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Neyla Pekarek

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Neyla Pekarek, the cellist and classically trained vocalist formerly of The Lumineers was in college when Rattlesnake Kate first rocked her world.
She happened upon the true story of the frontierswoman, who singlehandedly killed 140 snakes as they encroached on her and her son, at Greeley, CO’s History Museum. For two hours, Kate shot at them and bludgeoned them with a “No Hunting” sign after running out of bullets, then made a flapper-style dress, necklace, and shoes out of their skins—also on display at the museum. “It was one of the weirdest things I’d ever heard,” says Neyla, admiringly. Still beguiled by the legend, the musician turned to Kate as muse for her solo debut, Rattlesnake (out January 11 on S-Curve Records/BMG). “She lived outside from what women were expected to be,” Neyla says.
Produced by M. Ward (She & Him, Monsters of Folk), the album is at turns rollicking and moving, journeying from Americana to blues and even doo-wop, the latter an extension of her previous stints in award-winning barbershop quartets. But there’s a fierceness within it, as well. “Snakes are symbols of rebirth and transformation. They shed their skin,” says Neyla. “It all felt really symbolic for me in this new adventure.” But at its core, it’s cathartic. “There are,” she adds, “battle cries on this record.”

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