i kat the bluesMake no mistake – this is one very fine blues album. It’s got everything you could want – a great set of strong songs, outstanding arrangements and musical variety, cool guitar licks, guest appearances from two artists deeply connected to blues history, and…the emotive and sultry vocals of Kat Pearson.

The collection of songs consist of 8 originals and 2 covers, Johnny WintersTired of Tryin’ and Mark Knopfler’s Your Own Sweet Way. In Tired of Tryin’Francesco Accurso’s guitar takes the place of the harmonica on both the recurring riff and the solo, to the benefit of the song. With Your Own Sweet Way, there’s a slightly more forceful treatment than in theNotting Hillbillies’ original and the sweet guitar work here is Knofler-esque without ever seeking to mimic.

The collaboration between Kat Pearson and  Mud Morganfield on the classic-sounding Payin’ My Dues is a delight, each taking it in turn to sing in a kind of conversation and then chipping in with an “oh honey,” or an “oh baby.” The song concerns the struggle to pay the bills in hard economic times. One of the characteristics of this album is the smart, up-to-date lyrics combined with a classic, yet vibrant blues sound.

It’s great hearing someone like Lil’Jimmy Reed on The Scene – and it’s quite amusing as well, given that Jimmy’s now in his 70s, to hear him singing about the “action” on a Saturday night. Chad Strentz also guests on this song.

The songs all feature the voice of Kat Pearson, formerly of LA, now resident in London. Kat’s vocals easily take care of business on each of the varied songs – powerful, sassy, sultry, whatever’s required, but always reaching out and dragging you into the songs, making them come alive. She’s terrific.

????????As is the band – guitarist Francesco Accurso, Federico Parodi on keyboards, bass playerVincenzo Ettore Virgillito and Nicholas Owsianka on drums. These guys all gel well together and I loved the guitar work throughout, as well as the tasty organ playing and barrel-house piano.

Kat & Co. – highly recommended. If we’d come across this album sooner, it would definitely have featured in our Best Albums of 2013 list. Go get yourself a copy.