The energetic and completely indefatigable Chicago-based virtuoslider JOANNA CONNOR — who has shared the stage with James Cotton, Junior Wells, Buddy Guy and AC Reed (among many others) throughout an honorable career — will release her fourteenth album, titled ‘4801 South Indiana Avenue’ this month.
The disc is released on Joe Bonamassa’s independent blues label Keeping The Blues Alive and is due out on 26th February 2021.
Recorded at Ocean Way Recording Studios in Nashville, Tennessee and produced by JOE BONAMASSA and Josh Smith, the album features a host of superlative musicians including: Josh Smith (guitars) Reese Wynans (keyboards) Calvin Turner (bass) and Lemar Carter (drums) and many other Nashville notables. Joe Bonamassa himself plays on all tracks.
“We used no effects, lots of cool guitars and vintage amps…” JOANNA says.
“We tried to redo it to portray the deep history I have in the blues genre, bring out the thousands of sweaty hours in those blues clubs in Chicago and deliver it to the record.”
“Why do guys get to do all the fun stuff? If I enjoy doing something, I’ll do it…— Joanna Connor, 2021
Check out our interview and video analysis of her life story here >> RAW RAMP Interview With JOANNA CONNOR
The typical unbridled energy of this candlebomb guitarist is fabulously showcased on the bunkhouse burner “I Feel So Good” (the video is shared below). The velocity & fidelity on this hotfoot number is breathtaking! There is almost no time to inhale along the way… and your toes won’t stop tapping. This number is ignipotent!
“Destination” is a version of the old Assassins number (Jimmy Thackeray) and it’s hot like an apple fritter left in the skillet for much too long. So you’ve got hotplate chords, crackling firebox beats, beefy handfuls of bar-room piano and oiled, slide-guitar, grillwork. The main vocals (with Jimmy Hall) are like tar-paper, asphalt and iron bark. My gosh! What an incendiary mix of ingredients!
“Come Back Home” is a honky-tonk boogie with blistered & glowing guitars and the kind of swaying, hippy-hippy shake that would get a girl arrested if she was hanging loose like that down Bourbon Street way. What a thrill!
“Bad News” is a Luther Allison song and consequently it’s deep and subtle. This is an anguished number that holds back almost inexpressible grief. Joanna’s voice is like sizzling paraffin wax and arrives taut as packing wire. Here, her docile guitar cries with pain & sadness but, somehow, this cruel dead march accommodates hope in the heart — because genuine love is, of course, everlasting.
Albert King’s “For The Love of Man” begins with a firm riff, then many more globules of rushing guitar. There’s a big band vibe too: the beats are nocturnal. And of course, the pressure-cooker guitar is ready to explode into a million maniacal moonlets at any moment. The proportions of this number are truly monumental.
And the album concludes with “It’s My Time” (Josh Smith) and a neat series of catacoustic caverns. This is seductive (unnervingly so) yet measured. The guitar-work is acid, and it’s altitudinous, and luxuriously shrill too. Rusty-boned as well. Like barbed wire played with thumbtacks on the watchtower. This is the most extraordinary track on the album: a singular vision of vitality and tangibility.
This album is filled with the most brazenly naked blues we have heard in a long time…
It’s cheeky, and it’s undeniably outrageous — it burns with unfiltered sex appeal every throaty step of the way, every vibrato inch, every finger-picked fret, every honky-tonked tone, every guttural growl, and every groovy gurgle. Unsurpassable!
Joanna Connor’s new album “4801 South Indiana Avenue” is released by KTBA Records on February 26th via www.jbonamassa.com/albums/2021/joannaconnor/4801
Words: @neilmach 2021 ©
Main image: Allison Morgan
Music video directed by: Pete Griffith