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Antigone Rising is an all-female alt-country rock band. Catapulted into the national spotlight with a groundbreaking major label debut that landed them in the top 20 of the Billboard Heatseekers chart for most of 2005. Best known for relentless touring and masterful musicianship, the band played upwards of 280 shows a year. The ladies and their infamous Vanna White (the band's beloved 15 passenger van) eventually blazed a trail straight to arenas alongside The Rolling Stones and Aerosmith.
Founding sisters Cathy Henderson and Kristen Henderson have always had the same philosophy. Play better than the boys and make sure the fans feel like part of the family. That philosophy plus writing undeniably catchy songs has allowed this self-sustained group to maintain independence and leave an indelible mark on an industry best known for leaving girl (bands) behind.
The band's latest single, "That Was The Whiskey," was co-written with Nashville songwriter Lori McKenna and is currently gaining airplay and in rotation at CMT and CMT.com The band's bass player, Kristen Henderson, has written a memoir for Simon & Schuster titled Times Two, Two Women in Love and the Happy Family They Made. The book chronicles the journey she and her wife, Sarah Ellis-Henderson, took to start a family - eventually getting pregnant on exactly the same day and giving birth to their son and daughter. The book came out April 5, 2011. Most recently, Ellis-Henderson and her wife were featured on the cover of Time Magazine's groundbreaking "Gay Marriage Already Won" cover (April 8, 2013)
In 2012 the band was invited by the United States Government to travel and perform throughout the Middle East as cultural ambassadors. Headlining arenas in Bethlehem and Tel Aviv at night, performing outreach workshops in remote villages along the West Bank by day, the band was given the opportunity to see first hand how music can bridge cultures, unify and bring people together.
Antigone Rising have shared the stage with Joan Jett, The Rolling Stones, moe., Rob Thomas, Aerosmith, The Allman Brothers and The Bangles. They performed at Lilith Fair 1998 and SXSW 2005 and have co-written with Chris Trapper of The Push Stars and Rob Thomas.
The band originally met at Bucknell University and formed in New York City's Greenwich Village, with sisters Cathy (guitar) and Kristen Henderson (guitar/drums), Penelope "Peppy" Kokines as lead vocalist and Suzanne Obolsky on vocals and percussion.
Their first four albums were recorded mostly with independent labels and financed through fan donations. In 2003 they signed up with Lava Records after label president Jason Flom spotted them playing at one of their gigs. In 2005, they became the first artists to be promoted in Starbucks' Hear Music Series, created to discover and spotlight new music. The high visibility, exclusive sale, in-store promotion and airplay at Starbucks across the country helped the band's acoustic EP From the Ground Up sell over 450,000 copies by the end of 2005. The album's single, "Don't Look Back," was very popular among country audiences, and its video received heavy airplay on CMT. After Jason Flom left Lava Records, the band felt their major label future uncertain. The following years saw a change in line-up as former frontwoman Cassidy left the band, venturing onto a solo career. Bassist Jen Zielenbach also eventually left the group. In 2009, Cassidy released "Tales From Wonderland" a collaboration that included the Antigone Rising remaining band members, much to their chagrin and displeasure.
From their bio: "2009 was a year of birth and re-birth for the band, as founding member Kristen Ellis-Henderson and wife, Sarah, became pregnant simultaneously; giving birth to their son and daughter in February. Longtime friend Nini Camps, having made several guest appearances with the band, officially joined the fold as lead singer and rhythm guitarist. She too gave birth to a son in December. Ellis-Henderson shifted roles from rhythm guitarist to bass guitarist, mother of twins, and author, landing a book deal with Simon and Schuster. Kristen and Sarah penned a memoir about their family's unique conception, titled "Times Two, Two Women in Love and the Happy Family They Made." The book's success pushed Kristen and Sarah into the spotlight in a way they'd never expected, being tapped by GLAAD as media spokeswomen and becoming vocal advocates in the fight for Marriage Equality. That fight landed the legally married couple on the cover of April 8, 2013's issue of Time Magazine - "Gay Marriage Already Won."
With the band's line up officially cemented as a quartet, and their signature three-part harmonies more intact than ever, Antigone Rising released a live five song EP recorded at their favorite New York City stomping ground, The Bitter End. Simply titled "Live From NYC," the EP was certainly transitional in sound, largely intended to introduce fans to the new songwriting partnership of Ellis-Henderson and Camps. A little more country than rock n' roll, the songs were becoming less of a personal diary and more a collection of relatable stories. The band's live spontaneous improvisational moments, led by Cathy Henderson's extraordinary lead guitar playing, coupled with Nini Camps' Spanish influenced slide guitar, all firmly anchored by Dena Tauriello's precise and consistent drumming helped push the band's musical landscape beyond that of traditional jam bands. The sound was enough to convince fans they liked the new direction, and the 2010 Kickstarter Campaign to raise funds for their next recording shattered the band's expectations, nearly doubling the intended goal.
Released in August, 2011, the full length CD "23 Red," included singles, "Everywhere is Home," "One Foot In" and the ballad "Borrowed Time," inspired by the births of Camps and Ellis-Henderson's babies. With the money raised from Kickstarter, the band was able to create their own Rising Shine Record label, and with the help of Joan Jett's Blackheart Records Group, a distribution deal was secured. Starbucks once again jumped aboard in support of the band's music, adding several songs from "23 Red" into regular rotation in all of its locations throughout the United States and Canada. An east coast tour with The Bangles as well as several festival appearances followed.
Antigone Rising's career has been marked by outdoing past accomplishments. As if touring with The Rollings Stones and Aerosmith could ever be outdone, in 2012 the women were invited by the United States Government to travel and perform throughout the Middle East as cultural ambassadors. Headlining arenas in Bethlehem and Tel Aviv at night, performing outreach workshops in remote villages along the West Bank by day, the band soaked in the culture and brought home an understanding of a part of the world most only see via negative news reports. Given the opportunity to see first hand how music can bridge cultures, unify and bring people together, Antigone Rising wrapped promotion for their "23 Red" CD feeling invigorated and eager for the next chapter.
The next chapter starts now. Antigone Rising's latest single, "That Was The Whiskey" was co-written with good friend and song writer Lori McKenna (Faith Hill, Little Big Town, Hunter Hayes). "Whiskey" is getting praise from critics as a foot stompin' mash up, perfectly blending the band's ability to rock with their gift for writing undeniably catchy songs. The video for single is in rotation with CMT.com and various internet outlets, and the new CD is due out in early 2014.
The band line up as of 2013 is founding member Kristen Henderson (or Kristen Ellis-Henderson) on bass guitar/bg vocals, founding member Cathy Henderson on lead guitar/bg vocals, Dena Tauriello on drums and Nini Camps on rhythm guitar and lead vocals. The band created their own record label, 'Rising Shine Records, and released a studio CD in August, 2011 called "23 Red." "23 Red" is distributed through Joan Jett's Blackheart Records Group (MMD). In October, 2011, Starbucks worldwide added two songs from "23 Red" into regular in-store rotation ("Everywhere is Home" & "Gracefully").
Nini Camps - lead vocals, rhythm guitar
Kristen Henderson - bass guitar, vocals
Cathy Henderson - lead guitar, vocals
Dena Tauriello - drums