Dana Fuchs review…July 8, 2013…

DANA FUCHS

BLISS AVENUE

RUF RECORDS

BLISS AVENUE–HOW DID THINGS GET THIS WAY–HANDFUL TOO MANY–LIVIN’ ON SUNDAY–SO HARD TO MOVE–DADDY’S LITTLE GIRL–RODENTS IN THE ATTIC–BABY LOVES THE LIFE–NOTHIN’ ON MY MIND–KEEP ON WALKIN’–VAGABOND WIND–LONG, LONG GAME

 

Dana Fuchs was born into a musical family in rural Florida, leaving for New York City at nineteen to pursue her singing dream.  She quickly fell in with the blues scene on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, and soon met up with guitarist Jon Diamond.  Her magnificent vocal delivery elicits immediate comparisons to Janis Joplin, and she did indeed play the off-Broadway lead in “Love, Janis,” as well as Sadie in the Beatles’ film, “Across The Universe.”  On her latest album for Ruf Records, “Bliss Avenue,” Dana literally lays bare her soul for listeners over the course of these twelve originals, all written by Dana and Jon, offering an intimate glimpse into areas that, although personal to her, can appeal to us all.

The set opens with the brooding, pulse-pounding percussiveness of the title cut, finding Dana at the depths of despair over the loss of a loved one.  “Rodents In The Attic” also uses that powerhouse, locomotive-like backbeat to drive home its message, while Dana seeks redemption with the gospel fervor of “Livin’ On Sunday.”

There are several fine examples of blues-rock on this set, too.  The heroine of “Daddy’s Little Girl” has an addiction to finding Mr. Right, yet finds herself “scared of the dark but running from the light,” while another story of excesses is “Baby Loves The Life.”

 

We had three favorites, too.  Dana’s Joplin influences are evident on the ultimate kiss-off song, “I’m thinkin’ of you, but I’ve got Nothin’ On My Mind.”  Another lover who just can’t commit seems to blow in and out of Dana’s life like a “Vagabond Wind.’  And, the slashing guitar work along with the killer acoustic piano takes “How Did Things Get This Way” into vintage Faces territory.

Although much of the material of “Bliss Avenue”  seems dark and foreboding, Dana assures us she was in a very good place while recording this album.  As she herself put it, “sometimes one has to explore the darkness in order to see the light.”  This is an excellent collection from Dana Fuchs, and will definitely keep her star on the rise in contemporary blues!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

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