Velvet & Steel
Man In The Moon Records
A New Blues Butterfly Finally Emerges From the Shadows.
I seem to have been listening to a lot of Country Music lately; so it was with great glee I slid this debut album, (after only 25 years in the business) into the office CD player and breathed a sigh of relief when the punchy piano led Strong Woman came fussin’ and fightin’ out of the speakers!Here I am a week later; and this Feminist and Feminine Rocking and Rolling Anthem could have been written not just for; but actually about Tami, who has had more knock backs than my mate Malcolm on a Friday night; but boy oh boy, she is never knocked out!
What a helluva voice this young lady from Oklahoma has; channelling Tina, Beth and even Cher as throws down her marker to any man who wants to take her on.
The second song was and is a major surprise as she reinterprets the first of two Joe Bonamassa songs; and certainly in this case she adds a warmth and sensitivity to Dustbowl that is missing from the original; and whoever is playing the guitar sure knows his way around a fret-board!
All 13 songs here are selections from the Great Soul and Blues Song Book; and even though I didn’t recognise most, Tami sure has great taste seamlessly combining songs from half a century or more ago with contemporary songs like Bonamassa and Chris Stapleton’s to showcase her extraordinary vocal prowess.
As we all know by now the Blues comes in many and various formats and Tami is right at home in all, grooving her way through Sugar Shack and Ready To Be Rescued then slowing things down real, real slow with Gretchen Peter’s Love’s Been Rough On Me and the sumptuously gorgeous Love song, which is best known for Adele’s rendition; but when Tami wants to Rock…..ain’t nobody gonna stop her!
She sure sounds sassy and sexy on both Chris Stapleton’s The Cure and Ready To Be Rescued, then on the other Bonamassa song Bridge To Better Days Tami and band wrap it up as tight as a gnats chuff, almost suffocating any careless listener!
There’s no doubt I love the ‘rockers’ here; and they came along just at the right time; but nothing beats a slow burning Blues song; and Tami sure knows how to sing a mean old humdinger, which is why I nearly chose the wonderful 1952 ‘murder ballad’ The River’s Invitation as my Favourite Song here; then I dithered and thought it should be her authentic take on Jimmy Reed’s Honest I Do; not least because it features the legendary Charlie McCoy on harmonica, but today I’m nearly sure my Favourite Song here is……….Maybe Someday; a song hidden for almost half a century but now finding itself absolutely perfect for the political climate that is currently permeating around the world, as Tami channels both Mavis Staples and Sam Cooke on a wonderful and powerful Gospel song that deserves to be heard as loud as possible on radios absolutely everywhere.
It’s mind boggling to think of this as a debut album; as everything about Velvet & Steel is classy from start to finish; but Tami has been honing her immense talent in the background until now; and this album could see her finally metamorphosing into the beautiful Bluesy Butterfly she was always destined to be.
Released October 12th 2018