Classy Country-Soul with a hefty dash of the Blues to send a shiver down your spine
A year ago I missed a Chastity Brown performance by five minutes; and some of my friends are still tormenting me with tales of how great her performance was that night; but I have a copy of her debut album months before its’ release and now it’s my turn to be smug.
I know that this will upset some of my ‘right-on’ readers but, Chastity is a heady Irish/African/American mix and very, very easy on the eye; but even if she wasn’t I would have fallen in love with her voice anyways as it’s a heady mix of Dusty, Adele, Lucinda, Nina and even a smidgen of a young Emmylou and the terms smouldering, smoky and sexy will be used ad-infinitum in reviews and I can’t think of a better way to describe her voice either.
Then; there are the songs or should I say stories of love, loss, hunger, sensitivity, more love, heartbreak, guilt and…..well…..House Been Burnin’ which opens the show sends goosebumps down my back and around my hips each time I hear it. This is timeless Southern Soul with a sensuous Dobro and drum shuffle backing Chastity as the sweat drips from her words on a heart-breaker of a Blues tune.
The guitar interplay on I Left Home should normally have left me staggered, but it took me four listens to realise that this wasn’t Chastity singing acapella. (joke). It was at this stage in the album that it dawned on me what a great production BACK ROAD HIGHWAYS has; and it’s no surprise when you find Fred Canon (Prince, Stevie Wonder,) was pressing some of the buttons.
Chastity’s Country side is allowed full flow on the gorgeous Leroy; which must have been written on a back porch as the sun was setting over a levee somewhere hot and sticky in the South; and if not the video I would make certainly would be and it would be full of bare foot urchins running around the shack as a banjo player sits in a rocking chair and a grey haired woman would be sitting at a pump organ as Ms. Brown pours her heart out to the setting sun. Perhaps that’s just me.
The mood changes slightly with Could’ve Been a Sunday but only a touch as some scintillating guitar work takes this immense song into the Blues stratosphere.
Slow Time could have been the title track as that’s exactly how Chastity Brown does when she sings; she slows time and the song of the same name is stunningly beautiful in its simplicity.
BACK-ROAD HIGHWAYS ends with the Gospel flavoured If You Let Me which will, no doubt end her concerts and if it does, there won’t be a dry eye in the house