BURN ME ALIVE
WILLIE JAMES–BRING THE SWING–HOWLING FOR LOVE–BURN ME ALIVE–HIGH MOUNTAIN BLUES–HOW MANY TIMES?–LOVE STRONG–I DON’T KNOW WHY–WHAT DO YOU EXPECT?–DIRTY BLUES–SHARE YOUR LOVE–I’M THROUGH WITH YOU
We first heard Heather Newman as a guest vocalist on “Live At Knucklehead’s, Vol. 1,” from the Nick Schnebelen Band. Hailing from Omaha, NE, Heather has literally grown up as a musician and composer during this year, using her time on tour with Nick to watch, listen, and learn. She’s stepped squarely into the national spotlight with the release of her first studio set, “Burn Me Alive,” from Vizztone. Heather is on vocals and bass, with Keith Ladd on guitar, Ryan Flemmer on keys, and Cole Dillingham doubling down on drums and guitar.
On this set, Heather offers twelve original looks at life, love, and the human condition, at times wearing her heart painfully on her sleeve in the process. Up first is a shot of Delta blues with the tale of “Willie James, drinkin’ his whiskey and gin,” then gives way to the Diddley sway of the yin and the yang, as Heather’s “got the rhythm, while you Bring The Swing!” Nick Schnebelen brings his axe to the party on the rhumba-rock of “High Mountain Blues,” while “How Many Times?” is Heather’s ode to life on the road as a traveling musician. The question of trust between lovers is addressed in the Fifties-inspired balladry of “I Don’t Know Why,” and, when Heather’s lover isn’t around, she’d rather you’d just “Burn Me Alive,” for “without you, I got nowhere to go.”
We had two favorites, too. Michael Lefever’s sax adds to the smoky, after-hours vibe of “Dirty Blues,” while the set closes on a second-line note, as Heather catches her lover “messin’ ’round all over town,” and, sho’ nuff, “I’m Through With You!” And, hang on after the cut ends–a few seconds later, there’s a cool piano-guitar instrumental coda to close everything out!
2017 has been good to Heather Newman. She’s come into her own as a bandleader, composer, and vocalist, with the material in “Burn Me Alive” giving the listener a great insight as to what the blues means to her! Best of luck, Heather! Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.