Judging from the album cover, portraying a woman alone with her guitar, there is reason to believe that some mystery can be revealed about women, and guitars from hush. Ana Popovic in her debut CD release does not let us down. Sultry sexy and wholesome with a no nonsense sensibility she can wail on the guitar and sing with a raw husky sensuality, reminiscent of the early Bonnie Raitt.
Not that my opinion really matters, but I would like to argue the point that Ana Popovic has created the equivalent of a new Blues "wall of sound" similar to what Phil Spector proposed for music of the sixties.
Her new CD hush has a lush full sound, steaming with searing guitar solos, strong ballads, premium song writing and production values seldom seen in Blues music (and perhaps following on the jazz success of that Canadian Kraal chick) lives up to it's reputation as one of the first Blues albums by a European woman, to make it to the top 25 in Living Blues (May 2001) Radio Charts poll.
Spector wasn't really respected or appreciated right away, as his ears were slightly ahead of his time. While Spector fused together many instruments to create what some would perceive as a wave of noise different than anything they had ever heard before, Popovic melds jazz and blues with a full rich and heavy grinding sound that sometimes has too happy a beat for my mind, but has to be appreciated for its clarity and soulful pursuits.
The result is it makes the music more acceptable to a wider audience. And may make some purists cringe. Drums, cymbals, bass and most importantly her steamy, often smoking voice, and guitar are very much up in the mix. This is a good thing.
This is an example of a record company, Ruf Records, with offices in Europe and the US (make a point of getting startled by the barking dog on their web site) supporting the artist in every way to good intentions. With songs by Buddy Guy and Tom Waits interspersed with mostly her own compositions, and strongly supported in one of the best duos of a song (in the Blues category if there was such a beast, the envelope please, Once again, it's) Ana and Bernard Allison in that fine Copeland tune, Bring your fine self home. This song alone is reason enough to buy the beast, this wall, of sound, this treat.
The album has some very good moments. On more than one occasion we are forced to sit up and take notice when she sings and plays the guitar. The Buddy Guy song girl of many words hums and rings and brings the horns in reference to the voice in reference to the guitar in reference to the soul of any blues purists. This girl can play the guitar and make the hair stand up on the back of your neck with impeccable impunity.
Minute till dawn, with the standup bass as the Survivor luxury weapon of choice is a great jazz ballad that showcases the song writing skills and husky voice of this marvelous performer. When she says, "a minute 'til dawn is her favourite time," we are right there beside her, awaiting the morning light. And once again the guitar brings a new updated friendly feel to the song without taking away from the mystery and romance of the overall dilemma of finding someone to spend a minute till dawn with.
Bring your fine self home; a duet with the great Bernard Allison is worth the price of admission. Grinding and soaring guitars lend an eerie perspective to this song that makes you smile through the mist that clouds the soul. Their voices together harmonize the lyrics with a crispness that seems easy to attain.
The final song how the mighty have fallen, reveals that the girl knows whence she comes with this blues stuff, and an effortless voice and honky tonk like piano riff keeps the wall of sound ever present and jarring our sensibilities to acknowledge her presence.
In the opening song Love fever she sings, "You don't know what you do to me. Your love is so heavenly. Can't get you off my mind. Stay with you all the time." And I sigh.
One of my pet things to do would be to organize a Blues cruise and we would invite Ana and perhaps in this intimate environment we would have the opportunity to ask her the question that deserves to be answered, and in my estimation tells you the most and sometimes the only important thing you need to know about a person and that is "Do you, Ana, wear socks to bed."
Simply click on the CD cover at left to order this CD NOW!
This review is copyright © 2002 by Danny Murray, and Blues On Stage at: www.mnblues.com, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission.
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