Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

FIONA BOYES

BLUES WOMAN

2009-08-20

Australian blues guitarist/vocalist Fiona Boyes follows up her successful 2006 stateside debut, Lucky 13, with another top notch release. With a core band featuring Derek O’Brien on guitar, Jimi Bott on drums and Ronnie James on bass, she has all the support she needs for a stellar effort. But, she doesn’t stop there: adding the colors and spice that separate this from the typical blues are special guests Watermelon Slim, Marcia Ball, Kaz Kazanoff, the Texas Horns and Pinetop Perkins. Boyes uses this massively talented crew to take a trip through a wide variety of blues styles. "Look Out Love!" is a hard hitting shuffle that gets added flair from Watermelon Slim’s cool dobro riffs. Slim also shows up as a crazed fire and brimstone preacher who condemns the deceased and all his mourners to a fiery grave on "The Barrelhouse Funeral". On the other end of the spectrum is the upbeat "Train to Hopesville" which features big horn grooves and rollicking piano from Marcia Ball. "Got My Eye on You" is a sexy, salacious number where Boyes’ lust for the boys in tattoos is almost as hot as Kazanoff’s guttural sax grooves. "Do You Feel Better" is a slow weeper with a 60’s girl group vibe while "Place of Milk and Honey" is a straight forward acoustic blues that features Boyes yearning for that hunk of easy street that blues musicians dream of but seldom reach. "Howlin’ At Your Door" has a tough, sinewy beat straight out of the Mississippi hill country while JB Lenoir’s "I Want to Go" is a romping stomping affair that gets plenty of propulsion from Jimi Bott’s bongos and heavy hand on a plastic trash can. Throughout, Boyes not only plays some hot wired guitar but also sings with both nuance and authority, sounding at times like a gritty version of Maria Muldaur and at others like a semi-tamed Robert Plant. It’s hard to imagine there will be many blues releases this year that hit so many bases so well. Smitty

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

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