The title of her latest CD, Fear Nothing, is apt. Beverly McClennan is a clean-shaven out lesbian who scored very highly in the television series The Voice, placing in the top four, and she indeed doesn't quail in the face of social nonsense. If ya think that mightn't be so tough, try it sometime. Thus, she came to the attention of such musos as Christina Aguilera, a superstar who coached her through the TV gig, and Keb Mo, world renown for his expertise and natural musical grace. Mo appears on this disc, and I'm sure the Aguilera lessons did much good, but McClennan's no Aguilera, for, if she were, she couldn't do what she does here…which is rock the blues non-stop.
Too, she's gathered a solid backing band that even includes long-term drumming mainstay Tony Braunagel (member of Paul Kossoff's Back Street Crawler and then of session work for a huge backlog of stars). These gents nail her style down in a vaguely far-post-Chicago mode that incorporates elements of the South (the singer hails from Tennessee and South Florida), more than a litle soul funk (Love will Find a Way Out), and a gritty ground floor inviting comparisons to Bonnie Raitt, Etta James, and others. Her hard-edged balladic side, as in I Never Will Forget is nothing to sneeze at either, dripping with sincerity.
My favorite cut? Hard to decide. I really like Ain't Me, a Bob Welch / Russ Ballard-type rock floater, but then her cover of the classic Nobody's Fault but Mine knocks the brains out the back side of my head, slinky, nasty, and dark as night. On the other hand, I love the work of Mary Fahl and Toni Childs, and McClellann marries them well in Precious Times, a radio worthy number that really should already be on the charts.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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