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Wednesday, 18 December 2019 17:35

Debra Power

Written by Eric Thom
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That’s How I Roll (Independent)

If you’ve not heard of Debra Power, you’re not alone. But if you’re a fan of boisterous, in-your-face, piano-based blues from a powerful, take-no-prisoners redhead with a sly sense of humour and a dynamic delivery then give yourself a slap.

Her debut, Even Redheads Get The Blues, in 2016 was a big surprise for this fan. Where had she come from? How could all this talent be kept under the radar? Locally, she’s a known entity (Calgary). Internationally, she warrants centre stage.

Tasteful collaborations abound: Jack Semple, Tim Williams, Mike Clark, Joey Landreth, and Ann Vriend. Guests aside, the magic’s all in those fingers, her ability to inject her oversize personality into rather exceptional blues compositions and an uncanny knack for injecting each performance with raw effervescence and nuclear-powered energy.

The source of this joie de vivre is revealed in the autobiographical opening track. However, it’s songs such as Blue Tears that serve to define her, slowing things down to more accurately delineate her piano-playing gifts while accentuating the jazz-like nuance behind her beautiful, bluesy voice.

Yet, she’s more about fun and, a born entertainer, she’s keen on injecting social responsibility into her highly animated statements.

The title track defines her approach to life, featuring slippery slide from Tim Williams, a tight horn arrangement and red-hot piano, yet her positive message is sometimes obscured by lyrics trying to work too hard.

The hilarious duet, Last Time I’m Lovin’ You, borrows a page from Rufus & Carla Thomas, with a great performance from Jack Semple on guitar and co-lead vocal as the pair revisit The Honeymooners (musically, the intro to the piece is one of the album’s highlights).

Don’t Ever Leave Me features another ripping vocal from Power and smooth-as-silk support from B3 (Mike Little) and piano. The raucous I’m Comin’ Around and harder-edged rocker, Side On Sue, (both featuring Joey Landreth on slide) ably demonstrate how easily Power dovetails into full-on, roadhouse blues.

However, head for the more intimate moments of Let Me Love You Tonight to more fully appreciate Power’s core strengths. She can clearly do it all.

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