Ana Popovic - Blind For Love
12 songs; Time 45:01 minutes; Suggested
Style: Blues-Rock; R&B; Jazz; Blues; Rock; Funk; Gospel
Earliest origins: chicken or the egg? Eclectic artist or Eclecto Groove Records label? As the story goes, the eclectic Ana Popovic came first, and then, Eclecto Groove Records was formed and created to support Ana’s diverse approach to music. “Blind For Love” is her second release on this American label, a subsidiary of California’s Delta Groove Records.
Briefly, In 2003, Serbian born Ana Popovic, one of Europe’s hottest artists, was the first continental European artist recognized by The Blues Foundation in the U.S., honoring her with a Blues Music Award nomination for Best New Artist Debut. Following two critically acclaimed CDs on Ruf Records, by 2007, Ana set her sights on the U.S. and signed her first American record deal with the Los Angeles based Delta Groove Music.
* This may not be the most objective review I have written as I am hopelessly in love with Ana. Having hosted her for two “Friends of the Blues” shows of our own and having seen her at two more live shows, I have become captivated by her unmistakable voice and masterful guitar playing. It also does not hurt that she is beautiful like a run-way model.
* This is not a Blues CD, although there are a couple of Bluesy numbers.
* Critical listeners may not enjoy having to pick and choose which songs to play (skipping less preferred styles). However, Ana fans and eclectic fans will enjoy every song.
* Featuring eleven of twelve original songs, "Blind For Love" is produced by Mark Dearnley (AC/DC, Tom Petty, Paul McCartney) and Ana Popovic. Ana on guitars and vocals is joined by members of her regular touring band - Ronald Jonker (bass) and Andrew "Blaze" Thomas (drums), plus special guests Tony Braunagel (drums) and Mike Finnigan (keyboards) from the Phantom Blues Band.
My favorite song is the slow and easy R&B flavored title track featuring Ana’s breathy vocals and Finnigan’s piano work. Her understated mid-song acoustic guitar solo perfectly matches the mood of her plea to an unrealistic lover.
“Blues For M” is another fav; with its wonderful, extended mid-song electric guitar solo, it has a Blues feel (as the title implies). Whoever “M” is, he is one lucky guy. “Steal Me Away” is another in the Blues vein with deft slide acoustic guitar, simple backbeat, and backing vocals by Julie Delgado, Kenna Ramsey, and Billy Valentine.
For Gospel fans, “Putting Out An A.P.B.” opens with scorching electric slide guitar and is anchored by Finnigan’s B-3 organ. With hand clapping and foot stomping rhythm and full supporting harmony vocals, this number will shake the church rafters as it calls, “For the whole humanity for our ability to love.”
For Funk fans, check the heavy grooves on “Wrong Woman,” “Get Back Home To You,” and “Lives That Don’t Exist.” The latter features wah-wah guitar and lyrics that are frank and biting about handling (or not appropriately handling) fame.
For Rock fans, the opening track “Nothing Personal” kicks things off with a reminder that this girl can wail on guitar and still possesses powerful vocals. “Part of Me (Lullaby for Luuk)” is sung to her infant son and ends with a searing slide guitar while “Need Your Love” is filled with layers of lush power-chording guitars.
For Jazz fans, “The Only Reason” adds a nice taste of horns by Joe Sublett and Darrell Leonard, but Ana’s guitar solo seals the deal.
There is one final bonus: the liner notes include all lyrics, and it unfolds to reveal a 9 ½” x 14” flipside, color poster of Ana poised with guitar.
Well on the road to international stardom, “Blind For Love” demonstrates that Ana Popovic still has the fire-in-the-belly, visionary understanding, gifted songwriting-singing-guitar playing talent, and unique style to continue impressing and winning fans everywhere.
Reviewer James “Skyy Dobro” Walker is
a noted Blues writer, DJ and Blues Blast contributor. His weekly
radio show “Friends of the Blues” can be heard each Thursday from
4:30 – 6:00pm on WKCC 91.1 FM in Kankakee, IL