SHEL Artist Hannah Holbrook Performs with Kurzweil


SHEL Artist Hannah Holbrook Performs with KurzweilJuly 26, 2016 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Hannah Holbrook is a talented keyboard artist, vocalist and composer from Fort Collins, Colorado. She performs with her sisters Sarah, Eva and Liza as the alternative pop and folk band SHEL which recently released its second full-length album, “Just Crazy Enough”. Hannah travels with an 88-key Kurzweil PC3K8 or the smaller, 76-key PC3K7 and sometimes uses a Kurzweil Forte for solo concerts such as a recent Concert Window benefit for Grace Orphanage in Togo, Africa.

Hannah’s music training includes classical piano and she studied music theory, jazz improvisation and composition under Pat Burge at Colorado State University and with jazz artist Mark Sloniker.  Coming from this background, Hannah says, “I was searching for the closest, realistic piano sound and feel in a keyboard. And, with SHEL,” she continues, “I always stand when I'm playing because we have a lot of energy on stage. So I'd be up there trying to play on a kind of flimsy keyboard or a keyboard that didn't have weighted keys. And I just couldn't get the expression I wanted out of that thing. So I tried all of these keyboards but Kurzweil is the one that sounded and felt the most realistic to me.”

On tour with SHEL and in the studio, Hannah plays piano, organ and bass parts to support SHEL’s mostly acoustic instrumentation and vocal harmony. “The Kurzweil is great for Shel,” Hannah says. “I play bass on the keyboard. But, I've still got the piano and the organs and I can turn on the Leslie with a foot switch. Then, if we're doing a set that’s more pop rock and rowdy, I can get a Moog or a Juno going and kind of make things a little dirtier. Or I can do solo shows in a more classical jazz setting. It just fits in so many different environments.”

Hannah’s Kurzweil is a workstation keyboard. “Not to get too nerdy about it,” she says. “But, I can have a stereo piano patch that sounds great and an auxiliary channel that is its own synth bass. I can record my own samples and I can seriously edit patches and get them to sound exactly like I want.  And, the quick access thing on the Kurzweil is like my best friend. I can create a new quick-access bank that has all the setups that correspond with each of our songs. So I can literally just press a button and go from one bank to another or I can go from one setup to another inside that bank. It makes life so easy. And all of this is crucial,” she says, “because I'm playing with all of these acoustic, organic instruments and I want to support SHEL’s live sound with my recorded, sampled digital sound.”

Hannah commented, “I'm coming from this classical piano background. But, the Kurzweil’s a pretty incredible machine. I'm still learning how to use it because it's so versatile and there are so many things it can do. You can get all sorts of different sounds out of it and it’s pretty amazing. It was twelve years ago when I got my first Kurzweil and I’ve been hooked ever since!”

Links for More Information:
SHEL Music Website
James Quach Photography at Tails of the Trail