Ace of Blues
Angela Strehli who helped found Antone’s, the legendary blues venue in Austin, Texas, recently released Ace of Blues, her first album in seventeen years. Her voice is deep and buttery on this twelve-track recording as she pays tribute to those musicians who were an inspiration to her, such as O.V. Wright, Elmore James, Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Jimmy Reed, Little Milton and Otis Clay. This CD also contains an interesting insert-booklet which contains photographs of those who graced the stage at Antone’s and notes about Stehli’s interactions with those artists.
When Strehli’s cover of O.V. Wright’s “Ace of Spades” hits my ears, it puts an enormous smile on my face. It’s downright fantastic. Muddy Waters’ “I Love the Life I Live” is perfectly seasoned with Mark Kazanoff on harmonica. “Mighty” Mike Schermer’s guitar performance on Otis Rush’s “Gambler’s Blues” is absolutely delectable. The tones he pulls out of his instrument are brilliant. I dig the horn accompaniment on this one too. Howlin’ Wolf is one of my all-time favorites, and Strehli’s recording of “Howlin’ For My Darling” is a wonderful tribute. Mike Emerson brilliantly brings it on keys as Strehli nails the wolf howls. As soon as the opening notes of Otis Clay’s “Trying to Live My Life Without You” finds their way out of the speakers, I switch into ‘dance mode’. Chockful of soul, this one is a definite favorite. Bringing the album to a close is a song Strehli wrote about her friend the legendary Stevie Ray Vaughan. She befriended Stevie and his brother Jimmy in the earlier years of Antone’s, and her song “SRV“ is a lovely and heartfelt tribute.
Ace of Blues is as solid as a blues album can get. I hope Angela Strehli doesn’t wait another seventeen years before recording another.
By Phillip Smith; Dec. 3, 2022
Original source : phillycheezeblues.blogspot.com