Annika Chambers & Paul DesLauriers – Good Trouble
Husband and wife Annika Chambers and Paul DesLauriers have merged their personal lives and careers together in a soul, blues, gospel and rock album of eleven really fine tunes. The powerful voice of Chambers coupled with the fiery guitar of DesLauriers makes for a superb mixing of talents, styles and sounds.
Annika hails from Houston, Texas, while Paul is a Canadian; both are acclaimed blues artists, Chambers by the Blues Music Awards and Living Blues while DesLauriers has many accolades from the Maple Leaf and other awards. They first met for a few seconds n the lobby of The Orpheum Theater in Memphis in 2018 at the IBCs. They established their relationship while at the 2019 IBC during a recording session and married in August of that year. The blues-rocker meets the soul-blues singer and their personal and professional lives have enjoyed the success of the blending of their love and talents.
The band here joining the couple are J.P. Soars on ten tracks (guitar on eight and bass on the other two), Chris Peet on drums (nine tracks and a bass on two), Gary Davenport and Alex McElcheran on bass for a couple of tracks each, Bernard “Bingo” DesLauriers on drums for two cuts, and Barry Seelen on B-3 Organ for three tracks. Backing (and gang) vocals are handled by Annika, Paul, J.P., Chris, and Kim Richardson.
The album opens with “You’ve Got To Believe,” a powerful cut showcasing Annika’s amazing voice and Paul’s outstanding guitar skills. A soul-blues-rock cut about self-confidence, it’s a great start to the album. There’s some cool mandolin mixed in there, too. The funky “Stand Up” is next, a commentary on standing up for rights. Chambers’ voice us strident and DesLauriers’ guitar is powerful as the tune builds to a huge climax. Two great original tunes to start things off well! George Harrison’s “Isn’t It A Pity” follows, with a stinging guitar and soulful vocals. They made this into a powerful ballad with their substantial vocal and guitar work. “Heavy Load” takes us to church as Chambers’ howls and DesLauriers’ dobro set a deep and heavy mood on this superb tune. Lots more social commentary here to express feelings on the need for unity and equality.
The cover “Walk A Mile In My Shoes” is next, with Chambers starting off lecturing us on acceptance and trying to see things through the eyes of others. It’s a sweet cover that the duo and company nail. “Need Your Love So Bad” is a soulful ballad with some pretty organ accompaniment and super guitar. It’s A Little Willie John cut that the duo make their own. “We Got The Blues” is a Cassie Taylor cut (Otis’ daughter) and Annika and Paul demonstrate that they truly have got the blues! Another great performance in this driving and slick cut. “I’m Going To Live The Life I Sing About In My Song” is a slow and funky original cut that builds into an amazing frenzy of guitar and vocals.
Baby Washington’s soul tune “Money’s Funny” is the next cut and Chambers and DesLauriers turn this into a big, romping and stomping cover. A rocking guitar solo and driving beat make this version a winner. Mountain’s “Mississippi Queen” gets a cool cover where Chamber and her husband rock it out, giving it their spin on Leslie West’s most famed song. DesLauriers gives the riff a slight twist and Chambers blows the vocal lead away. “I Need More Power” concludes the album’s offerings. This traditional spiritual is given a truly powerful treatment as Chambers blows the listener away. It’s a superb conclusion to a a superb album.
Annika and Paul worked on music as Pandemic therapy, as did so many other musicians. The newlyweds have produced a high powered blend of blues, rock, and soul that is outstanding. Three original cuts and eight amazing covers give the listener a demonstration of what this musical couple can do. I most highly recommend adding this to your musical collections!