Tag Archive: Indie Artist


[I’m breaking format here to post a music review on this blog because you are getting a 2-for-1, as I posted the companion to this album on my musik-ONLY blog a couple of days ago]

April 21, 2019, Richmond, Virginia – I just met the star singer of “Mississippi Hippie Blues” and her husband in an Airbnb Inn kitchen! By the time we parted company a few days later, she gave me her CDs to check out. While still trying to figure this new area out; (will I stay? but I must chsange something…) I decide to write about her Rochelle Harper Band, “We’re Stayin’, Ya Hear!!” (2007) that I listened to while traveling up and down I-95, house-hunting.

I leave the room after hitting “play” every time because I know she’s gonna yell, “MISS-ISSIPPEEEEE!!!” at the top of her ample lungs,(and it really irks me) beginning (the Shed Song) of this album. It shocked me the first time, as I like to listen to musik loud. Maybe it is her native area rallying cry; I either skip it or turn it down for a second.

Track two, “The Blugill”, reminds me of the 1970s band, Tower of Power with Lenny Williams, in many ways! I hear a lovely baritone sax in this collection! Any band featuring a baritone is #1 with me! The brass and woodwinds reminds me of the legendary Memphis Horns. The drummer, I am guessing, the same one from her solo album, Blair Shotts, is crisp and Motown-accurate! They cover Hoagy Carmichael’s “Georgia” on cut four, doing their just respect to the classic.

“Spare Set Of Keys”, song number seven , features Ricky Chancy on that Nashville honk-tonk harmonica from the outset. It must be the sea-air flava of one of those Gulf Coast “boogie-woogie” party events that Rochelle described to me when we met at the Airbnb Inn.

Slowly, easily, I heart cut 10, “Your Woman”, one of my favorites of the two CDs they gave me. Understand that the guitar hook partially makes it happen. “I’ve got to be/If I’m not your wo-mon…” [organ out]

Then, if you wanted to hit “repeat”, don’t! The next song, “I dun Caught dem Blues” does it one better – or at least stays in the same pocket. Catching you with a time-tested guitar solo over soulful blues strut, it comes back-to-back with the guitars highlighting Rochelle’s musical mouthfuls in the midst of a big-time bluesy organ fantasy foundation for their solos. This one is, as a straight long-distance drive in the interstate, a groove that could go on forever.

Curiously, track twelve….”Amazing Grace” is not what its title suggests, and sounds very much like a cover of The Animals’ “House Of The Rising Sun” with different words. Indeed, the inner cover jacket (shown in the video below) denotes that its about a Rising SON. Whose?

The Rochelle Harper Band has pure potential for live performances, for sure. She says “the daddy [she] hardly knew inspired” her to shoot for the highest of heights and also that, sadly, one of the members died recently. A succinct aggregation of sounds that transcend musical moods and categories, with her as catalyst, is an intergalactic formula. One minute they are funky and the next rockin’ soulful country blues, with the energy of a Marvel action movie!

All-in-all, you will hear entertaining music with crisp and clear studio production (until she yells again, lol). How about some new stuff, y’all?
“One Mississippi…two Mississippi…Three Mississippi” peace signs, out of five.

***PickHit: check out my review of Rochelle’s solo album here https://achilliadsmyvinylrecordshoppe.wordpress.com/2019/05/14/a-real-rochelle-rochelle-musical/

OR…over at my satellite, musik-ONLY blog, “achilliadsmyvinylrecordshoppe” (link in the side bar to the right)

This is the last music review here at this vaired and long-standing blog since 2009. From now on, you are invited to check out my musical musings at my new, long-thought-about and sometimes discussed, via my initial blogging motivator (my amigo and Alum, Grady from Adelphi University), offshoot and narrowly focused effort in the blogosphere which will only present via on one of my strengths: writing reviews that comment and critique music, past, present and future! My main obsticale was creating a name for the new one, oddly-enough, which last week finally came to me and allowed me to move forward with it so I hope that you will want go on over to https://achilliadsmyvinylrecordshoppe.wordpress.com/  for my music musings henceforth.

My first review for that new blog station is for an EP I received from a beautiful soul and LinkedIn connection named Irenka.

Iren

It is against the backdrop of the cowardly and horrific Islamist bombing of the Brussels airport that I pen this review of music by a native daughter of that country which bothers no other and I cannot understand why those scum continue to main innocents instead of fighting a nation’s armed forces face-to-face; sissies!
Well, on to her important music EP, “Wait 4 It”. I must have met Belgium’s hot foxy female vocalist, Irenka, during my twelve years living in Nashville, Tennessee, right? Or Nyet. I would have remembered such a creative presence, energy and figure as hers! The first sound that I hear on track one “Comme Si” is Irenka clearing her throat. I said, “What??” Listened again; however, quickly those sounds turn into her spittin’ like a Euro human beat-box meeting Soft Cell’s 1981 “Tainted Love” – at least in musical key – as she then croons in French, the lingo most speak in Belgium. The last time I listened to this much lyrical love language was on Dimitri From Paris’ 1998 “Sacre` Francaise” or when I reviewed the various artist Playboy Club remix back in 2009. Scare Bleu!
“Dreamland”, track two, is an introspective, somnambulistic ballad where she displays her vocal range for the first time. This and the next selection where she lets her fingers do the singing on track three are perfect for a cloudy day. Irenka is really playing a beautiful classic-style piano solo instrumental! I know because I asked her. Next up and showing an inner versatile similarity to the late Amy Winehouse but with a better voice, or Billy Holiday, she styles on, “I don’t Need No Lover (except to hold me through the night from time-to-time)”. I think that this arrangement reminds me of New Orleans blues-jazz in a street march parade; especially because of the brass accents. At one point I was unsure whether Irenka would hit the climbing high-note – but she did. You will know it when you listen. It is a song that harkens me back to the days of, “Hubba-hubba!”

Finally, she rocks out with the fourth and last track, “A Reason To Hate Me”.
The video, “Comme Si”, takes us on a musical personal journey and is full of familiar scenes from my twelve years living there in Nashville/

Athletic, isn’t she?

Upon learning of the repulsive, pusillanimous Brussels airport attack, act we communicated and her reply, in great musician style was, “Luckily all family is safe, but it is nonetheless terrible, and it is our duty, we the artists, to bring peace and love to this crazy world!”
The world is not as crazy as some of these recent lunatics who inhabit it and I might have been at first on the fence in limbo about Irenka, but now that I have listened copiously and seen her video, there is no “reason to hate” on Irenka with three-and-a-half hopefully motivating musical stars. 3-and-one-half-star-rating

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