From her first utterances on Blueswoman, it is clear that Nora Jean Wallace is in charge. Her big Chicago-style vocals dominate this new release reminiscent of post-war leading ladies like Big Mama Thornton and Koko Taylor.
Wallace is no stranger to the blues world, having broken out in 2004 (as Nora Jean Bruso) with the Blues Music Award-nominated Going Back to Mississippi. Though a staple of the Chicago blues scene, she only recently came out with this excellent sophomore record, which is dominated by original numbers penned by her or her keyboardist, Stanley Banks. Her talent is raw, real and righteous, as she belts out those songs with authority. Among the best songs Blueswoman are the simple opening piece, “Martell,” “I’m a Blues Woman” and “Rag and Bucket,” which features the guest harmonica talents of Fabulous Thunderbirds frontman Kim Wilson.
In addition to Banks, Wallace was joined on the album by Johnny Moeller and David Earl (who also produced) on guitars, Steve Gomes on bass, Kevin Anker on organ, Steve Guyger on harmonica and Robb Stupka on drums.
About the author: Bill Wilcox is a roots music enthusiast recently relocated from the Washington, DC area to Philadelphia, PA and back again.