Wednesday, August 24, 2005

WELCOMe TO MY BLOG... my first entry (revised) with A Cd Review of 'Right About Love'~ from Reneé Austin

Allow me to introduce myself, I am Mark Fredell (aka. Mark 'Slim' Stevens) and believe it or not that man I'm sitting with to the right; John Lee Hooker was the first one to call me 'Slim' anyhow, welcome to my blog, as a long time blues music fan, photographer, radio broadcaster and journalist, I thought it might be fun to share some of my images, writings and ramblings here. I hope you enjoy, I will be posting old and new material, with images from my extensive photo archive, and maybe even some random thoughts on politics, love, world affairs who knows what else, I look forward to hearing from you. Have a look around and have fun.

Here is a review of a wonderful Cd by a remarkable singer... Miss Reneé Austin.

Reneé Austin
‘Right About Love’

Blind pig records

Cd Review by Mark Fredell

Its been about two years since Reneé Austin’s Blind Pig Records debut ’Sweet Talk’ and finally the follow up is here, hitting the streets August 16th, ‘Right About Love’ is yet another tour
deforce showcase for what will undoubtedly be considered in the music history books as one of the finest most versatile voices of her era. After 2 years of steady, hard road work Reneé has seasoned her vocals with a touch of tough grit and rock steady confidence and her songwriting, always strong shows signs of even more maturity and diverse influence, while keeping true to her style and heart.
There are many stylistic variations on this record just like on the last one touching down in the deep south on tracks like ‘Mouth Of the Delta’ with it’s haunting slide guitar and Renee’s deep moaning vocals and the hilarious cover of Bobby Gentry’s song ‘Bugs’ which unless you’ve spent some time outside of the city might give you a strong case of the he-bee-gee-bee’s; Of course there is the cry for love on ‘Harder Than It Has To Be’ with an impassioned plea to basically stop messing things up and just let things happen naturally.
Fans of her previous work already know that as a song writer Reneé can be quite funny too; that humor pops up on three tracks this time around each with different intents. On ‘U-Haul‘, her wry observational sense is directed keenly on the more materialistic of mankind reminding us all that you can’t take it with you, with the line ’you can’t pull a u-haul behind you’re Hurst’ , then there’s the track ’Thank You Card’ which in the tradition of some of her earlier song writing is a turn around of sorts with a great beat, a happy gospel infused piano driving out an upbeat sound as she sends her ex- a thank you card for leaving her behind, essentially letting him know that although he may think he left her down and out it was actually the best thing he ever did for her. Then on ‘Chicken Coop’ with it’s Nashville Twang, Reneé unleashes one of her patented you did me wrong now watch your back vamps reminiscent of ‘Bury the Hatchet’ from Sweet talk or ‘Pillow’ from Dancin’ with Mr. Blue. It’s always a serious subject when dealing with love gone wrong or someone stepping out side the relationship, yet Reneé loves to hit the subject right between the eyes with a wink and a grin. You’ll find some rocking funk on ’Meant To Be’ which is this releases true rocker and some soulful heartfelt R&B passion in ‘Strangers On A Train’ a terrific lament concerning “finally” taking the leap and not worrying about the consequences.
In addition to the twang of .Coop there is a countrified revamp of Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup’s ‘That’s All Right’ as well as a true hillbilly tune in ‘Mister Cowboy’ a sweet little tune that has Reneé singing to her cowboy who’s off riding the post’s (one would assume) as she’s at home waiting patiently for his return. And of course you can’t over look the title track ‘Right About Love” co-written by Reneé and Malford Milligan (also featured in this issue.) It’s a slow griping song about being cold and alone in your heart and simply wanting to have some one to share your life with and wanting to be “right about love”. this one is a beautiful tearjerker and Renee’s vocals sell it with heartfelt pain and passion that can only come from a life of striving for that kind of happiness that is only found in the eyes of another as they gaze at you.
Throughout, Reneé sings with confidence and a bit of swagger often absent from female vocalists. As was the case with the last release this Cd probably won’t please the blues purists who don’t believe you can mix anything with that 8 bar 4/4 beat and still call it blues, But Reneé is fine with that, she’s confident in her art and is realizing there is a whole multi-layered world outside of the blues that is filled with great musical textures and different shades of Blue with Texas singer/songwriter Troubadours Like Delbert McClinton, Joe Ely and others; as well as those bluesy country Kats like Dwight and Lyle who mix the Blues heavy into their own hillbilly bag, how ever you slice it Reneé loves the blues as much as she loves country, gospel, or rock & roll and she is more than capable of doing her own thing while keeping it real in the sense of the Blues, thank god Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Little Walter and all the rest plugged in otherwise the Beatles the Yardbirds and the Stones might not have happened and thank god there are artists today like Reneé Austin that want to take all of their influences and try and create something fresh and new while paying homage to the traditions of the past, “Right About Love’ is a fine release, and deserves your attention.


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