Tara Lohan • The New Mexico Voice • December 15, 2005


Bernadette Seacrest is punk rock at heart. But her vintage jazz and torch vocals have wooed audiences from Los Angeles to Paris and her musical start with the rockabilly Long Goners has cemented her as a local favorite. After just returning from an amazingly successful two-week tour in France along with her Yes Men, and with the release of their second CD imminent, Seacrest has decided to step out of the spotlight for a time.

“My heart is all about punk rock and really, I just don’t want to behave,” said Seacrest. “I don’t want to feel like i have to be censored. Singing jazz is a profession. I’m not just playing for the love of music, I have to also be a business woman.”

In only a short four years behind the microphone, Seacrest has achieved incredible success. She has been the best selling local artist in Santa Fe’s Borders; has been the editor’s pick on download.com and cdbaby.com; was the number two seller at Bookworks, second only to Norah Jones; and received an honorable mention for the Alibi’s “Best of Burque” in the overall local band category.

It was only four years ago that she first took the stage, convinced by Pat Bova to sing for the Long Goners. In a matter of two shows, she went from making herself sick to feeling right at home in front of an audience.

But, success always has a price, and for Seacrest, the price was her health. “You can make a living as a musician here, if you can handle the music business,” she said. “But I hated what i had to do to make that happen. You have to have a lot of strength and it can suck the soul out of you.”

Leaving the band, she said, was a difficult decision. “I feel most bad about the fans. People have been so good to us. But I need to regroup and to take care of myself,” she said.

Seacrest describes herself as “super driven,” an adequate description for someone who has toured three times in the last year, including one trip overseas, and put out two CDs.

“There’s a heavy price for working so hard. I feel like I’ve just done a PhD program in the last four years. I can’t go at that pace for so long without help,” she said.

Seacrest was a regular performer at Albuquerque’s Gulp and Santa Fe’s Swig and will be missed during her hiatus. The combination of her incredible voice and commanding presence, along with excellent accompaniment from her Yes Men, made the group a favorite.

A review from bullfrogmusic.com said, “Seacrest stick to a lot of the Jazz standards, but stays away from the saccharine stylings of most singers’ efforts. She has a nice, clean voice that has an edge with an edge so sharp, you wouldn’t even known it had cut you.”

And the San Francisco Chronicle wrote, “Her blunt-cut bangs and vintage sleeve-tattoos make her look more like a Suicide Girl than a run-of-the-mill chanteuse, but her girlish voice recalls the sweet pain of a young Billie Holiday.”

Seacrest first delved into jazz under the guidance of mentor David Parlato, a stand-up jazz bassist. The two did a live performance for KUNM’s “All That Jazz” and appeared with the Glenn Kostur Trio.

Shortly after working with Parlato, Seacrest met the core band members who would become her Yes Men. They played songs written by Pat Bova and band member Michael Grimes. Their newest CD, just released and available at several locations in town and on the web at www.cdbaby.com, is a live album recorded at Swig and includes four bonus studio tracks.

While the Cd doesn’t replace the intimacy of a live show, it captures the essence and energy of why Seacrest has earned so much acclaim for her sultry smooth vocals.

This CD may be the last dance for Bernadette Seacrest and her Yes Men, but it’s only another starting point for Seacrest, herself.

“Making music more of a connection with oneself and confidence as a person,” said Seacrest. “Finding that is great. But then it’s hard to deal with everything else that comes with it.”

In the near future, Seacrest may begin experimenting with writing her own songs and is set to do a performance with her friend, Sin Serenade frontman, Lucky Donohue in January.

“I am going to be relaxing and learning to play guitar and having fun and not touring and not doing business and not doing shows that don’t feel good,” she said. “So far nothing has been a perfect fit. Nothing has felt 100 percent authentic. So, if i’m goig to have the soul sucked out of me, I have to have more joy.”

The newest CD from Bernadette Seacrest and her Yes Men is available at Bookworks, Natural Sound, the A Store and on-line at www.cdbaby.com.

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