MJ Bishop


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~Winner, Blooming-Tunes Song Competition, Bloomington, IN, 2011
~Finalist, Tucson Folk Festival Songwriting Contest, Tucson, AZ, 2010
~Finalist, Tumbleweed Music Festival Songwriting Contest, Richland, WA, 2009
~Finalist, Tucson Folk Festival Songwriting Contest, Tucson, AZ, 2009

Honorable Mention – American Songwriter Magazine

Hobo Dreams (Pull Of The Moon) receives Honorable Mention in the American Songwriter Magazine Lyric Contest, May/June 2008

Honorable Mention – Nashville Demo Studio: Annual Songwriters Competition

This Way & That (Pull of the Moon) receives Honorable Mention from Nashville Demo Studio: Annual Songwriters Competition, August 2008

Notable Northwest Recording of 2008 – KBCS FM

Pull of the Moon is chosen as Notable Northwest Recording of 2008 (Christine Linde, Americana Music Director, KBCS FM, Bellevue, WA)  

Bishop does sound rather like the much-missed Patsy Cline... – Maverick Magazine (UK)

"This album shows that MJ Bishop has a truly amazing voice and has recorded with some very talented musicians.

I don’t wish to jump on the bandwagon, but it is true when they say that MJ Bishop does sound rather like the much-missed Patsy Cline and I’m sure Patsy would not object to that. This is Americana sung in a folky way with such love and devotion that it needs to be listened to in order to be believed.

Skilled on acoustic guitar as well as vocals, Bishop’s strengths are best displayed when she is involved in a tenderly-sung song, as her voice just makes you want to stand up and cry for more. She states on her MySpace page that she cites the great Hank Williams as her influence, and you can see this on tracks such as This Way & That. It has a quicker beat than previous songs, but this is to Bishop’s advantage as the song’s groove is very similar to that of Hank’s more upbeat and faster played songs. All Over Again is honky-tonk styled and Bishop sings each word with great affection demonstrating the love and respect she has for the greats that have graced Americana before her and continue to do so to this day. A fan of the pedal steel for many a year, it certainly is great to hear such great pedal steel playing on newly recorded songs.

Ode to Big Blue has an Appalachian, stripped down start to it. As the song progresses, not that many additional instruments are added into the mix but, as many discovered at the great Maverick festival, it is how you play the songs, rather than how many instruments you use. Far Cry begins as if it should be played at a Kentucky hoe-down or at least at a barn dance. The instrumentals are, as found throughout the album, played to such perfection that I’m sure a second take was not needed to nail it. Over the duration of the twelve songs, you bear witness to some fabulously crafted tracks which would make some of the more well-known artists sit up and ask who the heck MJ Bishop and her band really are. As long as they continue to produce work such as this, I cannot see why further recognition and praise won’t be coming their way." (March 2009)

Superb poetically written lyrics... – Rootsville (Belgium)

"MJ Bishop hails from Seattle, and with 'Pull of the Moon' this singer/songwriter shows she surely has even greater things ahead of her. Superb poetically written lyrics which blend beautifully with her silken honeyed voice. 'Pull Me In' is her earnest plea for love, delivered with so much depth that everyone who listens to this ballad wants immediately to be her rescuer. This CD mixes beautiful folk with country."  (August 2008) 

What Bishop is doing with her songs crawl under your skin. – Moors Magazine (The Netherlands)

"MJ Bishop wrote all the songs for Pull of the Moon itself, she sings them with a beautiful, old-fashioned sounding voice, plays guitar, accordion and percussion on this CD and a series of excellent musicians hired by the subdued arrangements add beautiful coloring.

Bishop sings beautiful ballads, but can also sound old-fashioned country, with pedal steel guitar and everything. Wistful music about love, about loneliness, bittersweetly sung with a beautiful voice. A real cross-country singer this lady is certainly not because she is, curiously said, simply too good for.

What Bishop is doing with her songs crawl under your skin. That puts them on her voice, but also with the beautiful subdued instrumentation that is always just right. Pedal steel, cello, strings, they never sound too sweet or too smooth. The songs remain intimate. Very nice. And then suddenly there are also a hilarious sing-along part on This Way & That. Nice."  (September 2008) 

Bishop is blessed with a hell of a voice and has her own type of pure Americana... – Ctrl.Alt.Country (Belgium)

"I must honestly admit that prior to receipt of her latest CD, this name was completely foreign to me. MJ Bishop? Certainly never heard of it! It turns out that "Pull Of The Moon," the album in question, is already her third. Moreover, it's the type of disc which can always perk me up. Bishop is blessed with a hell of a voice and has her own type of pure Americana, which you are happy to hear and which attracts a freshly opened can of superlatives.

Bishop is in the same musical waters with colleagues like a Neko Case, a Gillian Welch, a Jesse Sykes and the Cowboy Junkies like to frequent. Country? Yes, but with a significant twist. More alternative or really Americana, of an acoustic bent and often more earthy with an introspective side.

The lyrics are also very strong. Bishop creates a good story out of very little. The best example of this is "Ode To Big Blue." In that melancholy gem she brings the accordion into play, and with such a lovely old-fashioned sob in the voice creates a tribute to her own guitar. Just beautiful! Elsewhere she weaves her stories with care around themes such as heartbreak, renunciation of a nine-to-five job, love or just everyday life which overall is not always beautiful.

And she is backed by professionals, among them Nancy K. Dillon and Thornton Bowman (backing vocals), Bob Knetzger (pedal steel, Dobro and banjo), Paul Elliott (Fiddle), Chris Spencer (electrical), Paula Walters and Doug Miller (standing bass), Traci Hoveskeland (cello) and Aimee Zoe Tubbs (drums and percussion). For me this is a true discovery!"  (October 2008) 

A bluegrass influence is woven in and out of a number of tracks on this release... – Victory Music Magazine (Tacoma, WA)

"Haunting as Lake Erie itself, the song “Up North” is filled with an intangible beckoning force; subtle, deep and otherworldly. There is so much sweet longing in “No Stars Tonight,” enhanced by a weeping steel guitar and empathetic cello and bass lines behind Bishop’s soul-baring vocals.

On the lighter side of irony, “This Way and That” is a crazy, mixed-up funny look at one of those whatcha-gonna-do days. The ‘grassy wail in Bishop’s style works magically with the accordion and the delicious accent of gentle brush strokes in “Ode to Big Blue” and then blends exquisitely with the harmony of Thornton Bowman in “All Over Again.” Bishop in fact surrounds herself with a number of heavy hitters in the Northwest music scene and each one contributes striking gems of their own making to this truly special recording with lots of detail and delicate touches.

A bluegrass influence is woven in and out of a number of tracks on this release and “Far Cry” is a classic example of that kicking-up-the-dust-on-a-back-road-less-traveled feel. Speaking of travel, “Highway” is saturated with that open road longing and big sky color. “Hobo Dreams” is a delightful way to finish off Pull of the Moon, as it leaves the listener hungry for whatever Bishop comes up with next.”  (October 2008)

MJ Bishop Music