Karen Lovely review…January 4, 2016…

KAREN LOVELY

TEN MILES OF BAD ROAD

KOKAKO RECORDS

LOW ROAD–COMPANY GRAVEYARD–A BETTER PLACE–IGNORANCE (IT AIN’T BLISS)–CROSS THE WATER–TEN MILES OF BAD ROAD–I WANT TO LOVE YOU–YOU STOLE MY HEART–ALWAYS LOVE YOU–BLUES VALENTINE–SAVE ME–I’M OVER GOODBYE–FRANK THE SPANK

Karen Lovely is a fantastic blues singer from the Portland, OR, area.  She draws from the classic sounds of Ma Rainey and combines it with the power and punch of Janis Joplin to create a sound as unique as she is.  Karen has just released “Ten Miles Of Bad Road” on the Kokako label, and has a stellar cast of award-winning musicians to back her up, including Tony Braunagel on drums, (who is also the set’s producer), Johnny Lee Schell and Alan Mirikitani on guitar, Reggie McBride and Hutch Hutchinson on bass, Jim Pugh on the keys, and Kim Wilson on harp.

Karen has one of those sultry, soulful deliveries, and on these cuts she takes a look at love and relationships from all possible angles.  One exception to this was the most excellent “I ain’t gonna die in a Company Graveyard,” set over that driving, freight train, “endless boogie” beat.

The set kicks off with Karen finding out that “sometime after midnight, my baby took the Low Road,” and “didn’t leave me with nothin’ but these red bloodshot eyes!”  Later, she discovers all too painfully that “Ignorance (It Ain’t Bliss),” when the inevitable happens and she finds out he’s been cheatin’, but she still “craves your honey lies, so sweet!”

The title cut is a horn-fueled look at that “smooth talker” who’s really nothing but “Ten Miles Of Bad Road!”  She looks at things thru the eyes of “the other woman” with the poignant, heartfelt, “I’m Over Goodbye,” as “stolen moments are all I get.”  And, she pays tribute to the homeless and destitute on a minor-key tale of those who seek a dry doorway on a rainy night, “Save Me.”

Our favorite closed the set, and it’s a stone rocker.  Johnny Lee Schell’s guitar lines and Jim Pugh’s barrelhouse piano are shaken and stirred by Kim Wilson’s harp on the dance-floor-burnin’ tale of “just one more shot of Frank The Spank!”

Karen Lovely is an artist who always makes the blues unique and special.  From the scorned lover to the other woman to the barroom ballbuster, she brings it all home with “Ten Miles Of Bad Road!”    Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

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