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Vanessa Collier Vanessa Collier
Album: Meeting My Shadow
Label: Ruf
Tracks: 11

If you love your blues with a backbone of soul then look no further than Vanessa Collier.

This is the Maryland singer and saxophonist's second album, following up on her debut released in 2014 and she's on fire.

Recorded in Memphis, this album is brim-full of youthful exuberance and features mainly self-penned songs.

Backed a team of superb session musicians, Vanesa's powerful vocals and superb arrangements can shine through.

The opening track - Poisoned The Well - sets the standard right from the off. Soul-drenched vocals with a sultry backbeat and subtle flute come together in this brooding song.

The funky Dig A Little Deeper features some lovely sax, When It Don't Come Easy kicks off with a slide acoustic intro before the bass kicks in, the fun Two Parts Sugar, One Part Lime, Vanessa shows another side to herself in this rocking little number with sparkling piano and sax.

This is a classic album in many ways, the playing is top class and the production clear as a bell.

When Love Comes To Town - the U2 song - is given the treatment with a stellar vocal performance and some impressive guitar.

The soulful You're Gonna Make Me Cry slows down the pace and allows Vanessa to express herself to the fullest in one of the standout tracks on this fine album.

The up-tempo Whiskey and Women rocks along very sweetly, Meet Me Where I'm At moves along in a bluesy groove with some excellent horns, the tasty shuffle Cry Out is a powerful polemic. Rosetta Tharpe's Up Above My Head, I Hear Music In The Air is a rollicking gospel-fuelled romp. The final track Devil's On The Downslide is a triumphal organ-backed slow burner that brings this collection of songs to a fitting conclusion.

Vanessa Collins reckons she was born to perform and this evidence I'd have to agree. A superb album of funky blues.

John Knighton