International Blues Challenge in Memphis Tennessee, which receives a large number of competitive entries from many different countries each year.
Nolan, who resides in Toronto, has a group of musicians she tours with, and she also fronts many other bands like Downchild Blues Band, and the more local, Brant Parker.
“What Brant Parker does is amazing,” and she loves being able to perform with veteran musicians like him, who can improvise or jam and pick-up on any song she chooses.
Nolan doesn’t get pre-performance jitters. “I usually just wing-it most of the time,” she said.
Nolan is currently working on another album, although she admits composing is an on-going process.
She hopes to perform at the next Southside Blues Shuffle in Thorold.
In the meantime, for Saturday’s show, Nolan said she would add a few romantic love songs and ballads for this special hearts and flowers occasion.