Dana Fuchs – Bliss Avenue – RUF Records – Released 9th July 2013
The opening and title track is blisteringly good, it is as hot as the summer’s day outside, I was totally absorbed into the power and emotion of ‘Bliss Avenue‘ for just under 3 minutes I was spellbound as Dana weaves her musical magic around me the combination of her voice and the understated but powerful beat of the musicians. The lyrics are powerful, soulful and gut wrenching this is a glorious cocktail mix of influences from the gospel, southern rock/blues with generous measures of soul and roots of the highest calibre mixed in and poured over icy granite rock. My only concern was how could this high-powered opening number be followed, well when an artist of this quality and style with such a wonderful voice combined with the song-writing skills that with her guitarist Jim Diamond she has created an album full of texture, charm, sorrow and gritty determinism as Dana sings about loss, loneliness from her perspective BUT this is never a self-centred introspective collection of songs. The tracks all have merits and the CD engages you throughout the twelve songs and nearly fifty minutes; for me the tracks that stand out are ‘How Did Things Get This Way’ with its gritty rocky beat matches and at the same time contrasts Dana’s vocals; ‘Baby Loves the Life’; a gentler tempo with a hint of country and this makes the lyrics stand out, ‘Long Long Game’ with a nod at the hollering style of a gospel choir mixed with country rock, but still for me the real stand out track is the opening title track – ‘Bliss Avenue’. The band that delivers a beautiful sound for Dana to hang her lyrics are Jon Diamond (Guitar); Jack Daley (Bass); Shawn Pelton (Drums); Glenn Patascha (Keys) they deliver track after track with the tempo, style and rhythm to meld the whole show together. This is life in all its colours delivered on a small gleaming disc, ‘Bliss Avenue” is perfectly formed, there is no doubt that Dana’s vocals are compared with Janis Joplin, Bonnie Raitt and even Patti Smith but the reality is Dana’s style and approach is uniquely her own and a distillation of the road she has travelled since as a twelve-year-old she sung in The First Baptist Church on the outskirts of town until today and the release on the 9th July “Bliss Avenue” on RUF Records. There is no doubt this is an album with loads of confident swagger… so please tour the UK very soon so we can hear you live on stages across the country!