Sari Schorr is just the sort of powerful and passionate female blues-rock singer that this reporter loves best. She has the power of Joan Jett or Pat Benetar when she rocks out and the passion of Janis Joplin with the subtlety and ability to convey emotion of the great Bessie Smith when she slows it down. She really is, as the title of this album says, A Force of Nature.
She is a robust performer, so it is lucky that she has a powerful band behind her, which includes fantastic guitar player Innes Silbun, formerly from Robert Plant’s band,and eleven other talented musicians who appear ion various tracks, including the great Walter Trout who perfectly enhances Schorr’s vocal on guitar on an emotional rendition of his own song, “Work No More.”
‘Work No More” is one of only three cover songs on the album, while Schorr wrote or co-wrte the other nine songs. She covers is Huddie Ledbetter’s classic “Black Betty,,” which starts fairly intensely and builds to a searing crest before gradually ebbing to a soul-stirring lament. Schorr has the voice to do justice to a song like this.
The other cover is my favorite track on the album and my pick for cover of the year so far, a jaw-dropping version of “Stop! In the Name of Love” that turns the song from a passive, hopeless plea to an,impassioned, broken-hearted demand. I have a lot of affection for The Supremes, but Schorr shows what this song can be and it is phenomenal!
As for the originals, they show Schorr to be an accomplished songwriter who can write and sing in a variety of styles. She is gritty and funky on the opener”Ain’t Got No Money” and then all-out rocks on “Aunt Hazel,” where it helps to know that “Aunt Hazel” is urban slang for heroin.
“Damn the Reason” is a powerful lament about love and its lack of logic, while Cat and Mouse” is a playful rocker and declaration of an ambitious woman determined to make it big. .
“Demolition Man” is a blues rocker with a very traditional theme: he knocks her out, he’s her Demotion Man. We’ve heard that message before but it still sounds great, “Letting Go: shows Schorr’s ability to handle a power ballad with intense but controlled passion while “Ordinary Life” ends the album with a knock-out, a slow and introspective, gentle song of gratitude that only a mature woman could write.
Indeed, this whole album reveals Schorr to be a grown and seasoned performer, facing life head-on in her songs with power and confidence. She has a big voice, a big musical personality, and a boatload of talent. I you like blues-rock and strong women, don’t miss this album!