Whoa, Nellie! was formed in March 2005 by Vera Colley – singer, songwriter and accordionista. Her sound is an exciting blend of traditional country, country-swing, rock-a-billy and footstompin’ reels – fresh originals and a joyous revival of forgotten gems.
Her love of this music is immediately apparent to audiences in Toronto and surrounding area. She looks like she is having fun because she is! The very distinct Whoa, Nellie! sound is nailed to the floorboards by her partner and guitar-slinger Johnny G, wielding an arsenal of lovely stringed things with flying fingers and a depth of understanding of roots and American music few guitar players can boast.
Usually arranged as three-piece with bass and drums, Whoa, Nellie! is lively, lovely, new-traditional country. In 2005 Whoa,
Nellie! recorded a five-song demo called “Swing-billy, baby…” and are currently in the home stretch to release a full-length CD.
Mix a flurry of sharp guitar work with a buttery voice that calls up memories of Lucille Starr and Wanda Jackson, and you’ve got Whoa Nellie. The group calls to mind the heartfelt yearnings of Billy Cowsill and the rough-and-ready energy of Ray Condo, two of Canada’s greatest rockabilly singers. It seems impossible that the intricate arrangements, calling to mind the work of guitar greats like Chet Atkins, are the work of just two people, but that’s the reality. Vera Colley and Johnny Mazzei might be the 21st Century’s quintessential country duo.
Ethnomusicologist, Former writer for No Depression (magazine) & Lecturer at RYERSON UNIVERSITY
“you guys are off the chart cool! ”
Victoria Amplifier CO, Naperville IL USA
“The real Cadillac!”
The late Winston Wright, Farmer, Prince Edward County