The Alternate Root - Review of "Hard To Love"

http://www.thealternateroot.com/reviewarchives/joyann-parker

Joyann Parker (from the album Hard to Love) 
Blue Jazz backs the vocals of Joyann Parker as she strips songs down to their Soul on her recent release, Hard to Love. Her voice wanders in what-if’s on piano rambles and a sturdy upright bass as Hard to Love plays old school honky tonk rock’n’roll to check its look in the mirror asking “What Happened to Me”, and matches the groove with the thick flow of the Mississippi as the river and the story move through “Memphis”. Her classical piano training provided Joyann Parker with singing in a church choir and a gig in a wedding band until recently. She recalls that ‘I didn’t know anything about the Blues until four years ago but then it clicked. I said ‘this is what I’m supposed to do’. A win in the Minnesota Blues Society competition took Joyann Parker to Memphis to represent the state at the International Blues Challenge. For Hard to Love, she returned home with inspiration from the trip, realizing that ‘after I went to the Stax Museum in Memphis, it was like somebody lit a fire under me. I thought ‘I love this music. I want to write it’. I went home and wrote the songs’. 

Joyann Parker and her band (Mark Lamoine-guitar, Michael Carvale-bass) lay down a mighty Blues beat to stride down “Home” on a building rhythm, Hard to Love shaking as it shimmies into uncomfortable questions demanding “What What When Where Why”, rattling Folk Blues for “Take My Heart and Run”, and heating up “Envy” with southern Soul. Joyann Parker carries a torch for the Blues, looking to give back to the world what the music has given her as she whispers of past love, her memories piecing together reasons in “Jigsaw Heart” while she joins a second line parade with “Ray” and spins on the see-saw rhythms of “Dizzy”.

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