As a homegrown Louisiana girl, Wendy Lorraine Colonna comes by her mix of music naturally and her sound is both raw and exciting. Weaned on her parents' folk revival & jazz vinyl collection, Wendy wore the grooves off their LP's before she could read. She began singing, dancing and writing songs in her backyard during chore time and beneath the clothing racks in department stores. During her teenage years, she spent her time dreaming of big band swing in extravagant black and white floorshows as well as working at nonprofit punk rock music collective. Over the last few years, she's been lapping up the legacy of America's country blues legends. Subsequently, Colonna draws from a rather diverse set of influences to combine a rich bouquet of style in her songwriting.
In 1997, at the age of 19, Colonna began recording her debut CD, "Girls of Stone" with TP Records in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Many of the songs for this album were composed while playing in a duo around Louisiana, Texas, and Arkansas alongside another gifted young singer/songwriter, Hannah Vincent. The two were attending a small liberal arts college in Natchitoches, LA where they were discovered playing a jazz festival and were invited to record a live CD with TP Records. Immediately after the live show, TP Records executive, Perry Sanders was so impressed by the girls' performance that he offered them a recording contract. Colonna and Vincent created separate CD's, but performed on one another's projects. After recording half of "Girls of Stone," Colonna moved to the Netherlands and spent the next year in school, traveling Europe and South Africa and making frequent trips to the US to complete the album. "Girls of Stone" was completed after recording in LA, Lafayette, and Lake Charles and was released in 2000.
"Girls of Stone," and Colonna's live solo performances received glowing reviews in publications from the Netherlands to Louisiana and Texas. It begins with a funky, tight-harmonied, high-energy coming-of-age tune entitled "Hey" and moves through swinging "Summer Sweat," onto a latin grooved "Middle Ground" then still to more rocking and sultry jazzy songs. The various musicians who contributed their talents to this album worked to compliment Colonna's prolific writing by enhancing the mood of the various musical genres she explores, thereby creating a treat for all listeners.
Offbeat Magazine commented, "Her subtle, melting vocals bend and stretch with the album's melodic modern arrangements, much like a gymnast performing gracefully on a balance beam. As noted here, Colonna is as comfortable with any arty vignette rocker ("Hey") as she is with the sensuous jazzy splash of "Summer Sweat" and practically everything else in between." (Oct. 2000)
"What if Natalie Merchant played in a funk band and What if Joan Baez wrote the lyrics? Wendy Colonna knows the value of a really good groove. . .Colonna sings smooth, limber melodies over infectious jazz-funk and other flavors of music. And more often than not, she creates some very evocative images with the words she sings. . . [Colonna has] borrowed from her myriad of influences and reworked them subtly into a very personal and eloquent statement. "
-The Times of Acadiana
"Listeners will be drawn in by Colonna¹s sultry, soulful voice as well as her poetic lyrics. In an era bombarded by teenage bubble gum pop, it is refreshing to see the emergence of a mature singer/songwriter such as Colonna . . . Wendy Colonna shows great potential as becoming one of the premiere female vocalists of the 21st century." -The Times of Southwest Louisiana
Her new CD, "Red," delivers a raw and direct expression of Colonna's re-association with southern American folk culture. Reese Perkins (guitarist, producer) took the winter months to lay down and mix the most clear, organic and representative tracks for the songs on the album. Where "Girls of Stone" has a more urban tone, "Red's" tone is bright and clear, deep and raspy and definitely delivers a more rural character. The independently-produced CD delivers a refreshing, authentic sound. Perkins has created a warm and energetic rustic instrumental tone with the assistance of Mike Henretty on drums and percussion, Jon McFarlen playing the fretless bass, himself playing electric and acoustic guitars, mandolins, keyboards, and Guy Forsyth playing the harmonica and National Resonator Guitar. Colonna's voice cracks and soars atop these tracks, creating a haunting, resonant intimacy in every song. The songs on "Red" travel from lamentations of living in and leaving a spoiled industry town ("Dirty Wife", "Sodom") to gentle, spunky, longing love songs ("Coffee Today", "Brad's Song", "Gypsy") to introspective and raw desperation ("We All Die Alone", "Judas", "Something New"). Overall, "Red" creates a rejuvenating space in which Colonna's melodic and lyrical gifts are well accented, natural and refreshing.