Michele Lundeen has garnered something of a reputation as a live performer, particularly in her own back yard (Southern California, and Northern Nevada). Known as "The Queen of Steam", she has been fronting her own band since 1998, and represented the San Diego blues society (BLUSD) in the Blues Foundation's International Blues Challenge in 2001. "Song Inside Me," her debut recording, features nine original songs, and all of the vocals were recorded live.
"Blues is a Feeling" gets things off to a nice start. The punchy horns combine well to punctuate Lundeen's gritty vocals. The album is very much about Lundeen's voice, and she shows herself to be equally at home with uptempo rocking numbers like the rocking "Free At Last" and more lightweight songs like "All Day Blues" where she is just accompanied by Roy Rogers on resonator. She also shows she can tackle soul on "You're Gonna Make Me Cry," although her version does not really add anything new to the song.
Jazz is also on the menu, in the shape of "No Money No Honey" where Ed Early does a grand job on trombone, and Lundeen's vocals are suitably sultry. Then it is back to the blues on the uptempo "Starting All Over" where Charles Button lays down some tasty guitar. This is the last of three tracks that are labelled "The San Diego Sessions." The band then take things home with the last three tracks from the "Route 44 sessions," eventually closing out with the 12-bar "I Need A Dog."
"Song Inside Me" certainly shows Michele Lundeen to be a highly talented singer and songwriter. Although the material here puts her mainly in the blues belter territory, there is enough evidence to suggest that she can handle most styles comfortably. What would be really interesting, though, is to hear her tackle some country soul... now that could turn out to be a real treat. In the meantime, "Song Inside Me" will do just fine.