Lisa Biales review…February 10, 2017…

LISA BIALES

THE BEAT OF MY HEART

BIG SONG MUSIC

DISGUSTED–WHAT A MAN–I DON’T WANNA HEAR IT–BE MY HUSBAND–MESSIN AROUND WITH  THE BLUES–SAID I WASN’T GONNA TELL NOBODY–CRYING OVER YOU–WILD STAGE OF LIFE–DON’T LET NOBODY DRAG YOUR SPIRIT DOWN–ROMANCE IN THE DARK–I SHOULD’VE KNOWN BETTER–BROTHERLY LOVE

Lisa Biales has one of those velvety-smooth vocal styles that lends itself well to a variety of genres’, making her right at home with a rockin’ blues, a shot of gospel, or a jazzy torch song.  That’s what she brings to the table with her ninth album, “The Beat Of My Heart,” and it’s a bountiful musical feast, indeed.  It’s twelve cuts of varied contemporary blues from some of the best songwriters in blues, all with Lisa’s indelible stamp upon them.

This set was produced by Tony Braunagel, who doubles down as drummer throughout, with Johnny Lee Schell on guitars, Jim Pugh on keys,  bassists Larry Fulcher and Chuck Berghofer,  with Larry Taylor on the doghouse bass.  Lisa kicks things off with the horn section setting a big-band groove as Lisa is “Disgusted” with “men trying to make a monkey out of me!”  She changes gears and gets her strut on with the good-time vibe of Dave Crawford’s “What A Man,” then gives a no-good lover the heave-ho with the soulful fun of “I Don’t Wanna Hear It,” and “don’t forget your shoes!”  This one has a nice baritone sax break from Tom Peterson.

She takes every one of us to church with the Sunday morning call-and-response of “Said I Wasn’t Gonna Tell Nobody just what the Lord has done for me!,” then turns in a quietly-somber read of Eric Bibb’s “Don’t Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down” as “we’re walkin’ up to Heaven!”  She closes the set with a universal call for peace and unity against “streets full of danger in a world that’s changing before our eyes,” the poignant “Brotherly Love.”

Our favorite was easy.  Lisa’s mom was singer Alberta Roberts, from whom Lisa learned the nuances of singing.  In 2015, Lisa came across a long-lost 78 RPM  of “Crying Over You,” a sultry torch song from 1947 written and sung  by her mom.  Thanks to modern technology, Alberta sings the first verse from the recording, and Lisa finishes up, as our lovelorn heroine begs the question, “why do I keep singing, I’m really Crying Over You.”  This one shows the stunning similarities in the two women’s voices.

Lisa Biales is a strong, independent woman with a voice to match.  She can handle any material, and sets the bar high with her latest set, “The Beat Of My Heart.”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

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