Laura Green – Green Eyed Blues
CD: 11 Songs, 47 Minutes
Styles: Ensemble Blues, Torch Singer Blues, All Original Songs, Debut Album
St. Louis’ Laura Green boasts an impressive set of peepers. Her pipes aren’t far behind. She puts this reviewer in mind of another Laura famous for her “Self-Control.” The late, great Ms. Branigan would surely be proud of Green Eyed Blues, her worthy successor’s debut. With a well-balanced trail mix of soul, jazz, funk, R&B and blues rock, this CD has tasty morsels for just about everyone. It also features fourteen of the Gateway City’s finest musicians. The only possible drawback is the one-track nature of its subject matter. Torch singers often get pigeonholed into singing about love and only L-U-V. No tunes about, say, the vastness of the universe or the latest shocking headlines? Granted, this is her first release, so perhaps on her sophomore and junior offerings, she’ll tackle them. For now, enjoy the romance of her voice.
Laura Green has been performing for over a decade, performing in a variety of musical styles. Inspired by legendary women of blues such as Janiva Magness, Big Mama Thornton, Lou Ann Barton and Bonnie Raitt, Laura found her niche, coming onto the St. Louis blues scene in 2014 with the Laura Green Blues Band, writing original compositions as well as playing them.
In 2016, Laura joined forces with veteran St. Louis blues guitarist Rich McDonough and formed The Green McDonough Band. TGMB performed in Europe, was nominated for Best St. Louis Blues Band of 2016 by the Riverfront Times and won the 2017 St. Louis Blues Society International Blues Challenge, advancing to the semi-finals in Memphis. Laura had three original songs on the band’s debut album, which was one of KDHX’s top played CDs of 2016 and made the list of Alive Magazine’s Best of 2016 St. Louis Area, Blues, Jazz and Crossover Recordings.
Accompanying Laura are Art Dwyer on bass and vocals; Aaron Griffin on guitar; background vocalists Ellen Hinkle, Michele Isam, Chris Shepherd and Renee Smith; Rob Lee and Joe Meyer on drums; Bob Lohr and Carl Pandolfi on piano; Rich McDonough on guitar and vocals; Bill Murphy on piano and organ; Charlie Pfeiffer on mandolin, and Ron Roskowske on guitar.
Sometimes yours truly believes the album’s opener and its second track should switch places. Such is the case with “Bone to Pick” and “Still in Love.” The first is a pleasant jazz/blues number that establishes a light mood, but doesn’t stand out as much as the next song. In it, Laura gets down and dirty, crooning “I’m still in love with you,” sultrily repeating the last word nine times – as if she’s trying to come up with the right word to call her former lover. Is he a demon, a devil, or a doll? Wicked guitar is the icing on the cake. Want to groove to a funky beat? Check out number four, a disco-infused dance fest. “Mama Don’t Cry” is an acoustic heartbreaker featuring Charlie Pfeiffer’s poignant mandolin. If that’s too much of a downer, brace yourselves, blues fans: “That’s Right” is coming later on. It blows a Bo Diddley beat right out of the water. “Cry” does the same for a Chicago-style stomp, and “Don’t Know Why” finishes things off with classic harmony and organ courtesy of Bill Murphy.
Green Eyed Blues sparkles like an emerald – and Laura Green’s eyes!