Markey Blue – Hey Hey | Album Review

markeybluecdMarkey Blue – Hey Hey

SoulOSound Records/Delta Groove Productions

CD: 12 Songs; 43:58 Minutes

Styles: Soul-Influenced Blues 

Releasing a debut blues album is like being a trapeze artist. When musicians strike the perfect balance between instrumentation and vocals, their resulting performance is amazing. They also face a crucial decision: Do they play covers that they’ve practiced hundreds of times and will be familiar to listeners? On the other hand, do they go out on the ‘high bar’ and present new material, mostly unheard by either die-hard genre fans or critics? Nashville native Jeannette Markey, known as “Markey Blue,” has taken the latter and more daring approach on Hey Hey. It has paid off in spades, and hopefully in future accolades. All of its twelve songs are soul-based originals, full of horns and high energy.

Accompanying her is a vast ensemble: guitarists Rick Latina and special guest star Jack Pearson; bassists Randy Coleman, Tony Leroy Nagy, Sean O’Bryan Smith, Anthony “Smooth Groove” Joiner and Jake Willemain; drummers Rodney Ledbetter, Tim Smith, David “Smitty” Smith and Jim Klingler; keyboard/B3 players Jake Hill, Shannon Wickline, Larry Van Loon and Phil Wolfe; percussionist Tim Smith (along with Markey herself); saxophonists Miqui Gutierrez, Dana Robbins, Jules Caldarera, and Tom McGinley; trumpet/flugelhorn players Jim Williamson, Cory Distefano, Steve Herman, and Paul Deyo; and, last but certainly not least, background vocalists Markey, Holly Steele, Marion Covell, and Tracey Palfalvi.

The following three tunes will get crowds dancing and singing along, especially on the choruses:

Track 01: “When Love Comes Along (Hey Hey)” – The title track and opener is an explosive blues rock firecracker, with Markey channeling a bit of Alannah Myles in her vocals: “What did Adam say to Eve? She took that apple from that tree. Don’t know what’s right; don’t know what’s wrong. It’s gonna hit you when love comes along. I said hey, hey….” The powerful brass section packs quite a punch, and Ric Latina’s guitar work blazes like a Roman candle.

Track 09: “Voodoo Do” – Beware of the rattlesnake’s rattle on one of this album’s most intoxicating song intros. Love may be magic, but sometimes it’s of the black kind: “Where do your mojo go? What do your voodoo do? Is that you ringing my bell, child? Ooh, tell me what you want to do.”  This number has a sly and serpentine feel, especially because of the percussion. “Ooooh, la-la-la,” Markey sings with a rapid-fire cadence, meaning that she wastes no time falling under a seductive spell.

Track 10: “Ain’t No Angel” – Following up on this theme is the following gritty blues ballad, in which Markey explains that she’s not keen on romance: “You bring me roses; you bring me wine, but what I want, hey, you just can’t buy…Take me as I am. I ain’t no angel!” Latina plays his very best solo, which will please any purist.

Hey Hey, all of you lovers of classic blues and soul – Markey Blue flies high on her debut CD!

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