Review: Ana Popovic – Blind For Love
Posted on: Saturday, Sep 26, 2009
“Blind For Love”
(Eclecto Groove Records: EGRCD507)
The Belgrade-born, Dutch-based guitarist Ana Popovic has enjoyed considerable success on the European blues scene, and seems destined to move into a higher league on the back of “Blind For Love” – her second release on the West Coast label, Eclecto Groove Music – Randy Chortkoff’s Delta Groove Music offshoot, that has already released fine albums this year by the likes of The Soul Of John Black and Jason Ricci.
In keeping with the label’s quality output, this is another marvellous sounding release, that crosses many genres – from the blues Ana Popovic is known for, to touches of funk, rock and jazz. All the players are top calibre, from her regular rhythm section of Ronald Jonker (bass) and Andrew Thomas (drums), to special guests such as the in-demand drummer Tony Braunagel and keyboard player Mike Finnigan, capped by her own fluid guitar work, which includes impressive string-bending, jazzy lines and some excellent slide work.
The lady has also a very smooth vocal style, and contributed to writing all but one of the 12 tracks here, kicking off with the soulful “Nothing Personal”, driven by her guitar and Finnigan’s keyboards and pushed along by the horns of Darrell Leonard and Joe Sublett – veterans of scores of albums. “Wrong Woman” rides on a funky guitar groove, with the acoustic stomp of “Steal Me Away” sees Popovic on acoustic slide, with lovely backing vocals from Julie Delgado, Kenna Ramsey and Billy Valentine.
The title cut, “Blind For Love”, is a gorgeous jazzy ballad, underpinned by some tasty piano from Mike Finnigan and smooth vocal from the lady herself. The rousing “Putting Out The APB” is an album highlight and rocks along with an almost gospel-flavoured chorus from the backing singers – a killer live I would suggest, with rip-roaring electric slide solo. “Get Back Home To You” gets back to a funk groove, with Mike Finnigan’s clavinet outstanding and great horns again.
“The Only Reason” has a nice jazzy swing to it, not a million miles from something like Van Morrison’s classic “Moondance” – and that can’t be bad. Elsewhere she performs a couple of songs for ‘my two favourite boys in the whole world’ . . . the sweet “Part Of Me (Lullaby For Luuk)” for her son, and the closing “Blues For M”, a blues for partner and co-writer Mark van Meurs.
Blues guitar playing ladies have never been as high profile as now, and together with the likes of our own Joanne Shaw Taylor and Dani Wilde, as well as more established performers such as Debbie Davies and Sue Foley, the female profile in the blues is certainly on the rise . . . and this fine album is a welcome addition to the flourishing recorded output . . . highly recommended!
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