Missy Andersen – In The Moment | Album Review

missyandersoncdMissy Andersen – In The Moment

Main Squeeze Records MS1202

11 songs – 51 minutes


Detroit native Missy Andersen would have been competing in the International Blues Challenge this year if she hadn’t been nominated in the Soul Blues category as the Blues Music Association’s female artist of the year. The sponsoring organization doesn’t allow an artist to compete in both. This CD, which includes five Andersen originals, goes a long way to prove why she deserved to play with the big gals.

Now living in San Diego after a stint in New York, Andersen burst onto the scene in 2009 with the release of a self-titled CD that straddled the line between classic jazz and blues. WithIn The Moment, however, she delivers blues in a upscale, classic style that holds its own when compared to the delivery of high society songbirds of the past, like her influences, who include Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughn, Billy Holiday, Ann Peebles and Irma Thomas, tastes she acquired while browsing her parents’ extensive record collection.

She and husband Heine, a Danish-born guitarist, worked locally in San Diego with the band Tell Mama, toured Europe for years and finally settled in Southern California. They’re joined here by a powerful group of backing musicians for a varied set that features everything from slow blues and ballads to New Orleans and Memphis soul. The lineup includes Bill Stuve (bass), Marty Dodson (drums), Sue Palmer (piano) and Ben Moore (organ) as well as guest appearances by guitarist Nathan James and harmonica heavyweight James Harman, bassist Michael McKinnon, percussionist Christopher Hoffee, a horn section of Robert Smith (trumpet), Gerard Allen (tenor sax) and Bob Mathes as well as backing vocals from Sonja Mack and Karen Trapane.

A guitar solo echoed by horns introduces “Rent Party” before Missy’s sultry vocals about having a good time despite the need to through jams at home in order to pay the bills. Andersen’s voice is a silky, strong alto perfectly suited to the material, delivered in a tight range. Next up, the original “Whole Lotta Nuthin’” continues the theme anchored by the organ. It’s a percussive blues shuffle that swings steadily from the jump. Heine’s six-string stylings propel the tune mid-song. “Night Stalker” follows. It’s another Missy original, not a reprise of the classic TV show of the same name, and a song that simply shines. It’s got a true Tin Pan Alley feel with sweet work from the horn section and describes the singer as someone who can creep in the shadows to catch a cheat.

The mood changes for “More Than Enough,” a slow, but steady five-minute inspirational message that there’s always someone around to tear you down, but you’ve always got a person to build you back up when things get tough when you have a good partner at your side because love can change anything. The straight-ahead blues “Better Or Worse” features the work of James and Harmon atop a steady rhythm line before “No Regrets,” a slow shuffle propelled by keyboards that deals with leaving a broken home.

Another lesson in life, “Same Things Make You Laugh Will Make You Cry,” follows, delivered with a Memphis feel with full horns and a funky, syncopated beat, before a promise that Andersen will “Reach Out” and bless her oppressors and speak out for folks who don’t have a voice in a tune with a gospel feel, anchored by James’ guitar.

“Ladies Shoes” is a slow blues about going downtown and turning one’s back on troubles by buying caviar and a good bottle of wine in addition to the shoes of the title. The theme continues with the original, “Hey Now!” The message is to go out and get what you want. You won’t get it sitting at home. The disc concludes with a taste of New Orleans as Missy reinterprets the Snooks Eaglin classic, “I’ve Been Walkin’”.

Available through iTunes, Amazon, CDBaby and eMusic.com, In The Momentis a powerful statement from a lady whose career is definitely on the rise. Pick it up. You won’t be disappointed.

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