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October/November 2011

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Maria Muldaur
Steady Love
Stony Plain Music

Maria Muldaur

49 years is a long time to do anything, but believe it or not, Maria Muldaur has been performing for nearly half a century, with no signs of slowing down, as evidenced by her latest release for Stony Plain, Steady Love. Muldaur will forever be linked to her 1974 hit, “Midnight at the Oasis,” but there’s so much more to this lady’s talent than indicated by that perennial favorite. She’s performed and recorded every brand of American Roots music since her debut recording in 1963 with the Even Dozen Jug Band.
Throughout her musical odyssey, two factors have remained constant in his career, the blues and the sounds of New Orleans.

Steady Love is her first full-fledged tribute to the music of the Crescent City and for the occasion, she has joined up with an All-Star cast of musicians (including keyboardist/musical director David Torkanowsky, guitarists Shane Theriot, Rick Vito, and Cranston Clements, drummers Kenny Blevins and Shannon Powell, and former Subdudes bassist Johnny Allen) to lay out her brand of Crescent City goodness, which she calls “Bluesiana music.”

Muldaur has always had impeccable taste in songwriters, and this set is no different as she covers classics by Percy Mayfield (a masterful “Please Send Me Someone to Love”), Bobby Charles (“Why are People Like That”), Elvin Bishop (“I’ll Be Glad”) and a pair from Greg Brown (“Blues Go Walking” and the title track). She also does a great job on Sugar Pie DeSanto’s “Soulful Dress."

Muldaur also mixes in several gospel tunes, including Stephen Bruton’s “Walk By Faith,” Eric Bibb’s “Don’t Ever Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down,” the traditional “I Done Made Up My Mind” (with harmony vocals from daughter Jenni), “As An Eagle Stirreth In Her Nest,” and the stunning closer, “I Am Not Alone,” which was written by Vito, who adds some sweet slide guitar.

Muldaur sounds fantastic. Her vocals have grown richer and huskier over the years, and it suits this material perfectly. Steady Love is the kind of disc that will appeal not just to blues fans, but to music fans in general. It ranks high among Muldaur’s best releases.

--- Graham Clarke


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