Kat Riggins – Blues Revival | Album Review

katrigginscdKat Riggins – Blues Revival

Bluzpik Media Group

10 songs – 46 minutes

www.katriggins.com

A petite vocalist with a potent delivery and electrifying voice, Kat Riggins holds nothing back as she delivers this collection of eight self-penned originals and two carefully chosen covers.

Born Katriva Tabitha Riggins in Miami and still based in South Florida, she’s in her mid-30s and developed a love for all forms of music, but was immediately drawn to Koko Taylor, Bessie Smith, Nina Simone, Tina Turner, Ray Charles and Denise LaSalle. After spending her youth singing at church and family gatherings, she landed her first paying gig at 23, delivering jazz and blues standards in a local nightclub, accompanied only by piano.

Riggins spent time in New Orleans before traveling the world extensively with a top 40 band, working blues into her act wherever she could one song at a time in an attempt to revive the music and bring it to new audiences. It’s a concept she terms “blues fusion.” Today, as a solo artist, she still blends blues with everything from country to hip hop to keep her message moving forward.

Blues Revival isn’t just the title of Riggins’ CD, a follow-up to the 2014 release Lily Rose, it’s also the name of her band. She’s backed here by Darrell Raines on guitars, keyboards and backing vocals and a rhythm section of George Caldwell on bass and Doc Allison on drums.

Stephen Hooper makes a guest appearance on sax on the first cut, “Now I See (Ooh Wee),” a straight-ahead, medium-tempo, guitar-driven blues that puts Kat’s smoky alto on display as she warns a deceptive lover that she’s tired of his lying and that she’s cried her last tear for him to boot. The tempo slows for “Good Girl Blues,” which delivers the message that Riggins has made up her mind to break all the rules.

“Wail Away” is an instruction to the guitarist to repeat a lick because she knows the deep blues he’s playing will touch someone for certain. An extended single-note solo shows that he means business. Not to be confused with the Koko number with the same title, “Queen Bee” is a medium-paced original in which Kat states: “Once you taste this golden nectar/You ain’t never gonna get enough.” But she warns that she’s got a “mean sting/Cross me once/You won’t do it again.”

Up next, “Murphy’s Law” is a bluesy statement that Riggins is taking back her freedom and breaking the popular rule that whatever can go wrong will go wrong. Her voice soars during the chorus. One listen to “Music Fiend” and you’ll understand how song drives Kat’s life.

Two traditional covers — Sam Cooke’s “Change Is Gonna Come,” which is introduced by an a capella version of the gospel tune “This Little Light Of Mine,” and Etta James’ “Blues Is My Business” – follow before two more solid originals — “The Devil Is A Liar” and “Blues Is The New Black” – conclude the set.

Available through Amazon and as a download from other sites, Blues Revival is a powerful statement from someone who deserves your ear, especially if your tastes run to modern soul-blues. Rock solid from beginning to end.

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