It's been a while since I reviewed a new Blues CD because I had not hear anything exceptional. My wait ended when I listened to Joyann Parker's "Hard To Love". Classically trained pianist, Joyann Parker has been singing and writing music for several years, but surprisingly she is relatively new to the Blues. About 4 years ago, Joyann discovered the Blues. "It just clicked" she said, "This is what I am supposed to do."
For Joyann the door to Blues and Soul music opened almost accidentally. After singing Aretha Franklin's soul classic, "Chain of Fools," at a contest, Parker received an invitation to join a Blues band. The following year, the band "Joyann Parker & Sweet Tea" won the Minnesota Blues Society's band competition and in 2015 went to Memphis to represent the Blues Society and compete in the International Blues Challenge. According to Joyann, "After I went to the Stax Museum in Memphis, it was like somebody lit a fire under me. I thought, I love this music. I want to write it so I went home and wrote the songs."
Joyann has a strong, beautiful and sensual voice with amazing range that fits the Blues perfectly. Her songs are wonderful, fresh and all tell believable stories about love and life. They are several levels above most new Blues songs you might hear today and they tell stories that hit home with her audiences. She mentions something very interesting about the Blues. "I have been performing for some younger crowds and they say "I don't like the Blues". But after I perform one of my songs, they often say "I love that song". I tell them "That's the Blues", I have had the same experience going to a Blues concert with someone who tells me they don't really care for the Blues. They usually leave the concert in love with the Blues.
Blues Singer/composer/Pianist Joyann Parker also co-produced this CD with the talented Guitar player Mark Lamoine who also contributed back-up Vocals. Simply put "Hard to Love" is a classic Blues CD spotlighting a soon to be classic Blues Vocalist!
Joyann Parker-Vocal, Guitar, Piano, Trumpet, Composer, Arranger, Co-Producer
Mark Lamoine- Guitar, Background Vocals, Co-Producer
Tim Wick-Piano, Organ
Alec Tackmann-Drums, Percussion
Gunhild Carling-Horns on "Who What When Where Why"
5. "Jigsaw Heart"
6. "Who What When Where Why"
7. "Bluer Than You"
9. "Evil Heart"
10. Take Your Heart and Run"
11. "Your Mama"
12. "What Happened to Me"
13. "Hard To Love"
I have attached a "YouTube" of Joyann Parker singing her original composition "Memphis" from her new CD, "Hard To Love".