Noelle Doughty was the kid who knew every word to every song and just loved loved loved to sing. She was raised by parents who had a passion for country and all things Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Willie and Waylon. It was AM radio, movie soundtracks, jingles, commercials, and anything within earshot that informed her musical vocabulary. Her grammar school music teacher adored the Beatles and taught everything about music with a reverence to them. Although Noelle was in the chorus and glee club for her early school days, it was rock and roll that called. She joined her first band at 15, playing keg parties, covering Ten Years After, Cream, The Who, Hendrix. And Led Zeppelin. The first time she sang “Communication Breakdown” was on her high school stage at an audition for Battle of the Bands. The band was short-lived, but it solidified one thing: that Noelle had found her way to center stage. This is what filled her soul, and she knew that this was exactly where she needed to be.
Working night shifts at a diner to get through college, she befriended a jazz pianist who came in every night and sat at the counter. Eventually he convinced her to learn the jazz standards. It was a step out of her comfort zone, but, again, closer to music. Billie Holliday and Nina Simone became her new heroes–the richness and depths of their voices carried her away. Before she graduated with a BA in Art History, she also starred and recorded in an original play with a soundtrack which featured John Popper. She eventually joined a Funk/Groove band called Functional Loonacy. This was her first real band experience. They had a regular touring run of the Hudson Valley, NYC, and throughout the Northeast. Functional Loonacy played every kind of gig imaginable, from pig roasts to radio shows, and opened for national acts, festivals, and even Woodstock. They had a great, loyal fan base, and were a family that lasted 7 years.
After moving to NYC, Noelle joined the Matt Turk Band and played regularly in Greenwich Village. An acoustic collaboration called Lotus produced a collection of Arabic-inspired songs in open tunings. Following the end of Functional Loonacy, some of the group were asked to do a one-off Halloween gig of disco funk covers. 10 years later, the band was still performing under the name Monica’s Kneepads. The band defined the term “disco jam band.” Monica’s Kneepads was a floating circus of rotating characters that emerged, fully costumed, and played all the livelong (livelong is actually one word) night. No two gigs were ever alike, and they prided themselves on that. The band played their last gig in 2008.
Since then, Noelle had been reaching deeper into her country and folk roots, playing bluegrass and enjoying singing mostly in intimate circles. Then her fortuitous meeting with Gretchen Menn backstage at a Robert Plant concert made it apparent that she needed to bring her talent back out on the main stage.
With an eclectic mix of influences and experience Noelle Doughty has come full circle. She is reliving the music of Led Zeppelin in a whole new and beautiful way. She is back to her roots playing the music she loves and knows the best.