Lauren Anderson – Burn It All Down
Not a bad set of blistering blues from a strong-voiced young lady that has good songs & lyrics, a penetrating showcase & yes…some gritty authenticity. However, it’s basically based on a formulaic blues style that Ms. Anderson tinkers with. She does have a style of her own at times as displayed in “Lose My Head,” where she establishes herself respectfully in a quasi-Janis Joplin Kozmic Blues-Pearl manner (“Fool” is an excellent example also).
She’s not as raw-boned as Brenda Patterson but whether she’s aware or not she’s more from the school of Genya Ravan (Ten Wheel Drive – “Morning Much Better”) than anyone else. Lauren doesn’t have a country-blues tone but is solidly blues-driven though not as warm as Tracy Nelson (Mother Earth – “I Need Your Love So Bad”), or as polished as Bonnie Raitt. Lauren has what many blues singers today lack – that genuine gusto & soul that Janis had & so did the late Candy Givens (Zephyr – “Sail On”).
Many blues singers mentioned are either dead, retired, or not performing actively. So, there’s plenty of room for Lauren Anderson to belt out her songs with her 16-cylinder high-octane voice. What she may need down the road is finesse. What Karen Lawrence possessed with her amazing pipes with both her band 1994 (“Once Again,” “Bring It Home”) & Blue By Nature. She at least appealed commercially without being commercial.
This 42-minute, 12-cut was produced by the Lauren Anderson Band with Taylor Lonardo Burn It All Down (Drops Sept 9–Independent) fits everything perfectly. The attitude on Lauren’s face & her mannerisms keeps it elevated at Janis’ peak persona. Lauren’s voice does communicate for herself through her music with an expressive soundscape & she rocks.
There’s no doubt she understands the blues genre. She has a tight full-tilt blues band to flesh out the dominant fibers. What’s lacking is pain. Hopefully, Lauren won’t need to draw on that element too much to be realistic. But that’s what Bessie Smith & Janis drew on. This is what sets those women apart from all the others. “I Know,” brings Lauren closer to Janis & it’s impressive.
There’s that soulfulness & angst that personifies what’s rugged & true just short of suffering. Lauren finds a way to be authentic. There’s more blues in her voice than entertainment. That’s the key. If entertainment flows into the repertoire that’s when it will become pretentious & pompous. Diluted. Many fall into this trap.
Highlights – “I Know,” “Never Too Late,” “Still Here,” “Like a Woman,” (excellent).
Musicians on Burn It All Down: Matt Doctor (drums), Hutch (bass), Dan Wecht (guitar), Johnathan Smith (keys/organ), Will Elliot (trombone), Joe Douglas (sax/flute) with Albert Castiglia (guitar/“Zombie Blues”) & John Salaway (guitar/“Hit the Spot”).
Images — B&W arms outstretched: Devious Planet PR/B&W with guitar: Scott Lukes/B&W singing: Rob Smith. CD @ https://www.laurenandersonmusic.com/
Enjoy our previous review here: REVIEW: Lauren Anderson “Love on the Rocks“