FREE Subscription - For more information  CLICK HERE



Back To Reviews page

Sharrie Williams – Out Of The Dark

Electro-Fi Records

14 tracks; 54.08 minutes

For a native of Michigan it is surprising that Sharrie Williams, “The Princess Of Rockin’ Gospel Blues”, is not better known in the States. However, the fact is that she plays more in Europe where she is a frequent visitor than in her home country. On this release Sharrie wrote or co-wrote every track bar one, that exception being the title track which is a cover of a Walter “Wolfman” Washington tune. Interestingly the recording appears to have been made in a variety of places, the main tracks being recorded in Northumberland PA, Sharrie’s vocals in Saginaw MI and the horns in Dresden, Germany! Nevertheless, the sound quality is excellent and credit for that is due to producers Sharrie and Lars Kuschke who also plays all the guitar parts on the CD. Alongside Lars the core band is Marco Franco on bass, Anthony “Tee” Burns on drums, Pietro Taucher and Sjan Sahm on keyboards. The horns are Chris Hermann on trombone and trumpet and Michael Skulski on saxophones who appear on six of the cuts.

The CD opens with “Can’t Nobody” which, despite the odd grammar, is an effective love song, a slow-burning gospel groove with the horns providing a powerful finish to the verses. “City Limit Musicians” bemoans the lack of ambition of some musicians who do not want to travel away from home, a slick groove with a strong bass line and fluid guitar and piano solos: “Road warriors are hard to find, we are a breed, one of a kind. Our home is the highway but you can’t leave your driveway.” Title track “Out Of The Dark” is a ballad with a secular lyric but which could well be interpreted as religious: “Out of the darkness, into the wonderful light, that’s what you did for me”.

“What’s Wrong With You” is an upbeat shuffle about a relationship that is disintegrating, Lars Kutschke’s guitar demonstrating a touch of jazz in his approach. “Need More Money” moves along at a fast pace with the horns underpinning the rhythm, Sharrie expressing the current anxieties that everyone has in a time of economy measures, but concluding that God will always be there to help us. A fine sax solo graces the middle of the tune. The pace is slowed right down with “Although I Sing The Blues”, Sharrie sings of the ups and downs of the singer’s life and emphasises that although the blues is her choice of music, she is not down in attitude. The musicians all chip in with some lovely playing to support Sharrie’s outstanding vocal, always passionate, never out of control.

“Prodigal Son” is a cautionary tale of the dangers facing young people – booze, drugs, crime, etc. To emphasise the dangerous situation, the band cooks up a heavy riff and drums though I did not care for the synthesiser solo which reminded me of Emerson, Lake and Palmer! A nice contrast in pace is provided by “Gone Too Long” a song about being away from home on the road, trying to please audiences while missing one’s family: “I’ve been gone too long, I’ve got to get back. I‘ve been travelling both night and day trying to sing some of your blues away.” “Gatekeepers” is also about being a working musician, but in this instance the song concerns the difficulties that Sharrie appears to face in getting her music heard.

The serious side of Sharrie’s writing really comes to the fore on “What Kind Of Man”, a song that deals sensitively with the difficult issue of abuse within relationships: “What kind of man parties all night long, stays out with his friends then comes home to do you wrong?” “Grandma told me, if he hits you once, I’m telling you, he’ll hit you twice”. “Breakin’ Out” is an upbeat affirmation of freedom, possibly a thematic sequel to the previous depressing tale of domestic violence.

“Choices” emphasizes that we all have the choice to do the right thing but that it is not always easy to make that choice: “Don’t let the weight of the world get you down. Whatever you do, my friend, keep your feet on solid ground. Don’t allow the evil things that people do turn you around.” In contrast “My Old Piano” is just great fun, though surprisingly the piano here is played not by one of the two keyboard players but by drummer Anthony Burns. The CD closes with “R.I.P.”, one of those songs that catalogues some of the departed greats of the blues world; Muddy Waters, James Brown, Koko Taylor, Ruth Brown. In the final verse Sharrie sings of her late friend Robin Rogers, concluding that “now she’s in heaven, singing with the best”. The message overall is what one might expect from a woman of faith; we all die, but are then reborn in the afterlife of peace. I have to add that at the recent Blues Blast Awards Sharrie sang two of Robin’s songs, accompanied by Robin’s husband Tony and Bob Corritore and you could have heard a pin drop – a really sincere and moving tribute to Robin.

Overall this is a fine CD which gives us plenty of examples of Sharrie Williams’ wonderful voice, backed by some excellent musicians. I hope that this will be the disc that brings Sharrie more attention back home

Reviewer John Mitchell is a blues enthusiast based in the UK. He also travels to the States most years to see live blues music.

To submit a review or interview please contact:

For more information please contact:


Home  |  Contact  |  Submit Your Blues News - Advertise with Blues Blast Magazine
 Copyright - Blues Blast Magazine
2010    Design by: Moxi Dawg Design