The Great Sadness review…June 4, 2017….




If you have ever wondered what would have happened if folks such as Jessie Mae Hemphill or Son House or any other of the Mississippi legends had been exposed to Black Sabbath or Metallica, then you get a pretty fair grip on what’s going down with The Great Sadness.  This Los Angeles-based duo consists of guitarist/vocalist Cathy Cooper and drummer Stephen McNeely.  Their debut is entitled “Weep,” ten originals that are rooted in the sounds of Mississippi, but venture out into heretofore rarely-heard excursions.

Cathy and Stephen took the primal beats of Nick Cave’s group, Birthday Party, and combined them with their own take on the “Delta-meets-Doomsday” approach to the blues.  Cathy’s guitar can stand up with the best of ’em, and her vocal style is unique, to say the least.  She is sho’ nuff a “screamer,” and the listener may feel as if they are in the midst of a death match between the Banshees and the Sirens as she wails these tunes.  Stephen’s drumming is the perfect complement to the Armageddon-esque feeling throughout, adding to the subject matter in most of the cuts of love, lust, angst, and murder.


“Birdman” details the story of a lover who “crash-landed into my arms,” and climaxes with Cathy’s primal scream of “may the skies turn black” giving way to a furious guitar break.  “Tonight” is a lust-filled plea for a lover to “hold me, love, tonight,” and, while “Suicide” deals with the absolute solution to a temporary problem, the fuzzed-out guitar climax practically begs a visit from ol’ Colin Clive to declare, “It’s Alive!”

Fans, if you are looking for three chords and a cloud of dust, this just ain’t it.  But, if you are bold enough to take a chance on a duo who will take you sonically to a place we guarantee that few have trod upon, then give a listen to The Great Sadness and “Weep.”  Until next time..Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.


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