Blues Bytes


April 2017

Thornetta Davis
Honest Woman
Sweet Mama Music

Thornetta Davis

Recognized as Detroit’s Queen of the Blues, Thornetta Davis has been a part of the Motor City scene since the late ’80s, when she was a back-up singer for Lamont Zodiac and The Love Signs, later serving as lead singer in the reformed band, The Chisel Brothers Featuring Thornetta Davis. She has worked with Bob Seger, Kid Rock, Alberta Adams, and as a solo artist, she’s recorded a couple of solo albums since the mid ’90s. However, her latest release, Honest Woman (Sweet Mama Music), is certainly her finest hour to date.

Davis’ new release was 20 years in the making, and shows her to be as gifted in the songwriting department as she is in the vocal department. She wrote 11 of the 12 tracks, the opening track was penned by Davis’ sister, Felicia, who praises her sister’s talents as a great lead-in. There’s nothing really earth-shattering in the lyrical content or anything like that, but the songs are all well-crafted and cover familiar blues subject group in interesting and entertaining ways.

The set list touches on a number of genres with blues, of course, being the primary focus. Davis duets with Fabulous T-Bird Kim Wilson on the anthemic “I Gotta Sang The Blues,” gets sassy on the blues rocker “That Don’t Appease Me,” and shines on the slow burners “Shadow, “I’d Rather Be Alone,” and “Can We Do It Again.” However, Davis also shows her diversity as a performer on songs like the Crescent City-styled “I Need A Whole Lotta Lovin’ To Satisfy Me,”and the swinging “Get Up And Dance Your Blues Away.”

The title track is an effective blend of blues and soul, one of several tracks that feature a fantastic horn section, and “Sister Friends Indeed” has a rural Delta boogie groove as Davis sings the praises of sisterhood. “I Believe” is a standout as well, blending soul and country with a gospel flair thrown in for good measure. Speaking of gospel, Davis pulls out all the stops on an inspired pair of gospel tunes. The funky “Set Me Free,” which features Davis backed by stellar backing vocals and the Larry McCray Band might just raise the roof a few inches on your dwelling, and the rousing closer, “Feels Like Religion,” might just blow it completely off.

One listen to Honest Woman and blues fans may feel that Thornetta Davis may be setting her sights too low with being the Queen of Detroit Blues. This blues diva is definitely in contention for higher honors.

--- Graham Clarke



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