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Comfort to the Soul

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Album Review

These days, purists are becoming increasingly difficult to find in the blues world — at least if you define a blues purist as someone who believes that anything he/she performs must adhere to a 12-bar structure. So many of the bluesmen who were hailed as promising newcomers in the '80s or '90s — Robert Cray, Michael Hill, the late Stevie Ray Vaughan, among others — were heavily influenced by soul, rock, or both. Ask a lot of younger blues artists who their influences are, and they just might mention Jimi Hendrix, Otis Redding, Led Zeppelin, or Aretha Franklin along with Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, and John Lee Hooker. One of the more promising blues-friendly artists of the 2000s, Ana Popovic is far from a blues purist — truth be told, her second album Comfort to the Soul has as much to do with rock, soul, funk, and jazz as it does with the blues. Of course, many non-purists would argue that the blues are really about a feeling more than 12 bars — and anyone who shares that perspective will agree that the Yugoslavian performer brings a wealth of blues feeling to the table whether she is rocking out on "Fool Proof," making some soul moves on the title track, or showing her jazzy side on the instrumental "Navajo Mood" and an inspired remake of Steely Dan's "Night by Night." The fact that Popovic includes a Steely Dan cover and Howlin' Wolf's "Sittin' on Top of the World" on the same album is quite revealing — it underscores the fact that even though the blues obviously mean a lot to her, she sees no reason to deprive herself of the pleasures that other musical idioms offer. Popovic showed considerable promise on her debut album Hush!, and there are no signs of a sophomore slump on this excellent follow-up.


Born: 13 May 1976 in Belgrade, Serbia

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '90s, '00s

If you're not a blues purist, you'll love the fiery, passionate playing and singing of Yugoslavian blues-rock guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter Ana Popovic. Thanks to her father, the Belgrade-raised Popovic was introduced to the blues at an early age, through his wide-ranging record collection and jam sessions hosted at the Popovic home. Born on May 13, 1976, Popovic took up guitar when she was a teenager and formed her first band, Hush, in 1995. Within a year, with the collapse of Communism in...
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Comfort to the Soul, Ana Popovic
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