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Sena Ehrhardt - Leave the Light On

Blind Pig Records

10 songs; 40:04 minutes

Styles: Blues Rock, Modern Electric Blues

Blues fans and students are rejoicing: it's back-to-school time! Okay, maybe the students aren't, but this is the point in the year when they AND genre enthusiasts can benefit from education. Want some evidence? Check out the sultry songstress Sena Ehrhardt, a “freshman” to the national blues scene. Sena proves that the most passionate musicians can perform just as well on their debut release as veterans can on some of their latest albums. “Leave the Light On” is one of those rare first CDs that leave listeners speechless, wondering why on Earth they haven't heard of the artist before. Each one of its 10 original compositions is delivered with the intensity of a varsity game. As for “low marks”? There are none!

Sena Ehrhardt, her father Ed - lead guitar and co-writer, and the band all hail from the Minneapolis-area. The folks behind Blind Pig Records are excited by their latest discovery with a fresh and dynamic young voice. They feel she is poised to go nationwide based on witnessing convincing showcases of Sena’s commanding stage presence and gritty, soulful vocals capturing audiences at both clubs and festivals in the upper Midwest.

Sena kicks things off with “My Bad,” a satirical anthem to which almost anyone can relate. “I tried being something you would approve of. I tried living your life, not mine,” she protests to a lover she's leaving. “My bad for ever thinking I could do it your way—my bad!” This song reveals the raw quintessence of Sena's style: She minces no words, and however she feels, she sings! Her vocals are crisp and potent without being shrill. Daddy Ed gives his first demonstration of his formidable guitar skills with a song-long catchy hook and mid song solo.

The title track has a splash of funk and Ed’s jazzy guitar mixed in with the blues, along with one of this year's best lyrical lines: “They say you don't know what you've got until it's gone. I say you don't know what you've got until you get it....”

Shout “tick-tock!” as track 3, the jump-swinging “On the Clock,” begins its wry refrain, and discover why “Lovers Can't Be Friends”.

“Same Team” is a catchy call for unity and remembering the Golden Rule. Sung by anyone else, it might come off as sanctimonious, but Sena infuses this song with hard-bitten vocals and bell ringing guitar courtesy of her father, Ed. She regrets “we've lost our way, and we don't have each other's backs”.

Listeners will dig “Hear Me” with its Boogie-beat as the most danceable tune on “Leave the Light On,” and the forcefully declarative song “Fool Out of Me” as having the most pointed chorus.

Overall, this album earns a solid “A” in this reviewer's evaluation. That's not just an “A for effort,” either! Sena Ehrhardt, her father Ed on guitar, bassist Steve Hansen and drummer Tim Hasler come out of Minneapolis, but hopefully they'll soon “make the grade” nationwide!

Reviewer Rainey Wetnight is a 31-year-old female Blues fan. She brings the perspective of a younger blues fan to reviews. A child of 1980s music, she was strongly influenced by her father’s blues music collection.

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