Mary Bridget Davies,
Wanna Feel Somethin'
(independent, 2012)

After sitting in with Robert Lockwood Jr. a few times, Mary Bridget Davies surrounded herself with a band and took to the road. Then in 2005, she won the lead in the off-Broadway show, Love, Janis, playing Janis Joplin. After playing the role in New York, she took it on the road and toured the country with the show. Big Brother and the Holding company, Janis's original band, asked her to join them and she has toured with them off and on since 2006.

Now she has formed her own band again and recorded her first CD, Wanna Feel Somethin'. It's a winner. She opens with a shuffle, "Your Kinda Love," that sets the tone of the CD, lets you know you've safely arrived in blues-rock country. The song reaches back to classic Chicago blues guys like Muddy and Willie Dixon, while maintaining a newness; it blends time, announces that something new is coming out of the tradition. "Same Ol' Blues" is a ballad that has a lot of Janis in it. That's not to say Davies is aping Joplin; that's not the case. But the fact is, there is a great similarity in their voices and both singers were fond of belting a song out, hitting it as hard as they could, punching it out aggressively, if not violently.

Davies is one of the great belters emerging today, but she's also capable of caressing a song, smoothly bringing out all of its beauty, as she does with "Take It to the Limit," a version of the Eagles classic that will have you wondering what those California boys were doing when they sang the song. Her interpretation is real and deep, allowing her to she bring out the blues hidden in the rock ballad. It's a fine and sensitive performance.

Here's the deal: Mary Bridget Davies is the real thing.

[ visit the artist's website ]

music review by
Michael Scott Cain

8 September 2012

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