Crystal Shawanda – Midnight Blues
True North Records
10 tracks/39 minutes
Crystal Shawanda’s eighth album offers a nice, stylistic diversity on tunes for the listener to savor. Featuring six originals and four covers, Shawanda varies the styles and tempos of the songs to give the listener a smorgasbord of musical delights to enjoy here.
Hailing from Ontario, Shawanda has switched gears between country music and blues and is equally adept in both genres. This Juno-Award winning singer had a raspy and powerful voice that just grabs the listener. Backed here by Dewayne Strobel on guitar, Dave Roe on bass, Peter Keys and Jessie O’Brien sharing the keys/piano, harmonica by Stave Marriner and Harpdog Brown, and drums by Mark Becket, Pete Abbott, and Louis Winfield.
“Midnight Blues” starts the album off. This is a slow cut with a nice guitar solo and Crystal singing with guts and emotion. Things heat up smartly with Buddy Guy’s “What Kind of Man,” a hot and rocking tune with solid guitar, nice organ work and, of course, Shawanda singing with passion. “Rumpshaker” takes us down home with some slick acoustic guitar and harp as Shawanda howls and moans out this Mississippi Delta inspired song.
Shawanda again shifts gears for “How Bad Do You Want It,” a soulful, mid-tempo piece with a cool groove and more well-done guitar. Next is “Why Do I Love You,” a powerful, slow blues ballad that Shawanda nails. The lead guitar and organ accompaniment are equally filled with soul and feeling as she plies through this Jim Lauderdale roots cut. The classic “Evil” gets a female makeover as Shawanda growls and grinds her way through this one. The mood is sultry and greasy as she and the harp glide smoothly through this great cover.
“I Want My Soul Back” has Crystal forcefully pleading with the Devil to return her soul to her. She sings with deep power and feeling here as she searches for her redemption. Up next is the cover “That’s Just The Woman,” a slow cut that Shawanda lays all her cards out on the table for her man. “Hold Me” has some barrelhouse piano and nice backing vocals with Shawanda in firm control. The final number is “Walk With The Moon” where Crystal gives us a song that is a throwback to the early 1960’s style that could easily be a strolling Lieber-Stoller girl group tune with some steel guitar added for fun. It’s yet another dimension of her music, giving us yet another kind of cut to enjoy.
This is another fine album by this renowned Canadian artist. She shows superb musical diversity and delivers the goods no matter what sort of style or song she’s singing. She is as adept at the blues as she is with country music. This album is well worth a listen; I found it to be quite good and I enjoyed listening to it!
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