Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Debbie Davies Triggers a Musical Explosion on New Telarc Release

Blues Blast includes guest appearances by Tab Benoit, Coco Montoya and Charlie Musselwhite

"Her dedication to 'rockin' the blues,' as she puts it, continues to inspire superlative efforts and a deep freezer's worth of bone-chilling guitar."
-- Relix

When blues guitarist Debbie Davies' released All I Found (CD-83636), her June 2005 debut on Telarc, Blues Revue raved: "She pulls out all the stops. She can play it all: seductive, soulful material, down-home delta blues, or humorous tales of life on the road."

Two summers later, Davies follows up with the August 28, 2007, release of Blues Blast (CD-83669), a pressure cooker recording that showcases her seasoned guitar and vocal capabilities and includes guest appearances by three high-profile bluesmen: guitarists Tab Benoit and Coco Montoya, and harpist Charlie Musselwhite.

"Like a master chef's gourmet meal offering exquisite courses, Debbie has crafted a nine-course wallop of her musical vision and spirit," says Art Tipaldi, senior writer for Blues Revue and the author of the album's liner notes. "One listen to Debbie's tribute [to guitar mentor Albert Collins] with Coco, the opening 'A.C. Strut,' proves these kids learned Pop's lessons."

And that's just the beginning. While the spirit of Collins is ever-present in Davies' guitar attack, the earthy Texas shuffle has become her trademark sound. On Buddy Guy's classic 'My Time After While,' she conjures up that fiery Lone Star groove.

Four of the eight remaining tracks are either written or co-written by Davies. Musselwhite ups the ante when he steps in with his high-end blows and low-end draws on Davies' own "Sittin' and Cryin'" and Musselwhite's own contribution, "Movin' and Groovin.'" Labelmate Tab Benoit joins Davies to pay homage to two legendary blues masters: John Lee Hooker on "Crawlin' King Snake" and Howlin' Wolf on "Howlin' for My Darlin.'"

The closer, "Sonoma Sunset," bakes slow and rich like the perfect high-calorie dessert for every blues lover. Davies and her three accomplices join together in this minor-key, slow-blues instrumental. The combination of Musselwhite's harp solo - an exquisite succession of one sonic innovation after another - and input from all three guitarists turn this track into a ten-minute workout. In the final coda, it's easy to feel the spirited enthusiasm in their teamwork.

"With tour schedules being what they are," says Davies, "it's nearly impossible to get four blues musicians in the same studio at the same time. So making this record was a rare joy, and a highly satisfying experience. All of us - Tab, Coco, Charlie and myself - are students of the old school, and there's a sense of history that ties us together. We all brought our 'A game,' and when we came together, we all spoke the same language. The exchange of ideas that took place in the making of this record had very little to do with talking and everything to do with music."

More than just a creative dialogue, Debbie Davies' latest is a Blues Blast.

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