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PRESS & REVIEWS


"Everything that is right about Americana music - a punkish spirit rooted in the music that made this country great..." - Ear To The Ground

Nena's band BRAWLEY is featured as part of Belly Up Tavern and KPBS joint effort "Live at the Belly Up" season one television series. Brawley starts at around minute 30 - click here to watch

NBC - SoundDiego Spotlight: Nena Anderson "The local singer/songwriter talks about her musical and footwear styles, and why it took so long for the 10-time SD Music Award nominee to come out with a solo record." Watch the televised interview here: NBC San Diego

Nena Anderson’s earnest tone and sweet voice coupled with the delicate charm of her songs is crush-worthy. *Swoon* - Sounds in San Diego

KPBS Midday Edition speaks with Nena Anderson about her creative process, her first record and the challenges of being a musician today. "Lady Sings The Blues: Meet Nena Anderson"
Listen to the interview here:
- KPBS.org Midday Edition

"the listener is struck by the beauty of her vocals as they are light and velvety like a chocolate ganache, lingering only long enough to make you want more." - Riviting Riffs Magazine

“Nena Anderson’s sultry, blues-tinged vocals and sweetheart of Americana swagger are enough to captivate any room, even one as big as the 1,600-seat downtown Balboa Theatre. Her confident stage persona and song book of lost love laments has obviously caught the eyes and ears of local booking agents, as she’s tabbed to open up for Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famer Gregg Allman on January 9th.”Rick Ostop - SD Rock N Roll

“Excellent. Finally, a female vocalist who doesn't sound like all the other female recording artists today. Distinct as late career Joni Mitchell, strong as Emmylou Harris, warm as Mary Chapin Carpenter and rolled into one: an original is born. I love it. Good song too. This young lady deserves attention. Great supporting musicians put a frame of optimism around Nena's sadly sincere vocals. Difficult tightrope to walk but Nena succeeds. She's in pieces on the floor -- how many of us have felt that way? She also has a wonderful way with vocalizing her beautiful lyrics that is beyond mere singing with a good voice. Bravo.” John Apice - No Depression

Beyond The Lights named BEST ALBUM 2011 (San Diego, CA)
"A complete, well-rounded ear full of Americana music that features the sultry, understated vocals and songwriting ability of Nena Anderson. Anderson uses her soulful approach to pull you into her world of lost love laments with delightful ease. The songs are so well crafted, and with the help of her solid backing band, make up a gorgeous collection of material. It’s a record that I seem to keep going back to over the course of last year and I am sure, because of its depth and staying power, I will be spinning it for years to come. - SD Rock N Roll


Beyond the Lights is her debut solo CD, and her ten originals draw from this depth of styles and experience while highlighting a warm, bright voice capable of digging deep and bouncing high. Anderson is backed on the disc by Mule members, including guitarist Mike Butler, who produced and did the sharp work on the boards to create an ace alt-country/pop shimmer on tune after tune. He also takes a lot of solos, but is good enough that these add to rather than distract from the songs.
Anderson starts with “I Fall In Love Too Fast,” locking in her easy vocal authority on a slick pop melody, a good song that sets high expectations for what is to follow. “Daggers” doesn’t disappoint. A bluesy gloom drives the standout cut as Anderson sings a soaring tale about the betraying lover who has driven her away with his evil stare, with a killer lap steel solo by Butler adding a crowning touch. Slowing things down, “Sink or Swim” stays with minor chords and heartbreak. “I smile to keep from crying/Lest I drown in my own tears,” a catchy mid-tempo country tune with haunting pedal steel by David Berzansky (Hacienda Brothers).
The message on “Roses and Kisses” is clear, “They can’t take the place/Of a love that’s gone again.” Anderson is again right in the pocket on a brisk honkey-tonk rocker, and another Butler solo break catches the ear. There is a lot of blues guitar bottom for “Promises” and Anderson’s days belting out jazz and hard blues help her match the band’s intensity; the result is a disc highlight. “One More” is one of those tunes that comes close to being filler, except for an undeniable hook that lifts it.
There are several country ballads on the album, the best being “Hush,” a mother’s lullaby to her child about life and regrets. It is simple, catchy, and lays its story out in three minutes of layered guitars. The title tune wraps the disc, a blues song that has all the smoke and soul of a live performance. Anderson is telling the listener that all she cares about is immersing herself in her music, escaping her life and responsibilities to one that doesn’t extend past the “first few rows.” It’s another winner. - San Diego Troubadour

Anderson’s 2011 LP, Beyond the Lights, is part Neko Case and part Billie Holiday, with a dash of Ragged Glory-era Neil Young thrown in in for good measure. - OwlandBear.com

"A wonderful storyteller and I’m impressed in how accessible and deceptively uncomplicated [Nena's] lyrics are – there is a wonderful clarity, and getting beautifully to the point in most all [her] songs" - San Diego Acoustic,

With a voice and style that echoes the past, yet possessing a unique contemporary flair, Nena Anderson is a gal who will steal your heart and give it back ever-so-gently. The singer-songwriter blends a variety of styles on her solo album, Beyond The Lights. Her tunes offer lovelorn tales full of character crafted by her lush vocals and backed by layers of instruments. It’s no wonder she’s been dubbed The Sweetheart or Americana- prepare to swoon!"- Sounds In San Diego

“I Fall in Love Too Fast” is the new single from Nena Anderson’s debut album, Beyond the Lights, but it might as well refer to how quickly you’ll become enamored with her on first listen. Recently released to unanimous praise, the Encinitas native has fashioned a solid collection of gorgeous songs that sound like they’ve been spinning on turntables since the 60’s. And if the lead-off single somehow doesn’t do the trick, songs like “Sink or Swim” and “Daggers” will have you hopelessly hooked.
Maybe it’s the melodies that seem instantly familiar; or maybe it’s her voice – a sweet, tender, yet strong and soulful instrument full of both melancholy and resiliency. In an age of bombastic, belting wannabe-divas, it’s refreshing to hear a charming, understated and tasteful singer like Nena. Her new album could rightfully take it’s place as soundtrack de facto for the poor, broken-hearted souls drowning their sorrows in bourbon down at the local dive, but it could just as easily be a call-to-arms for those same folks to stand up and refuse to be miserable any longer; for every song on Beyond the Lights about a failed relationship, there seems to be one about bouncing back and moving on." - ThreeBzine

"Encinitas native Nena Anderson, who opens, is worth arriving early to hear. She draws from the same styles as [Jolie] Holland, but is developing a distinctive and inviting sound of her own. Anderson's impressive debut album, Beyond the Lights, indicates that she's a growing talent worth tracking" - SignOnSanDiego.com / San Diego Union-Tribune,

"I hereby award Nena Anderson...a Medal of Badassery: In addition to writing solo material, Anderson fronts Brawley and The Neverout, making her one of the hardest working —and coolest— single moms in the city" - San Diego Citybeat

"Moody, compelling originals...a world-class vocalist" - SD Entertainer

"On the stage, Anderson exudes the enviable self-assurance of someone who’s exactly where she’s supposed to be - San Diego Citybeat

"Nena Anderson: Real Country, Real Jazz, Real Music"
- The San Diego Troubadour


"Just home from a hard days work? Trying to make it through that mid-afternoon drain? Speeding down the highway watching the exits fly by? These are all made better with each passing song from Beyond the Lights. Nena takes a small town sound and turns it into a stadium-ready romp with some of the most musical numbers I've heard in a while. Add to that a very appealing vocal quality and impeccable, yet soulful, backing music and I'm not sure what else to say other than pick up a copy for yourself! My only wish would be to hear some male backing vocals - just a little to add to the flavor of Nena's laid-back-yet-pitch-perfect singing style - but that's certainly no deal breaker here. Bravo!" - Amazon.com Review

"Nena Anderson's new cd, Beyond the Lights downloaded it and fell in love with it right away, it's hard to box Nena's musical stylings in any specific category which brings to you a fresh, viable sound that keeps you wanting more. At the same time the familiar feeling comes in with the old tube vibrato and the sound that makes her as unique as her one-of-a-kind vocals . You can't go wrong with this cd no matter what your musical preference." - Amazon.com Review
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