Mary4Music.com USA, 2011 "Keeping The Blues Alive" Award RecipientAlbum review for 'The Blues Don't Scare Me'
American blues enthusiasts, and those around the world as well, need to discover a band that's causing quite a commotion in the British blues community - Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion, Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro
Over the dozen or so years we've been doing this, there have been many artists that have had multiple CDS reviewed by us. However, I believe Zoe Schwarz is the first artist to ever have two done in the same year. As long as they're as good as this, Zoe, you just keep 'em coming as fast as you can.
With the exception of an additional bass player and back up vocalist, the members of Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion have remained in tact and they are back with their second release titled "The Blues Don't Scare Me". Those musicians are: Zoe Schwarz on vocals; Rob Koral on guitars; Si Genaro on harmonica, backing vocal and rap; Pete Whittaker on Hammond organ; Pat Davey and Rodney Teague on bass; and Paul Robinson on drums & percussion. Also appearing on several tracks are: Ian Ellis on tenor sax; Andy Urquhart on trumpet; and Sue Hawker on backing vocals. This project contains eleven original tracks and, as with their first CD, a Billie Holiday cover.
"I Believe In You" is such a well sung, well performed and well produced song that it's sound had me thinking I was listening to the opening of a new James Bond movie. It's a song of that caliber. Had that been the actual case, it could have been as big a smash as Shirley Bassey's "Goldfinger". Zoe's vocals are compelling, the rhythm is intense and what Rob and Pete are doing on the guitar and organ is mesmerizing. This was the most enjoyable six and a half minutes of my week.....so far.
The fancy guitar pickin' that opens "Liberated Woman" had me thinking it was going to be an acoustic track and then...BAM!...all hell broke loose and I found myself shaking wildly to a full fledged smoker. This time it's Peter and Paul, on the percussion and organ that are setting the manic pace. With several outstanding guitar and harp leads by Rob and Si, and Zoe being her usual flawless self on vocals, this is another of the discs best - and I'm only on the second track.
From the way she's belting the hell out of this one, as you hear Zoe very matter-of-factly say "The Blues Don't Scare Me", you've just got to believe her. Once again, the rhythm guys are rockin' this one and Si could very well be at disc's best on the harp. Another very impressive track.
For many reasons, "I'll Be Your's Tonight", is obviously going to be this discs 'replay special'. I'm barely finishing the second sentence and I'm already on the third listen. Everyone in the band is in such a relaxed groove and as they feature each instrument they are all meticulously played. Every note of this song is absolutely perfect. And then there's Zoe....WOW! I could listen to her sing this song all night long.....especially the part where she sultrily says "Kiss me now, and I'll be yours tonight". Her range is complete and everywhere, her style is moving, her emotion is convincing and her voice is immaculate. With the 2013 "Blewzzy Awards" just a few months away, this is the one to beat for song of the year.
This one's called "Just Another Day" but the way Zoe sings it it's by far not just another song. It's about the boring and unfulfilling life of an assembly line factory worker who after working a miserable shift returns home to her equally boring and unfulfilling home life. And yet Zoe makes it sound like something I'd want to listen to while in an amorous situation. This may just be one of the sexiest voices these ears have ever had the pleasure of hearing. Phew! Oh yeah, the band.... they were their usual masterful selves.
"Billie's House" is another monster track. As a matter of fact, because I may be starting to sound redundant, I'm going to have to make this the last track I mention. How many more times can I say how magnificent Zoe's voice is or how she repeatedly blows me away? By the same token, there just isn't enough praise that I can give these wonderful musicians.
To use an aforementioned song as a reference, this was certainly not a "boring and unfulfilling shift" for me and this was, by far, not "just another review". I can't ever remember being this satisfied while working on a review.
To learn more about Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion - and American blues enthusiasts really should - just go to www.bluecommotion.com. I already know you'll tell her the Blewzzman sent you but also tell her he can't wait for the American tour.
Here's a little extra treat I'm sure you'll enjoy... www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q1hNHjhGPaw&noredirect=1
Blues Editor @ www.Mary4Music.com
- Words by: Peter "Blewsman"Lauro, Blues Editor, www.mary4music.com USA