What a treat this album is! Blues is indeed the new cool in the hands of this tightly-knit band of excellent, multinational musicians, led by singer Kathleen Pearson. Featuring the very talented Francesco Accurso on guitar, Federico Parodi on keyboards, Nick Owsianka on drums and Marco Marzola on bass, this album delivers on its title’s promise – big time.
We get twelve songs, all but two originals, that are clearly the blues, but it’s modern blues – cool blues – which draws you in, speaks to you and lifts your spirits.
The album kicks off ambitiously with Albert King’s Born under a Bad Sign. But we needn’t worry, its funky reworking and the lovely searing guitar work delivers the goods. In Calling Your Name, the skills of Kat & Co’s drummer and organist are to the fore, along with Kat’s well phrased vocals. Bedroom Floor is then introduced by some dirty slide guitar, leading into a guitar driven rocker, before Selfish Blues changes the mood, giving us a jazzy, night-time blues which gives an opportunity for some slinky singing, bluesy piano and heart-wrenching guitar.
Prelude to City Burn keeps the slow, simmering mood going for a brief minute or so before the tempo picks up again with the launching of the funky City Burn. Piano and some mournful harmonica introduces a blues of heart break lost love in Nobody Dies For Love – “what an awful place to be.” Whiskey then gives us testifying, church and booze, all in an unholy mixture in a bluesy, organ-led smoulderer.
Shake It All Away hits a hopeful note, even though “life ain’t easy,” and then we have a very cool version of blues pianist Roosevelt Sykes’s Night Time is the Right Time, with some very sweet guitar work. A smoky, jazzy Piano Interlude brings us to the last song, Low Down – “I’m so low down, down to the ground.” It’s the blues all right, but somehow the music takes us out of it.
Kat Pearson’s atmospheric, soulful and powerful singing shine throughout, making this well-arranged and produced album thoroughly satisfying and enjoyable.