Kerri Powers – Love Is Why
I’m acquainted with Kerri’s work & can’t help but hear the enormous potential her showcase & personality possess. She’s effective as an alt-country, blues & soulful vocalist but also stylistic with bittersweet jazz narratives. Her diversification is what’s impressive. There aren’t many vocalists who tackle this kind of showcase. Unfortunately, several passed on. There was Amy Winehouse. A little of Valerie June surfaces but Kerri isn’t that peculiar. Kerri’s voice has a far more attractive enthusiasm & zeal. Her vocalizing is artistic the way Billie Holiday was. She adds soul into her cinnamon-flavored distinctive vocals. Never sweet, never tart.
Backed by an exquisite band she has the lavish gradients of a superbly accomplished singer with the magic that was bestowed upon the late Eva Cassidy. The vocal sincerity coupled with the imaginative intensity of her easily laid out style is impressive. She sounds at home accompanied by a slide guitar or a blue note-savvy piano. Her ability to wear her arrangements like a tailored garment is what she does. “Morning Glory, Midnight Blue,” (a live version included here) is curvy with fleet-fingered acoustic runs & while it sounds country-inspired the jazzier undertones are what elevates this steamy bluesy number.
Produced by Marco Giovino (drums) in MA the 43-minute, 11-cut Love Is Why (Drops Oct 27– Wildflower Child) is an impeccably recorded set. It showcases a woman who should already be on a major label kicking ass across the country. “When It Rains,” is delicious. Kerri holds notes, puts emphasis on keywords & bends lines so one can get lost blissfully in her groove. It’s a skill. The songs are confident examples of an inspired vocalist. The mainstream needs to catch up. The songs are poignant & fiery, there’s alchemy in how she interprets each delectable piece.
This is her first studio CD since 2018. Much too long a wait. But it sometimes takes a difficult time, a sad time to inspire an artist. This is some of Kerry’s finest work. Her voice is captured with scintillating detail (“Wine & Spirits”) that may remind one of the smoky deep vocals of Toni Childs (“I’ve Got To Go Now”).
The musical landscape can be dry & arid but if you dig deep enough, you’ll find some water because great artists are usually right under the surface. But if you find a Kerri Powers there – that’s oil. That’s rich. One of the year’s best.
Highlights – “Rosie Blue,” “Love Is Why,” “Morning Glory, Midnight Blue,” “When It Rains,” “Wine & Spirits,” “Someone Else’s Prayer” cover of Gregg Allman’s “Please Call Home,” duet with Paul Thorn, & “Are We Free.”
Musicians – Bo Ramsey & Luther Dickinson (slide guitars), Kelvin Holly, Doug Lancio & John Putnam (guitars), Brother Paul Brown (Hammond/keys), Martin Ballou (bass), Charles Giordano (accordion), Asa Brosius (pedal steel), Regina & Anne McCrary (bgvs).
Color image courtesy of Kerri’s Facebook. CD @ https://kerripowers.bandcamp.com/album/love-is-why & Amazon + https://www.kerripowers.com/
Enjoy our previous coverage here: Song Premiere: Kerri Powers “When It Rains”