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Blues Woman

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Album Review

A lot of interesting things have been written about Fiona Boyes, but one of the most attention-grabbing came from Midwest Record Recap — which said that the Australian singer/guitarist "sounds like Bonnie Raitt's evil twin." While that comment was amusing, it was also insightful; Boyes does, in fact, have a strong Raitt influence (with elements of Marcia Ball and Rory Block), but her approach is noticeably darker, swampier, and more mysterious than Raitt's. Boyes is clearly her own person, and one of the great things about Blues Woman is the fact that she is so hard to pin down stylistically. The Aussie is blues-oriented — that much is clear — but during the course of this album, she embraces everything from electric Chicago blues on the Howlin' Wolf-influenced "Howlin' at Your Door" to early R&B (of the late-'40s/early-'50s variety) on "Do You Feel Better?" to blues-soul on "Train to Hopesville" and "Waiting for Some Good News." Although Boyes plays electric guitar on many of the tracks, she is also an excellent acoustic guitarist — and her mastery of the acoustic guitar is evident on the Mississippi Delta blues-minded "Place of Milk and Honey." Texas blues is also part of the equation on this 2008 recording; so are Louisiana and Memphis blues. And through it all, Boyes never fails to be recognizable. For Boyes, having a blues orientation doesn't mean being a blues purist; she isn't someone who believes that everything on a blues-oriented album must adhere to a traditional 12-bar format or that blues artists must refrain from having rock or soul influences. But everything on Blues Woman boasts a wealth of blues feeling, and Boyes' love of variety yields consistently excellent results throughout this gem of an album.


Genre: Blues

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Fiona Boyes has made a name for herself on the blues circuit, but when it comes to the specific types of blues that she performs, the Australian singer/guitarist/songwriter has not been the least bit easy to categorize or pigeonhole apart from saying that she is blues-oriented. Listening to Boyes for an hour or even half-an-hour, one is likely to hear a very wide variety of blues or blues-related styles. Texas blues, Chicago blues, Louisiana swamp blues, Memphis blues, and Mississippi Delta blues...
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Blues Woman, Fiona Boyes
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