Tuesday, March 4, 2014

First Listen: Kerri Powers - self titled

A smoky and seductive voice snakes its way through an opaque landscape of sound. The musicianship is top notch and there's instruments all over in some of these songs, expertly placed to make the most of the tracks. Even so, Powers' vocal is the star of the show. This stuff is timeless. I could be sitting in a cloudy bar in some southern town years upon years ago, or listening in my favorite local room in town last night, Kerri Powers music spans time, space, and generations. I am confused, I am not really sure if I can and should call her voice pretty or if I should call it powerful, I guess we can just settle on passionate. She exudes it in every line and note. Let’s leave it at “it’s just soul driven, good music”.

Standout tracks 

Buttercup has a nice driving force behind it with a wirey slide guitar and a killer groove. Delta blues, swamp and cigarette ash. Powers voice hurdles from strained and sexy to pure and somewhat reserved. A delicate balance between a force of nature and refine beauty. Truly impressive.

Old Shirt is driven by a harmonica part, as some blues just plain should be. It’s a bit subdued but adds a real nice balance to the previous track. I think that’s an important part of this work, the balance and the poise that Powers puts forth, showing her versatility as a performer and songwriter.

Tallulah Send A Car for Me has a playful picked line leading it. A story song, repetition, and standing true to blues fashion that came before. She adds her own flavor to the arrangements. Just a great song, sure to become a classic or a favorite in your rotation.

Kerri Powers sings with a fire deep in her belly and a burning in her soul. She is fierce, she is raw, but somehow it’s all so well put together and eloquent. I am not sure how she does that, but this stuff is straight raw unrefined and unapologetic emotion spread across absolutely divine instrumentation (another Dirt Floor masterpiece). The blues runs deep and red in this gals veins. She can tell she has been around the block, seen a few things in her day, and she forces that intensity and endurance deep into her music.


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