Deborah Coleman, one of the most talented and prolific female blues artists of the last decade, makes her move to Telarc with the release of her new album, What About Love? Recorded in November 2003 at The Centre for Performing Arts in Unity, Maine, the album explores the ups and downs of matters of the heart—in a way that only a highly accomplished blues singer and songwriter like Coleman can do it.
"I've come to the conclusion that, at least for me, I have a real need to keep it real and keep it live and spontaneous," says Coleman. "That's what matters to me and I think that's what matters most to my audience."
Opening with the rollicking "Bad Boy," What About Love? moves through eleven tracks that ask tough questions about that mysterious and seductive phenomenon that's been taking place in the human heart—for better or worse—since the human heart first started beating. The swampy "Lie No Better" dares a shiftless lover to try telling the truth—for a change—rather than resorting to the same old predictable double-talk.
The centerpiece of the recording is a fresh and rousing rendition of the Everly Brothers' hit "When Will I Be Loved?" The juxtaposition of plaintive lyrics and punchy R&B backbeat gives the song a more upbeat and optimistic spin than the original hit from the late '50s.
Other noteworthy offerings in the mix include the mournful "Can You Hear Me?" followed by the earthy and atmospheric "River World," an instrumental piece that enables Coleman to stretch out with some intriguing riffwork. The final tracks address the topic of love head-on from various perspectives, all the way up to the sultry closer, "Woman in Love."
As backup bands go, "I didn't have to look far for the guys who became the perfect players or this recording," says Coleman. On board for the ride is the tight blues lineup of guitarist Hiromasa Suzuki, keyboardist Ken Clark, bassist Noel Neal and drummer Per Hanson.
With the team in place, the only missing piece was the venue. The search was over when Coleman and company discovered The Centre for the Performing Arts in Unity, Maine. "It had the perfect vibe for the kind of record I envisioned," she says. "With a great sounding room to record in and accommodations for the band under the same roof, it was easy for us to stay casual but focused."
The optimal chemistry between personnel and locale make What About Love? a rock-solid and satisfying recording. "If there is such a thing as too much fun, we had that [when we were making this record]," says Coleman. "Rockin', rollin', hoppin', boppin', jivin', groovin', and sometimes losin'. That's the blues baby, and it truly is a river wild.
Dive in and catch some of the love.