Strong sounds from ‘the weaker sex’ continue to smash that ancient ridiculous stereotype.
By Gregg Shapiro
If anyone has the right to sing the blues, it’s our lesbian sisters. Gaye Adegbalola, of Saffire The Uppity Blues Women fame, does so on her most recent solo effort, Gaye Without Shame (Hot Toddy), in songs such as “Queer Blues” and “Hetero Twinges,” among others.
Michelle Malone continues to move in a more bluesy direction with every release. Debris (SBS) is no exception. To her credit, Malone mostly steers clear of the whiney blues and goes for the blister on turbulent tunes such as “Feather in a Hurricane,” “Yesterday’s Make Up,” “Chattahoochee Boogaloo,” and “Candle for the Lonely.” When she goes for the moan, as she does on “Undertow” and “14th Street and Mars,” she sounds like she’s been keeping company with Mary Gauthier and Lucinda Williams.
Traveling on Ana Egge’s Road to My Love (Grace/Parkinsong), the listener takes in a variety of marvelous sights and sounds. The brass on “Morning” and “Bully of New York” (which reminded me of Ani DiFranco), the electric keyboards on “Quitting Early,” the light footwork of “Carey’s Waltz,” the Wurlitzer organ on “It’s Been Too Long,” the pedal steel guitar on “Farmer’s Daughter” (which made me think of Catie Curtis), and, of course, Egge’s warm and welcoming vocals make the trip worthwhile.
On Dandelions & Party Queens (Siren) Julie Loyd colors her folk tunes with a splash of twang. It could have something to do with the banjo she picks throughout the disc. It’s a lovely addition to her musical wardrobe and complements her songs the way the right accessory can do. Standout tracks include “Paperwhite Dove,” “Wendy’s Lament,” “40 Days & 40 Nights,” “A Little Faith,” and the haunting “Wash Away.”
You can hear the influence of Jill Sobule, who produced and played on the delightful Underground (www.marykateoneil.com) by Marykate O’Neil. I can’t think of a stronger recommendation than that, other than to say that original songs such as “Green Street,” “Nashville,” “Mr. Freidman,” “Saved,” “Attention,” “One Thousand Times a Day,” and the title tune are nothing short of unforgettable. And O’Neil’s cover of Joe Jackson’s “Different for Girls” really nails it.
Guitar genius Kate Schutt turns her attention to jazz-influenced vocals on Telephone Game (http://www.kateschutt.com/). Anyone who has ever heard her
reinventions of Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time,” Aretha’s “Freeway of Love,” and
especially Janet Jackson’s “Miss You Much,” knows precisely of what she is capable. It all begins with “Take Everything” and continues on “Open Window,” “Take Me With You,” and “The Actress.” Schutt adds a bluesy edge on “Blackout” and moves in an experimental direction on “Who Is Young, Who Is Naïve?” and sandwiches a lovely pop number “Fake ID” in the midst of it all.
“Compounded of incongruous parts,” the seven-song EP Chimera (Bad Rabbit) by Chris Pureka collects three live tracks and combines them with a couple of originals and adds the Ketch Secor completion of Bob Dylan’s “Wagon Wheel” to close out the disc. Lesbian music legend June Millington (Cris Williamson) produced Life Goes On (Linq Songs), the latest from folk-rock musician Linq, which includes the powerful message of “Change the Picture.” Out indie rock musician Tara Jane O’Neill returns with A Ways Away (K).
Gregg Shapiro is a past recipient of the annual OutMusic award that recognizes contributions by non-musicians in furthering the work of LGBT performers.