Throughout its history, blues has been something of a boys club. That of course is not to say that women can’t play the blues. Queen of My Castle by Diana Rein is all the proof you need that women play the blues as well as anyone.
You don’t have to listen long to the album to realize some of Rein’s influences. In the instrumental break of the opening tune “Yes I Sing the Blues”, the guitar tone is akin to Stevie Ray Vaughan while the rhythm at times is similar to Elmore James.
“Worth” is a blues-rock anthem whose message should be taken to heart by anyone who listens. It’s hard not to raise your fist in agreement when you hear her sing, “Don’t let them make you feel small and question your worth.” The message isn’t the only thing that will have you raising your fist. The rhythm that drives the song is pretty good at that too.
There is a recurring theme of independence with a couple kiss-off songs. In “Walking Along”, she sings “When you see my baby walking along, won’t you tell him hello. This is his goodbye song.” You can’t help but realize that this is the perfect message for someone you never want to see again. You hear the theme again in the title track. This has the feel of a classic Chicago blues song. In a powerful voice that sometimes reaches a bit of a growl, she sings, “I’m the queen of my castle, and you’ll never be king.”
A constant throughout the album is the guitar work. “Time’s Ticking Away” features some licks that bring Eric Clapton to mind. “It’s You” also features some pretty good licks as well as backing vocals that sound like they belong in a 60s soul song.
With 15 songs, this album is a bit longer than a lot of albums you come across. Not that you’ll mind. With the soulful vocals and the rocking blues melodies, you can’t help but enjoy all of the songs that Rein pours her soul into. Queen of My Castle (Gulf Coast Records) will be available everywhere on June 21. Order your copy here.