Paula Cole

From whispering poetry in a low alto range, to opening her throat in primal scream, Paula Cole’s voice is more commanding than ever, revealing battle scars, deep wisdom, the soulfulness of gospel, the urgency of rock, and the sensitivity of folk. Cole plays piano, Rhodes, acoustic guitar, clarinet and sings her artfully arranged background-vocals. She is a poet with a funky groove.

Cole has been a truth-teller, a provocateur, a feminist, a rebel, and a brilliant autobiographical writer who has pushed for personal honesty and social change. An artful weaver of genre, she is difficult to categorize – she is simply Paula Cole. From her debut “Harbinger”, in her androgynous combat boots and sensitive songs, to the everlasting hits of “This Fire”, to her genre-busting “Amen” (a neo-soul-touched tour de force) to a vibrant line of independent recordings on her own 675 Records label, she has released music for over three decades, recorded and performed with greats such as Peter Gabriel, Dolly Parton, Missy Elliot, Meshell N’Degeocello, Melissa Etheridge, Herbie Hancock, Sarah McLachlan, Terri Lyne Carrington, Emmylou Harris, Nona Hendrix, Paul Buchanan of The Blue Nile, to John Paul White and Jason Isbell.

She was an instrumental force behind the historic Lilith Fair. Her songs have been covered by artists from Herbie Hancock and Annie Lennox, to Lissie, to HAIM, sampled by hip hop artists, and performed by choirs. Paula Cole has pushed buttons and boundaries, declared truths and followed her own path of iconic vision.

Paula Cole’s eleventh studio album, Lo is devastatingly personal and utterly gorgeous. Her first album of original compositions in five years, Lo’s eleven songs, written entirely by Cole, navigate her opening to trust again after indelible blows of life. As the first woman to ever be nominated for the Best Producer Grammy in her own right, Paula Cole returns to the helm of recording as sole producer. On Lo, her loyal bandmates of many years (musicians that are stars unto themselves) join Cole in the studio. Lo was recorded entirely live, featuring full band performances from Jay Bellerose (drums), Chris Bruce (guitars), Ross Gallagher (upright and electric bass, backing vocals) and Rich Hinman (pedal steel, guitars). It was recorded and mixed by nine-time-Grammy-award-winning-engineer, Mike Piersante, whose unique sound is the canvas for Lo.

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The River Roads Festival is presented in partnership with the Connecticut River Conservancy (CRC) who coordinate the annual Source to Sea Cleanup, one of the nation’s largest river cleanups. The proceeds from ticket sales will help CRC prevent pollution, engage communities in research and advocacy, and promote enjoyment of the river and its tributaries. There will be a cleanup event in Easthampton on Sunday, September 10th, the day after the festival. Artists from the Festival lineup will join the cleanup effort.