Lea McIntosh – Blood Cash | Album Review

Lea McIntosh – Blood Cash

Shark Park Records


CD: 7 Songs, 32 Minutes

Styles: Contemporary Electric Blues Rock, Soul, All Original Songs, Debut Album

Dreams. The ones you have while you’re asleep can blow your mind. The ones you have while you’re awake can fuel your mind for future achievement. Time and again, we see and hear stories of single-minded individuals pursuing a single lofty goal until they reach it: sports stardom, fashion notoriety, the NYT bestseller list. Yet Lea McIntosh has made her mark in several areas: the culinary arts, designing, marketing and multimedia. Following several dreams to their successful conclusion has laid the foundation to return to her true calling: music. On her debut album, Blood Cash, Lea presents seven original offerings of “Modern Soul with a Retro Feel.” Indeed: she’s fused the best of classic and contemporary blues with significant swagger. Her vocals lie midway between Bonnie Raitt and Janis Joplin, roughly speaking, but her attitude? That’s all McIntosh. No one else can come out of a background situation like hers swinging so hard. If Steve Earle were in a woman’s body, dark, kinky tresses and all, it would be Lea’s.

Lea was born to sing the blues. She grew up in a troubled household where she witnessed drugs, violence, and criminal mayhem. Her mother was murdered when Lea was only eleven, and her early years found her dealing with physical and emotional abuse. As a result, she’s given voice to her tumultuous past and reasserted herself with a record that reflects both her talent and tenacity.

Prior to the spread of COVID-19, she was starting to attract notice on the West Coast, and once the pandemic passes, she looks forward to sharing stages again. Also, she’s begun working with the iconic blues master J.P. Soars, and the two have some recording projects and a California tour in the works.

Performing alongside our leading lady are Travis Cruse on guitar, bass, vibanet and drums; Andy Just on harmonica; Myron Dove on bass; Deszon Claiborne on drums; Eamonn Flynn on piano and Hammond organ, and Tammi Brown and Will Bell on harmony vocals.

The title track starts McIntosh’s initial album off with a  “bang, bang.” “Blood Cash” is a gritty ballad of a killer who “paid the devil forward, pulling back that trigger.” Travis Cruse is an absolute beast on guitar, bass and drums, and Andy Just blasts hellfire-hot harp. If you’re not stomping along with the solo in the middle, you’ve got no rhythm and no soul. “Blue Stoned Heart” takes listeners back to the 1970s with wah-wah Hammond organ and a killer bassline by Myron Dove. Despite the funky groove, the song’s a tragedy: “You’ve got a map running down your arms, telling you it’s time for more. Your veins burn the midnight oil while your heart plays tug-of-war. Please don’t make me bury your blue stoned heart.” “Tennessee Hurricane” features smooth harmony and an ominous overtone, while “Fantasy Woman” will inspire knowing smirks. “Purple Suede Boots,” the CD’s surefire highlight, mixes blues and soul in equal measure. Get up and dance, because this number’s made for it. “Soul Stripper” burns slow and sultry, and afterward, “The Fire is Coming” in an electric boogie rush. Can you dig it? I can!

Lea McIntosh’s Blood Cash is worth every penny, from a debut artist returning to her original dream.

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