Nashville Blues Society Review of "Hard To Love"

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JOYANN PARKER 

HARD TO LOVE 

HOPELESS ROMANTIC  HRR 1001 

MEMPHIS–ENVY–HOME–DIZZY–JIGSAW HEART–WHO WHAT WHEN WHERE WHY–BLUER THAN YOU–RAY–EVIL HEARTED–TAKE MY HEART AND RUN–YOUR MAMA–WHAT HAPPENED TO ME–HARD TO LOVE 

It’s hard to believe, when you listen to Joyann Parker sing, that she’d never thought about singing the blues until about four years ago.  She sang Aretha’s “Chain Of Fools” in a contest, and the rest is blues history.  Already a classically-trained pianist,  Joyann believed being a blues singer was her calling.  Add to this mix being a part of the competitions in the IBC in 2015, and a trip to that famous museum down at 926 E. McLemore, and a true woman of the blues was born!   She’s set to release her second album on April 13, 2018, this one entitled “Hard To Love,” thirteen cuts written by Joyann and guitarist Mark Lemoine.  Fans, they don’t write just any blues songs–this duo creates soulful, passionate trips into the listener’s heart, just the way they wrote ’em back in the days of Sam, Dave, Aretha, Dan, and Spooner. 

She gives a no-good lover the ultimate heave-ho, and Joyann puts the whole thing in her rear-view mirror, and “bu the time I get to Memphis, you’ll be gone!”  Snarling slide adds to the dark groove of this one, too.  “Envy” is an organ-heavy, testifyin’ ode to “goin’ home, when your work on Earth is done,”  while “Dizzy” is at the opposite ends of the spectrum, drawing on the up and down relationship with a non-committal lover, this one with serious Motown overtures.  “Take My Heart And Run” drives that “my baby left me” train, with Delta-fied slide as its fuel.  Joyann closes the set with the torchy title cut, featuring only her piano, vocal, and the bass, as her lover is described as a “beautiful mess,” but for whom the attraction is too strong to deny. 

Our favorite was easy.  This one hearkens back to the duckwalkin’ heyday of Chuck And Johnnie, in the rockin’ tale of a woman totally smitten by a “bad boy,” “What Happened To Me?” 

Joyann Parker writes stories in song to which we can all relate.  For sure, nothing on this set will ever be “Hard To Love!”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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