Ghalia review…October 13, 2019…

GHALIA

MISSISSIPPI BLEND

RUF RECORDS 1272

GYPSY LADY–MEET YOU DOWN THE ROAD–SQUEEZE–FIRST TIME I DIED–LUCKY NUMBER–WADE IN THE WATER–DRAG ME DOWN–SHAKE AND REPEAT–RELEASE ME–WHY DON’T YOU SELL YOUR CHILDREN–I THOUGHT I TOLD YOU NOT TO TELL THEM

Ghalia (Volt) is a Brussels-born blueswoman who’s been making a lotta racket on the contemporary scene ever since her 2017 debut, the New Orleans-influenced “Let The Demons Out.”  She spent some creative time in Chicago, Memphis, and even here in Music City, but longed to record a set in the Hill Country of Mississippi.  As such, she ventured down to Coldwater and the Dickinson brothers’ Zebra Ranch studio, intent on making an album “so raw it bled,” and the stunning results are in, with the release of “Mississippi Blend,” for Ruf Records.  Ghalia is on vocals, slide, and dobro, and bassist Dean Zucchero and guitarist Smokehouse Brown return from the debut album.  There are several special guests that add to the “local color” of this project, too, including Cedric Burnside, Lightnin’ Malcolm, and Cody Dickinson.

The party starts with Ghalia’s fiery ode to that sly and sexy “Gypsy Lady,” who only needs the “music in my head.”  Along with Ghalia, this one features Hill Country icon Lightnin’ Malcolm on guitar.  “Meet You Down The Road” finds our lass missing a departed lover, leaving her trapped on an “Earth without sun.”  Watermelon Slim blows harp on this one, and returns a bit later for one of our favorites.  He and Ghalia duet on the traditional gospel-blues of “Wade In The Water,” with “the Holy Ghost comin’ on me!”

“Squeeze” finds our heroine head-over-heels in love, and shows it in a true blues-meets-Sun-rockabilly groove, with Cody Dickinson on drums!  That groove continues and closes the set with our girl doin’ her best Wanda Jackson on the blistering, stop-time rocker, “I Thought I Told You Not To Tell Them,” with Malcolm and Smokehouse tearin’ up the frets!

If such a thing can be possible, Ghalia has crafted a set that smokes hotter than her debut!  “Mississipi Blend” is raw, powerful, and a sho’ nuff potent statement from one of our favorite players in all of contemporary blues!!!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

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