Music You Don't Know You Like Yet
The release marks Nora Jean Wallace’s return to the recording studio after a several year hiatus to care for her ill mother. While many artists with a lengthy career interruption take stock of what is happening and hip at the time of their return and mold their new material to fit the latest trends, Wallace refuses to play that game and has jumped back in right where she left off with straight-forward blues and soul. No hip-hop. No tape loops. No guest appearance by a rock star looking to get back to the roots. Just Wallace and the veteran Severn studio roster of top-notch blues talent. (Johnny Moeller and David Earl on guitars, Steve Gomes on bass, Kevin Anker on organ, Kim Wilson and Steve Guyger on harmonica, Stanley Banks on keyboards and Robb Stupka on drums). As befitting her long career in the Chicago blues club scene, Wallace sings with a strong voice and an assured attitude that surely cuts through the din of the bar crowd and forces all attention to the front of the stage. The 10 cuts collected here reward that attention with tales that celebrate a night of cognac filled over-indulgence, "Martell", stake out her territory lest she be confused with someone doing a vanity project," I’m a Blues Woman", and make it clear that she’s on to her man’s side trips, "Evidence"," I’ve Been Watching You" and "Look Over Yonder", the latter of which features a smoking hot harmonica solo that matches the disgust in her voice. Elsewhere, she laments the grip of love that isn’t totally reciprocal, "Victim", and cleans her house of the scoundrel who has let her down, "Rag and Bucket". While her man may think he can have it both ways and she won’t do anything about it, Wallace makes it clear that she has just as many options herself and that she’s willing to use them if he doesn’t straighten up and fly right,"I Don’t Have to Beg You to Love Me". While there is nothing ground-breaking here, that is probably the point. Sometimes all you need is good old-fashioned straight up blues. Smitty
review by Mark
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