How can a cellist be bad, you might ask? “Bad Cellist” is the name of the debut album from CelloVein, the alter ego of Halley Feaster, a gifted cellist who really wanted to be a badass rocker. She started playing the cello at the age of nine, but deep down just couldn’t imagine herself becoming a classical cellist – “much to the dismay and confusion of some of her teachers” she notes on her website. By bucking convention, Feaster was being “bad.” This album is the culmination of nearly 10 years of hard work and dedication to her passion: making music steeped in rock, metal and blues, all with her acoustic cello and 6-string electric cello. Who knew there were electric cellos?
While working at other jobs to make a living, Feaster wrote songs and perfected her craft by playing cello with cover bands, pit orchestras and local symphonies, and recording as backup to several artists. But realizing her music style was not the radio-friendly stuff that most music studios seem to demand, she founded her own music production company, Rock Solid Productions. She and her husband Michael built their own recording studio and, with her father’s assistance, produced this work of musical art.
Other than the two rock classics she covers on the album – “White Rabbit” and “Stairway to Heaven” – Feaster wrote the music and lyrics for all songs, which range from mellow, folksy tunes to heavy metal. The song “Isle of Apollo,” a bombastic barrage of screaming cello and wobbly bass, is metalcore confection and one of my favorites on the album.
“Bleus” is a superb instrumental that weaves back and forth between languid bluesy interludes and sensual, scratchy jazz riffs demanding your attention.
The beautiful cover of the Led Zeppelin epic “Stairway to Heaven” does justice to my all-time favorite song. Other than the acoustic guitar of Jon Finn, the rest of the strings are cello, which sound amazing!