No Depression Review of "Hard To Love"

This rather youngish sounding singer, with the well worn voice leads you to think she grew up singing the blues or was listening to them all her life; this is not the case at all.  In fact she is a classically trained pianist who didn’t know anything about the blues until about 4 or 5 years ago when she and the blues met up and seemed to greet each other as long lost old friends.  She seems to take a bit of a journey with the music, and there are stops in Memphis, with the soul displayed in “Envy,” the New Orleans hints of “Ray,”maybe a side trip up to Detroit,  but this woman has found the inner meaning of the word SOUL and she has made it her purpose to explore it thoroughly, no matter where it takes her. 

   Dedication to a new medium is nothing unusual, however her the movement here seems to be strong and she is putting everything on the table and she is showing that her dedication is winning the battle.  With her training who knows where it will go to because it seems to be exceedingly strong, and she has swung so far into the camp and the music she is making shows that she is in it for real.  This can’t be faked  and the possibilities coming out of this are huge.   What might be the key here is her piano playing; she is a classically trained pianist with a degree in music from the U. of Wisconsin-La Crosse.  She has never played blues but then sang an Aretha Franklin classic,”Chain of Fools” in a contest.  She was asked to join a Blues Band, but didn’t know Memphis from Mississippi Hill Country, hesitated and then immersed herself in the music.  Loved the emotional honesty, the from the heart aspect, and the rest is history. 

   The heartfelt passion of the songs is what moves her and sold her on the direction of her music.  This disc is produced by Joyann Parker (vocals, guitar, piano, and trumpet), with co-producers Mark Lamoine (guitar and background vocals) and Michael Carvale (bass).  She also  found a twin soul in co-producer Lamoine who co-wrote all the songs with her.  Rounding out the band you have Tim Wick  (piano, organ), Alec Tackmann (drums and percussion) with Gunhild Carling (horns on “Who What When Where Why”).  She is immersed in the blues and it is now a part of her life, just like breathing and her heart beating.  She may have come late to the blues but she is definitely comfortable and very much at home here.  The shoes are kicked off and she is very relaxed and very much at home here.

Leave a comment

Add comment