You should already be familiar with the work of blues songstress Sheba the Mississippi Queen from her latest single, I Wanna Know, which we found to be an “authentic, soulful, gritty track“. Now Sheba is finally back with the much-anticipated release of her full-length album, out this month on Bongo Boy Records. The project This is the Blues lives up to its name at every turn and at every measure, an exquisite blend of ’30s juke joint attitude and modern-day musicality.
Opening with I Felt Better, this uptempo number is full of swagger and moxie from Sheba. Her powerhouse vocals are mesmerizing, with tones that are both smoky and vibrant. The light production is refreshing, and it allows the organ plenty of room to be heard – a very welcome and classic addition.
These are the features that define much of the album that follows this strong opener, much to our enjoyment. No Good Ugly Man has that classic blues ballad lilt, combined with slow, twangy guitar riffs and a growl in the vocal line that will send chills down your spine. I’m Through With You kicks the energy up a notch, channeling some ’50s energy and including a clean, tight guitar solo at 1:07 that’s perfectly matched to the tone of the track.
Ride Me Sweet and Slow brings romance to the front and center of this album. This is a sultry and smooth number, unabashedly suggestive and equally as entertaining. This track brings out a slightly softer side of Sheba’s vocals, bringing things down to just the right level for the first half of this intimate number before building right back up to her trademark firey sound.
We also love Lied to Me for its dramatic intro and classic blues heartache doled out with a touch of blues-rock flair. The band can run the full blues gauntlet, and that’s an indisputable fact – but they seem to shine the most on these uptempo, lively numbers where every band member gets to put their skills on full display. The album closer Beg Borrow and Steal is also a standout, incorporating some show-stopping harmonica work from Charlie Hubel. Don’t miss the solo at 1:42 – there are some serious chops on display here.
This is the Blues is perhaps the perfect title for this latest release from Sheba the Mississippi Queen. Because this album truly IS the blues, through and through. This is everything you want in a blues record – some sadness, some misery, some love, and some lovesickness, as well as plenty of soul at every turn, brought to us by a skillful group of musicians who know their craft and execute it incredibly well. Fans of the genre will thoroughly enjoy the classic, heartfelt approach from this expressive and evocative vocalist alongside her truly talented Bluesmen. Learn how to get a copy of this timeless gem for yourself over at Bongo Boy Records.
BELOW: Listen to This is the Blues and connect with her website and social media platforms. Please support Sheba the Mississippi Queen by visiting her online, and playing, downloading, and/or purchasing her music, or attending a live show! And, as always, thank you for supporting real music!