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The True Tale of the Midnight Balladera

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Music Bio

"Fleeting as Gold,
Dark as Midnight"

"To quote the curse of the Midnight Balladera, Ambur Rockell musical bio is as 'Fleeting as Gold and Dark as Midnight'. To follow Ambur's songstress career is a wild ride through the west coast of golden California, through the Texas Honky Tonks and over the backwood hills of Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Though the idols on her records sing of leaving their country home for the neon city lights promise of fame- Ambur fled from the Hollywood "Heart Attack" to find peace in the hills.

Rockell's earlier influences of punk and rockabilly from her hometown, Orange County, California set her growling onto the stages of the West Coast and Viva Las Vegas. After relocating briefly to Austin, Tx, Ambur fronted a Runaways Cover band as Cherie Curie in Queens of Noise. The act gained attention of local producer and rocker, Danny B. Harvey of Head Cat and they collaborated on her debut releases, showcasing her duality in genres. The roaring rocker had turned into a blue yodeler in her love call "Heart Attack"  and as soon as she laid the vocals down, she was off to Arkansas with the new track, which won best Music Video in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. In 2015 her full length release of "Prayer of a Honky Tonk Angel" set her up with a suitcase full of traveling songs to get her "from juke to joint"- according to Ambur. It was her West Coast tour with Gretsch sponsored musician Al Dual, which provoked the Hillbilly Rockin' singles that dually joined her Punk roots, Grandpaws' Western Swing and it's moonshine ridden cousin, Bluegrass.

In 2017 Rockell took up ink to channel her life tale, re-imagined in the psychedelic old west- The Midnight Balladera.  A mystic western story, written and illustrated with a song for every chapter. It was her “renaissance”. A sound and a story was born that was all her own.
 
13 songs for the Midnight Balladera were recorded in Santa Ana, CA in July 2023 and the musical video vignette's are currently in production. Miss Rockell has her sights set on an album release and a stage musical production. The Balladera currently resides in the hills of Eureka Springs, Arkansas,

Artist Bio

Let's take a trip. Passing through the hall of fame of rhinestone cowgirl pop art, ride a rainbow on a cosmetic, technicolor journey of glittering burlesque babes, hillbilly royalty, through the fairy tales of when gnarled trees reached for the skirts of maidens ---and then plunge into the darkness of gritty, black and white illustrations. Halt! Wait- what? How did we get here? Its so...spooky. Let's unpack the bags of this twisted, rambling wild rose, such as Ambur Rockell.

 
In bag number one, from the early years all I can find is lingerie and creepy dolls- what gives? Ambur Rockell cites her artistic inspirations, as influenced by "Big Eyes" characters of 1960's Pop artist Margaret Keane, surrealist Mark Ryden, many southern California Low-Brow artists and even fashion designer Nudie -a maker of star- studded western suits. After being turned away to Fashion school and Art schools for poverty, Ambur took on a DIY approach to her learning. She says of this-

 

"In this Hollywood circus, I've learned to look to my successors- to jump through the hoops they did, to watch the magician's hands and master my own ship." says Ambur.

Ambur wanted behind the curtains of the magic and got there by way of posing as a pin-up model for some esteemed artists in Los Angeles, CA and selling her own pieces to her entertainment idols. During this time, Miss Rockell was inspired to have sets built from her art and co-created with photographers in the area as a model in her worlds.  In 2008, Ambur Rockell curated "Artease" - a Pin-Up, Burlesque and Low-Brow art supershow at the Light Gallery in Irvine, CA. Artease featured Pin-Up and Burlesque paintings, photography, full sets and LIVE sit-in paintings with models. 

 

 Ooh, what's in bag #2, you ask? From the year 2011-2017 within Ambur's hatbox suitcases, you would find a cornucopia of rhinestones, more nail polish than the 10 armed Ganesha would need and recycled cosmetics from her cosmic Gramma. Nail polishes with the name "Poison Ivy", "Glitter Gone Wild" or "Mystic Midnight Magic" were the mediums which artist, Ambur Rockell used to create her "Folk Pop Art" paintings. Of course it all started with Dolly Parton. Supernaturally, of course. Approximately 300 paintings of Country stars, Pop figures and swamp girls were sold- all painted in make-up and nail polish. The "Kiss and Make-Up" artist's first showing was at the Legendary Austin music venue- The Continental Club Gallery. She sold her paintings to get from town-to-town until quitting the art form and her transient life all together in 2017 because of the toxic fumes and- she got a cat.

 

Fortuna, a long haired, black Chantilly, with golden eyes that bewitch the soul is who brings us into the night hours of Ambur Rockell.  Now playing with pointillism and ink blobs, Ambur wanted a black cat to keep her company during the long hours inking the Midnight Balladera, a witchy western. Ambur wanted art in her book, but decided she needed to do it herself and that black and white prints well. It's that simple. I wanted a super villain story, but Ambur assures me it's there in her book, album and musical The Midnight Balladera. In October 2017 a solo exhibit, "Midnight in the West", showcased her framed illustrations and hand-bound grimoires -as for a book release, she'd decided to "just do that herself, too" and learned to bind fan-style table art books.

 

Following the completion of her reimagined life story, Ambur applied her lifelong studies of the esoteric and began illustrating a Tarot deck, still in the works- she's busy producing her own music videos and musical right now. When asked to look into that bag, Ambur dawns a black casket case on roller wheels. No, go ahead, you unpack it!

 

PRESS Meet Ambur Rockell – CanvasRebel Magazine

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