CD: 10 Songs; 33:36 Minutes
Styles: Contemporary Electric Country Blues, Piano Blues, Blues Rock
What’s hotter than summer, tastier than a barbecue, and shorter than a good day at the beach? Laurie Jane and the 45’s, the self-titled debut album from a fantastic country blues band. Straight out of Louisville, Kentucky, they present ten tantalizing tracks: seven originals and three covers. All are worthy of spots on fans’ party playlists, especially for outdoor gatherings. Lead singer Laurie Jane Jessup’s vocals are 50% sweet torch singer and 50% whiskey-hardened barfly. In fact, one of the best songs on the CD is “Whiskey Will,” reviewed below. Laurie Jane sounds way more like Bonnie Raitt than Shania Twain or Faith Hill, for purists who are worried about this album being more country than blues. With a dash of Chicago swagger and more than a mite of Memphis moxie, it defies strict categorization within the blues genre. Once in a while, aficionados need something to chew on. This album is more hearty than a Porterhouse steak.
Along with lead singer Laurie Jane are co-producer Cort Duggins on guitar and keyboards; Jason Embry on upright bass; and Scott Dugdale on percussion. All three of “the 45’s” are songwriters. These featured tunes will get anybody dancing, drinking or both.
Track 01: “Talkin’” – What surpasses the Internet, TV, and movies as some people’s favorite form of entertainment? Something that predates these things by at least 1,000 years: gossip. “Every time I turn around, people trying to run me down – talkin’, talkin’. Been talkin’, talkin’. Late last night and the night before, who’s that knockin’ on my door?…They’re talkin’, baby, talkin’ bout me and you.” With a blistering tempo and roaring guitar intro from Cort Duggins that would make any racecar driver proud, this is one pistol of an original opener. Folks will be “Talkin’” about it long after they first hear it. It’s an explosive, energetic earworm.
Track 05: “Whiskey Will” – Slowing things down a bit, but not by much, is track number five. Some people talk to their best friend or a psychologist after a breakup, but the narrator of this song prefers a more “distilled” approach: “I made it back home before I cried. Damn near broke the bottle trying to get at what’s inside, ‘cause he’s gone. I don’t think he loves me still. If the good Lord can’t save me, I know that whiskey will.” Very rarely, in any kind of song, are the drums as noticeable and nifty as they are on this one. Thank Scott Dugdale for them.
Track 07: “Buck” – Maybe the subject of “Whiskey Will” needs a man like “Buck” instead. Laurie Jane takes a cue from Nina Simone as she covers a sultry song of hers. “Buck – you’re a whole lotta man. Just take a look at your great big hands… You know you could crush poor me in two, but gentle, oh, so gentle are the things you do.” The sweet energy here is irresistible, as is the potential to snicker at the euphemism above.
Laurie Jane and the 45’s catapult country blues straight into the stratosphere!