American Showplace Music
Rachelle Coba hails from Fon du Lac, Wisconsin. She is the daughter of a Kansas mom and a Cuban born dad. As a child she studied the violin but got her first guitar at fifteen when her mom took her to see Lonnie Mack and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Rachelle went to the University of Miami to study violin but soon switched and graduated with a degree in classical guitar. She met Buddy Guy while jamming at Miami’s blues club, Tobacco Road, and was further bitten by the blues. Rachelle has since developed her own finger-played guitar style. She has worked with Albert Castiglia and Grady Champion, toured with Coco Montoya and Johnny Winter, and opened for many others including Dr. John, Candye Kane and Karen Lovely. In 2012 Coba represented the Wichita Blues Society in the band competition at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. She returned the following year as a solo performer representing the Topeka Blues Society and finished a semi-finalist. Coba’s debut recording was 2014’s “Mother Blues” which resulted in her receiving a Blues Blast nomination for Best New Debut CD. “Her performance…was stunning! Once she started her set, a hushed silence fell over the entire crowd”. “Her stripped-down show is visceral and energetic. She never misses a beat as her groovy but aggressive guitar style contrasts beautifully with her passionate, old school growl.” She has since toured the United States and Australia.
Although Coba can pepper her live sets with selected covers her albums display her songwriting skills, as all songs are written by her, except for the occasional co-written tune. Coba, guitar and vocals; is accompanied by John Ginty, Hammond B-3, various pianos and percussion; Paul Kuzik, bass; and Andrei Koribanics, drums and percussion. The album is produced by Ginty and Ben Elliot who also recorded, mixed and mastered the session.
Ginty’s dramatic thirty second piano intro opens “High and Dry” as Coba sings “I don’t care about no explanation, I ain’t into knowing why, is it too much for me to want the truth, your excuses make me so god darn tired…you left me here high and dry”. Then delightfully the song turns into a rocker. Vocally Coba’s old school growl has a touch of Bonnie Raitt. Ginty goes crazy on piano before Coba’s takes an awesome guitar solo.
“Dance These Blues Away” is a funky tune for the sophisticated and seasoned women who love their blues. “Gonna get my hair done, get some new shoes, gonna get a new outfit, maybe one or two, gonna do my nails, take a bubble bath, gonna plan the night, go out and have some laughs, gonna call my girlfriends, cause I’m feelin’ alright, put on my make up, get my hair right, that’s right, go to the night club, gonna have a good time, ain’t looking for love, no just to ease my mind, gonna leave behind my pain, let it all go, and dance these blues away”. Rachelle sets up and takes another brilliant solo.
“Good Ole Heartbreak” is a ballad with the lyric “won’t you come on in”. On the next tune the rhythm section lays down a solid foundation for Coba as she sings “I ain’t making No Deals”. “River of Blood” written by Coba and her very good girlfriend Liz Mandeville features Jimmy Bennet on dobro. The title track follows.
On her last album Coba sang that she “ain’t got time to fall in love” and she continues that theme with “You Stole My Heart”. “You stole my heart, when I wasn’t watching, I just got it back, should have kept it under lock and key, you stole my heart when I wasn’t looking, I swore nobody else was going to do that to me”. These are among Coba’s best songs as they emotionally display her vulnerability. Her blues tells us her story. The intimacy makes the listener want to love her.
“Blame It on The Blues” is the closer and fittingly so. The song is co-written with Rudy Love.
These are among my favorite songs on this fine album but the next time I listen I may discover that another song has become my favorite. Coba is a songwriter with great depth masked by her guitar and performance talents. If you listen closely you will fall in love with her.
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