Jennie DeVoe - Strange Sunshine

 

Jennie DeVoe draws a lot of comparisons to Janis Joplin, and in one sense it's easy to see why. DeVoe, like Joplin, is a white female singer who can sing soul and blues with the kind of grit and passion that usually finds its roots in the black church. She can also rock and add a little country and western to the mix. However, DeVoe has a big, expansive voice that can go from a Joplin-esque, throaty raspyness in one note to explosive heights with the next. That range and power brings to mind a bluesy, funky rocker who could be considered a DeVoe contemporary - Alice Smith.

SoulTracks Review

by Howard Dukes
 

“DeVoe has a big, expansive voice that can go from a Joplin-esque, throaty raspyness in one note to explosive heights with the next. That range and power brings to mind a bluesy, funky rocker who could be considered a DeVoe contemporary - Alice Smith. Like Smith, DeVoe is a singer who is not content to be bound by the limits of genre. Strange Sunshine is a record for listeners who love good lyrics. DeVoe's songwriting captures the wittiness, world weariness, hope and simple brilliance that is blues music at its best. Simply stated, the musicianship on this record is excellent. That should go without saying, except it doesn't. The star of this show is DeVoe's vocal instrument. It's not just her range and power that impresses. DeVoe sings with an honesty that makes the listener believe she is baring her soul on every track. HighlyRecommended."

Like Smith, DeVoe is a singer who is not content to be bound by the limits of genre. Her willingness to take the listener on a ride from the neo-psychedelic title track "Strange Sunshine" to the bluesy declaration of female independence "No Damn Man," the funky "Exit 229," the rollicking rocker "Foolproof," and the bluegrass influenced "Blind Faith" is among Strange Sunshine's endearing qualities.

 

However, Strange Sunshine has other virtues. First of all, Strange Sunshine is a record for listeners who love good lyrics. DeVoe wrote or co-wrote every song except the fun "Fool Proof," and her songwriting captures the wittiness, world weariness, hope and simple brilliance that is blues music at its best.

 

Take this snippet from the jazzy "Nobody Loves You": "Got my suspicions/they could be true/I tried to be the color that you like/but now I'm blue." It also seems that DeVoe took as much care in selecting her sidemen as she did in writing her lyrics. Simply stated, the musicianship on this record is excellent. That should go without saying except it doesn't. We've gotten so used to programmed music that the ears perk up upon hearing folks who know how to do some work with their axes.

 

The star of this show is DeVoe's vocal instrument. It's not just her range and power that impresses. DeVoe sings with an honesty that makes the

listener believe she is baring her soul on every track. DeVoe is every bit as believable on the female anthem "No Damn Man" as she is on the torch

song "I Break Down." She'll make you a believer as well.

 

Highly Recommended.

 

Find this review on-line here.

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