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Bad Girls Club: Emily Bell's Technicolor Soul Comes Out Swinging

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Lets just get this out of the way right now.

Emily Bell is indeed ex-Houston roots-rocker John Evans' girlfriend, but by no means does that mean she can't hold her own with even the best of the Houston honky-tonkers.

Bell was raised in musical theater and she knows a thing or two of her own about putting on a show. While she can play both piano and guitar, once the stage lights come up she prefers a hands-free approach that's both colorful and theatrical.

She counts Mick Jagger as a big influence, and like him, oozes sex appeal onstage. Bell can play coy with the best of them, whether she's clad in a sequined mini or a tight leopard something. But it's her honest, no-nonsense approach to bluesy rock 'n' soul that hooks you, and her voice... well, it just knocks you down.

Bell's voice has a brassiness and bluesy ferocity that can eat you up and spit you out. She rivals the stylings of everyone from a jazzed-up vintage Tina Turner to growling it girl Grace Potter.

Like them, Bell can get down and dirty, but there's something sweet mixed in there too, playful undertones of swinging soul.

Her debut album, In Technicolor, drops next month, and she's already commanding attention after raking in the reviews at SXSW. The Interrobang blog put her at the top of its post-SXSW "artists to watch" list.

"Hey Baby," an uptempo number where Bell swoons bittersweetly amid some hand-clappin' fun, is slated for release on Austin Music Volume 12, the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau's annual CD of emerging acts.

In just two weeks' time, Bell's single "Back to the Way I Was" has been added to the playlists of more than 30 radio stations around the country, as more and more people notice her freight train of a voice.

Hell, she may just be hotter than Evans.

Emily Bell plays with Craig Kinsey and John Evans Friday at Fitzgerald's, 2706 White Oak. Doors open at 9 p.m.


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