Every once in a while a musical collaboration happens that is so right, that one wonders how the universe could have been so perfectly aligned as to put these two together, but that is the case with Noëlle Hampton and her husband/guitar player André Moran. Their emotive live shows and passionate recordings are proof every time. Their CD, THIN LINE, produced by Mark Hallman (Eliza Gilkyson, Ani Difranco, Colin Gilmore) in Austin, TX is a perfect representation of the love and honesty they bring to their craft. Noëlle’s songs carry a personal intensity that somehow everyone can relate to, her voice soars melodically and makes you feel like you are a part of the story, while André’s lush and vibrant guitar playing is the signature that ties it all together.
With songs like ‘Thin Line’, ‘Blackwing Butterfly’, and ‘Always The Same’, this CD has already seen a ton of radio airplay on everything from AAA, Commercial and College Radio to Internet Radio, and Europe has embraced this artist as well with substantial airplay. She was interviewed by Radio legend Bob Edwards, (formerly NPR, now SIRIUS) who said “I like every track on the album.”
Kicking off their career in San Francisco, they didn’t start out playing together. Noëlle and André were both in other bands and once they met and fell in love, everyone warned them not to play together as it would most definitely be “the end” of their relationship. However, right after Noëlle dissolved the first band, she entered a contest to play Sarah McLachlan’s Lilith Fair. She needed a guitar player for the contest and André agreed to play just that one show. They won. It immediately sparked a media blitz and they were asked to open for Train and Paula Cole among others leading up to the Lilith Fair. Once they played a few shows together, they realized it was the musical chemistry they had both been searching for, and they never turned back.
After touring with their band throughout the US, Noëlle and André fell in love with Austin, TX. Eventually they packed up everything and left San Francisco to pursue a whole new life in Austin. The move took its toll on both of them, but particularly Noëlle. Exhausted from years of performing and then starting over, she ended up in a deep depression and stopped playing music and writing for a few years. “I was so tired and felt like I had nothing to give creatively. I thought I might never play music again. I was feeling forgotten.” It wasn’t until Mark Hallman lured them back into the studio that her love for everything musical came rushing back. Now they are entrenched in the fabulous community of songwriters and musicians that make up Austin, TX.
Noëlle and André just got back from East Nashville where they recorded a full length record with producer Neilson Hubbard that they plan on releasing in early 2013 under the band name, THE BELLE SOUNDS. They explain, “It just sounded different than our other stuff. There really isn’t anything roosty or Americana about it…..it falls more into the indie-songwriter meets indie-rock band thing. It didn’t seem like we could play some of our earlier stuff with many of the songs on this record and have it sound cohesive, so we are starting a new project just to highlight these recordings.” Of course it will be quite a bit of work to get off the ground, but they are thrilled with the way the record sounds.
They have opened for Bob Dylan, Sarah McLachlan, Jewel, Chris Isaak, John Hiatt, Richard Thompson, Wilco, LeAnn Rimes, Pat Benatar, Joan Armatrading, Jesse Winchester, Graham Parker and many others. Noelle was nominated for a California Music Award for Outstanding Female Singer and was featured in the very first all-star commercial for iTunes with Aimee Mann, Ziggy Marley, Iggy Pop and more. This husband/wife team have also co-produced 2 albums that have sold thousands of copies, and they created musical scores for 2 short films (one featuring Sam Rockwell, Mary McCormack & Emma Roberts). Her songs have also been featured on ABC’s Men in Trees, Private Practice and Lifetime’s Army Wives.
There is a lyric in Noëlle’s song, ‘Firecracker’, about her hiatus from playing music that says, “The wheel of this world keeps turning round, bringing me up and dragging me down, but in these darkest times one light will glow, from that firecracker burning slow.” The way it looks now, these two are burning brighter than ever.