Connie Lush's band is called Blues Shouter, and while that may be an accurate description of some numbers she is also capable of great subtlety and tenderness. She is Liverpudlian, but you would only know that if you hear her talk. To hear her sing you think of the space between Etta James and Janis Joplin. The other star of the show is guitarist John Lewis, who combines jazz and rock styles with great slide playing. Think Ry Cooder with more passion, or Alvin Lee with taste. The band's rhythm section consists of Lush's partner, Terry Harris, on bass and Carl Woodward on drums, although they are augmented by other musicians and singers on some tracks.
This is the fourth album and while the band has always been a tight unit they are developing as writers and eight of the ten songs are written by band members. The first couple of numbers, "Standin'" and "Get It Right," rock like something from 30 years ago by Bonnie Raitt, Little Feat or the Stones, and "Shoppin'," with added brass section, swings like a stable door in a hurricane. Slower songs like "You Can't Make Me Stay," "It Hurts So Bad" and the closing title track show her other side, with good use of dynamics and plenty of restraint when appropriate. While it is clearly Lush's show there are good solos, mostly from Lewis, but also Tony Peers' Milesian trumpet and Henry Priestman's organ. Lush's choice of two standards, "Guilty" and "I'd Rather Go Blind," show her confidence about comparisons with her peers. In both cases she gets away with it and her renditions are excellent, but I doubt if many blues fans need another recording of either, especially if they already have the definitive versions (Bonnie Raitt and Etta James respectively). It is a reflection on the band's writing that two such great songs stand out from the rest more in terms of familiarity than quality.
You're unlikely to see her albums in many shops, but if you want to try a few tracks on her website you can (and quite probably will) also order CDs from there. She's ready to be discovered. Get in there early.
You can now order other CDs, books, and videos from Blues On Stage in association with Amazon.com. Simply click on the logo at the left and shop! They have some of the best prices on the web and even offer some used product at lower prices.
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