Not long ago, Ruf Records issued a fiery CD by Joanne Shaw Taylor (here), a blues temptress fireball, and now MVD is distributing the ArtisteXclusive label release of a woman just as brilliant, perhaps even more incandescent: Ana Popovic. Hard to tell, though—they're both so damn good that degrees of magnitude become irrelevant. Like Taylor, Popovic also sings in a brassy don't-fuck-with-me voice, immediately heard in the lead cut Wrong Woman—as in "you're messin' with the wrong woman", buster, so hit the tracks and don't look back—but it's her machine gun leads that really mesmerize. Combining Frank Marino, Snuffy Walden, Hendrix, Keith Cross, and the best of the 70s psych-bluesrockers, she truly knows how to whip that Fender into a frenzy. Um, and boys, like Taylor, she's a sight for sore eyes.
For over two hours, Ana wails, and I mean WAILS! both vocally and instrumentally. Her backing band is a gritty jump rhythm machine with a bass player who can't be repressed, hoppin' and be-boppin' all over the place. During the balladic U Complete Me, she tosses in such fractured jazz and psychedelic runs as would make Larry Coryell even now sit up and hoot…and each cut is overflowing with this mesmerizing handiwork, with and without slide. Small wonder Popovic was nominated for the prestigious W.C. Handy Award here in the States while being a sensation in Europe. And I think there's something in that Serbian accent that puts the woodsmoke in her vocal refrains, 'cause there's an added sensuousness underlying that evades easy definition.
Trasimeno Lake is a beautiful venue in Italy, and some 5000 people showed up to max out the audience, grooving like maniacs. When required, horns, backing vocalist, and secondary percussionist appear, filling out a roundhouse atmosphere as the menu travels from blow-out tunes to slick nightclub numbers to ballads that inevitably spark and fly. Hey, y'all, I ain't kidding, this girl knocks the back wall out of the house on anything she lights into, and even, among many virtues, affects a strange strumming style in portions of her leadwork that I've never quite seen before. You want to know where the womenfolk put the heat on the guys? Here 'tis, here and with ladies like Taylor. God knows there aren't enough axeslingers like Popovic, male or female, and Dan Scratch himself figures we could use a good deal more of the hellfire burn-em-down intensity, so should you find yourself feeling a tetch of the devil sneaking around the woodpile, just pop this DVD in the player and open the windows. Have some tequila ready, too. You'll need it.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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