The Joanna Connor Band

The Joanna Connor Band

After listening to this album several times, I’m still left with a feeling of not being able to pinpoint where this accomplished slide guitarist is coming from. Her past efforts have vacillated from hardcore Chicago-style blues to heavily distorted blues rock.

With this release, she touches on so many styles the listener is confronted with influences ranging from Klezmer to Eastern Eureopean dervish-flavored music. It’s all good, but stylistically, it’s all over the board. That might place a bit of a burden on the listener, but she certainly is putting plenty of feelers out there.

If you’re expecting straightforward blues, this ain’t it. The mark of a true artist is growth and experimentation, and it’s obvious she’s pushing the envelope – several, in fact. The themes are as diverse as the tunes.

There are cuts that would work well in the ever-expanding AAA format, to an instrumental directly influenced by the Allmans’ “Elizabeth Reed” to a laudable cover of War’s “Slippin into Darkness.”

She has a great ensemble; second guitarist Anthony Palmer shines when let loose, and it’d be interesting to hear more of Ted Reynolds’ harmonica work.

There’s no reason the blues can’t incompass the myriad of influences presented here. Joanna Connor is certainly giving it a valid effort.

This article originally appeared in VG‘s July ’02 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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