Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Stunning New Ana Popovic CD

The following review appeared in the most recent (August 2009) Jazz & Blues Report. The issue can be downloaded as a pdf file at

Ana Popovic certainly is a striking presence with her stunning looks and her considerable musical chops. The Serbia native has built a world-wide audience with her genre-spanning, blues-rooted music. Some of her earlier recordings struck me as a bit too blues-rock for my “taste,” but I found her new Eclecto Groove recording, “Blind For Love,” stunning, perhaps because of the presence of members of the Phantom Blues Band (especially Mike Finnigan’s keyboards and Tony Braunagel on drums), but also because the performances are short and focused with her solos direct and concise. The shortness of the performances also directs focus towards her vocals and she has become a terrific singer.

Ms Popovic penned 11 of the 12 songs here which cover a range of emotions and mix in pop, soul, gospel, and blues elements. Love is the central axis of the songs here, whether the hopefulness that the object of “Nothing Personal,” is in love with her as she is in love with he, while “Wrong Woman,” has her telling this man that if he thinks he’s too good for one woman and good enough for two, she is the wrong woman. The acoustic “Steal Away,” has her yearn for this man to steal her away,” while the title track is a lovely ballad with some nice piano from Finnigan and a lovely vocal. “Putting Out An AFB” opens with some twangy guitar before launching into a rocking groove as she beckons to seize the offenders with a loveless heart, while the funk groove of “Get Back Home To You,” with its story about can’t wait to get back home to her love, and hot guitar riffs and a sizzling solo. As tough as she can sound, the love she feels for her child is tenderly expressed on “Part of Me (Lullaby For Luuk).” The closing “Blues For M,” is anything but blue in feeling as she celebrates her love, “You are my joy and pleasure/ you are my dream of home/ you are my taste of treasure/ you are my strength my stone,” with her solo sings this chorus through her guitar. Its a marvelous conclusion to this stunning new release.

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