Jane Lee Hooker review…February 11, 2018….

JANE LEE HOOKER

SPIRITUS

RUF RECORDS 1245

HOW YA DOIN–GIMME THAT–MAMA SAID–BE MY BABY–LATER ON–BLACK RAT–ENDS MEET–HOW BRIGHT THE MOON–TURN ON YOUR LOVE LIGHT–THE BREEZE

The blues and rock landscape has been peppered with them throughout the decades—big-voiced women such as Joplin, Suzi Quatro, Ann Wilson, Janiva Magness, and countless others who have all had not only tremendous musical abilities, but that intangible “it” that sets them apart from everybody else.  Maybe it’s a certain swagger, or just that “take no prisoners and don’t take no mess” attitude that gives their music that extra edge.  Enter Jane Lee Hooker, a dazzling all-girl quintet from Ruf Records who have just released their latest set, “Spiritus.”  It follows their highly-acclaimed 2017 debut, “No B!,” with that same spit-in-your-eye , high-voltage blues-rock that has wowed the crowds at festivals all over the globe.  Dana “Danger” Athens still brings the heat  on the vocals, and there are songs about love, good times, and, most importantly, empowerment.

A butt-rockin’ shout-out to one of the most famous blues clubs in the Midwest, Knucklehead’s, in Kansas City, is the theme of the leadoff “How Ya Doin?”, while “Mama Said” is one of those anthems of empowerment, as Mama passes on sage advice, such as don’t “fall in line,” but “forge your own way.”  “How Bright The Moon” features Dana on piano and is a strong ode to true love, and how it changes your perception on everything.

We had two favorites, too.  “Gimme That” is a struttin’ tale of jealousy, with “eyes as green as envy itself,” and a Stones-y swagger throughout.  And, a song we first heard several years ago from Koko Taylor is rocked-up in double-time, as a cheatin’ lover gets a “shoe right near your shirttail, ’cause you is one Black Rat!”

Jane Lee Hooker and “Spiritus” hit you hard, fast, and often with a non-stop blitzkreig of blues-rock that fuses the traditional with with a hard-nosed nod to today’s contemporary sounds!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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