Joanna Connor review…August 26, 2016…



M. C. RECORDS  MC–0080


Joanna Connor  is one of the best slide guitar players–male or female–on this planet.  Based in Chicago, a town that has had its share of great blues guitarists, she juggles being a full-time mom with playing roughly 200 nights a year in the Chicago area.  Joanna always believed the recording process to be rather daunting,  but, after fourteen years, the good folks at M. C. Records have gotten her back in the studio for an all-new release, “Six String Stories.”  Along with her trademark deep blues, you’ll find examples of funk, gospel, and even a shot of “blues-metal” over these ten cuts, eight of which were penned by Joanna and her bandmate Lance Lewis, who doubles down as the set’s producer.

Listen to the way that Joanna rides that “shave-and-a-haircut” beat on the ode to a lover whom she always desired to be “By Your Side.”  A fantastic, deep, slow-blues is the story of sticking with a lover no matter what, “We Stayed Together,” with Lance on backing vocals.  She blasts off one killer run after another throughout this one!

There are a couple of fine examples of positivity and empowerment, also.  One of the cover tunes is the jazzy, soulful, “Golden,” written by Jill Scott.  Here, Joanna takes her freedom thru her music, and gives thanks to our Creator for his many blessings.  “Heaven” takes that premise to the next level, as Joanna reaches out to us to “tear down the walls of hatred, ’cause Heaven is right here!”  Lance, whose brothers are pastors, literally “takes us to church” with several recited Biblical passages throughout the song.

The other cover is a cool, stripped-down-to-its-bare-essentials, slow-burnin’ take on Elmore James’  “The Sky Is Crying,” vastly different from the original.  Speaking of Elmore, that brings us to our favorite.  You just cannot get any better than that unmistakable riff that opens the set, as Joanna lets her slide do the wailin’, because, today, sho’ nuff, “It’s a new day–It’s A Woman’s Way!”

Let us hope that Joanna Connor does not wait another fourteen years between albums!  For now, we can all rejoice and dig “Six String Stories.”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.


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