|(c) 2007 Blues-Finland.com|
|Blues Caravan 2007
23 April 2007
Blues Guitar Women take their caravan to Finland this week. To support the tour, Sue Foley, Deborah Coleman and Roxanne Potvin put out the album "Time Bomb". Ms Potvin also has a solo album out.
Blues Caravan, the collaboration of three blues guitar women, arrives this week in Finland. Sue Foley, Deborah Coleman and Roxanne Potvin start their Finnish invasion on Saturday in Vaasa as a Good Mood Club act.The event takes place in Amarillo, at the hard beating heartland of Vaasa town on the west-coast of Finland. The Blues Guitar Women also strut their stuff on Sunday at a jazz-fest in Tapiola, Espoo.
|This three-woman blues-guitar "trionado" opened their European tour in the end of January with shows in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, France and Spain. This week the trio also visits Danmark and Sweden. The trip to the US of A is also ahead during the summer.
The German-based Ruf Records is the head honcho behind The Blues Caravan show and this year's ensemble is the third version of the tour. The first tour had Sue Foley, Ana Popovic and Candye Cane, while the second one last year had Erja Lyytinen and the English guys Ian Parker and Aynsley Lister.
The Blues Guitar Women is one tight grouping, although Foley has the leading role in some way - she was the executive producer of this record with Thomas Ruf and composed the title track "Time Bomb". Sueīs taste in blues is quite traditional, but that doesnīt particularly show up in her music that much. "The situation is paradoxal in a way, īcos I wanna play the blues in my own way, but when I want to enjoy just listening to the blues, I like the classics like Slim Harpo", as Foley recently described in the online version of The Advocate newspaper.
The wild live performer Deborah Coleman is a rocker kinda girl, but she feels thereīs something truly mojofying in the blues. "What I love in the blues, is that it gets betterīn better with time like a good wine does. The more you experience and learn in life, the more you can relate and understand people on all walks of life", as she pondered on The Blues Wax ezine the past winter.
The "Time Bomb" album was captured on tape in a quite spontaneous session in Minneapolis with Kevin Bowe, who has also worked with such luminaries as John Mayall and Etta James. Everybody brought two or three of their favourite songs into the session and the rest were chosen by the whole crew with also a couple of cover songs on the plate.
Beyond the slight pecking order, the responsibility on the record is shared with charity. All three - including the youngest Roxanne Potvin - get to sing three own numbers and the classic song "In The Basement" is sung as a trio. The title track is a shufflinī instrumental with all three women duelling solos.
|Blues Guitar Women from left Foley, Coleman and Potvin. (c) Ruf Recrods|
|Although the record wonīt quite probably gain an alltime classic album status, it still ainīt just your average sideshow snack. Besides the cheerful guitar fireworks of the opening track, the Dylanīs "Maggie's Farm"-like "So Far" is excitingly attractive with Sue Foleyīs inventive turnarounds. Sueīs slightly gnarly singing sound is put on good use almost geniusly on her barroom-styled track "Show Me".
|The most full-blooded singer of the trio is Deborah Coleman and she really gets to belt it out on her song "My Car Wonīt Start". Her James Brown covering "Talking Loud" is also a good one, although she canīt quite keep up the sparks flying just like the godfather of soul himself did on it.
What The Blues Caravan is really about, is cheerful and joyous live happenings and the people usually like to have a record as a souvenir from the show. "Time Bomb" doesnīt capture the electricity of a live show, but does hold itīs job well as a musical document of the Blues Caravan 2007 show. The principles of the Ruf Records is to let their artists take liberties from the strict blues traditions, but the "Time Bomb" album is still roots-music, blues with spiky rock & soul music flavour delights.
Roxanne Potvin: The Way It Feels
For the young Canadian Roxanne Potvin, Blues Guitar Women might
just be a step into a bigger fame. She is stunningly mature for her age
(24) and shows her talent on the Blues Caravan tour and as well on
her latest solo effort, "The Way It Feels". Roxie doesnīt yet have much
of studio experience, so the recording of "Time Bomb" was a fine treat for her.
"Just getting into the studio felt great. The atmosphere was friendly and warm from the very beginning, so I didnīt feel tense recording with experienced artists", as Roxanne joyously said in French for the BluesWax ezine as she is from a bilingual family and mainly speaks French. Her development has been phenomenal, she started playing seriously only about three years ago. Her aims are still in the future though, "I want to learn and grow as much as I just possibly can. I want be as good as I can get, and this tour is almost like a blessing for me to reach that."
Potvinīs talents have been recognized widely. A proof about that is the crew responsible for the "The Way It Feels" album. The producer is Colin Linden, who also plays guitar on the album. Guest singers include John Hiatt and Daniel Lanois. The album was even nominated for the best blues-album of the year in the Canadian Juno Awards. Although the award went for Jim Byrnesī album "House of Refuge" it doesnīt make Roxanne Potvinīs "The Way It Feels" lose itīs shine a bit. The album charms with itīs intimate tone and feel.
Besides blues, there is also soul and jazz influences, New Orleans flavour, and some traditional singer-songwriter thoughtful ballad stuff. Especially personal track for Roxanne must be "Le Merveille", on which she performs with Daniel Lanois and on which she gives respect for her French ancestry. Besides with a language more familiar to her the song gets itīs final tip for the top with the Parisian-sounding accordion played by Richard Bell, who is also known from Janis Joplinīs Full-Tilt Boogie Band and from the legendary Canadian group The Band.
From the twelve tracks on the album, eight are written by Roxanne Potvin.Her own material would have quite possibly been able to carry the record on by itself. Especially the girlgroup classic "Break Away" should have been left in the can. Now it finishes the album with a slightly awkward feel, especially īcos Roxanne isnīt at home with the songīs brisk and vigorous element.
Blues lovers will be most likely delighted by tracks like "I Want to (do everything for you)", "Your love keeps working on me" and "Say it". All are cover-songs - Roxanne Potvin just might be at her strongest with more of her own styled, genre breaking and unprejudiced music.
Text by Pasi Tuominen
Translated from Finnish by Sameli Rajala
Sue Foley - Deborah Coleman - Roxanne Potvin: Time Bomb. Ruf Records, 2007
Foley, Coleman ja Potvin (vocals & guitar)
Billy Thommes (drums), Jim Anton (bass), Mark Lickteig (B3, backing vocals), Bruce McCabe (piano, wurlitzer), Kevin Bowe (backing vocals)
Producer: Kevin Bowe
Roxanne Potvin: The Way It Feels. Ruf Records, 2007
Roxanne Potvin (vocals, guitar, piano)
Bryan Owings (drums, percussion), Bob Babbitt (bass), Richard Bell (keyboards, accordion), Colin Linden (guitar, dobro), Wayne Jackson (horns), Tom McGinley (saxophone), John Hiatt (vocals), Mark W. Winchester (bass), Joe Rice (backing vocals), Robert Hamlett (backing vocals), J.D. Fizer (backing vocals), Dave Roe (bass), Daniel Lanois (vocals), Paul Aucoin (vibraphone), Bruce Cockburn (guitar)
Producer: Colin Linden
Links: Blues Caravan, Ruf Records, Bonnier Amigo (album distributor in Finland)