DANA FUCHS—Songs from the Road

Album: Songs From the Road

Artist: Dana Fuchs

Label: Ruf

Release Date: November 11, 2014

Dana Fuchs 11-11

www.ruffrecords.de

BY TOM CALLAHAN

Songs from the Road captures a live performance that illustrates how Dana Fuchs is developing into one of the greatest female singer songwriters working in the world today. As her longtime fans know, Fuchs is a force of nature onstage, with a powerful voice reminiscent of Janis Joplin, long flowing blonde curls that she whipsaws the stage with and the red hot intensity she brings to create a rock and roll revival. She is worth listening to and seeing for those reasons alone

But Ruf made a wise choice to select songs from her last two albums Love to Beg and Bliss Avenue to feature on this album because they show her maturation as a songwriter who can cross genres and still deliver an emotional wallop. With her ability and looks, comparisons to Joplin would be inevitable, even if Fuchs did not portray the rock idol for a year in an Off Broadway play. But her music is not purely the blues. She covers the spectrum from hard rock to Motown tinged R&B to Otis Redding soul to gospel to country.

That is illustrated on Songs from the Road. Fourteen of the 16 tunes are written by Fuchs and her songwriting partner and guitarist, Jon Diamond. They range from a fast rocker like “How Did Things Get This Way” to country, even including slide guitar, on “Tell Me I’m Not Drinking.”

The early bluesmen and blues women did not know they were doing the blues. They did songs true to their lives and in the process created art. That is not easy to do, but Fuchs has the ability to do it. Whether writing about the death of her brother in her arms in the slow and gentle, “Sad Salvation” to the personal demons that stalk us all and sometimes win, Fuchs infuses her songs and writing with deep meaning. She writes, “nightmares never come but I wake up dead again” on “Rodents in the Attic” or “nobody’s here—it’s 4AM. I’m wondering if you are dead or out with a friend” on the sad and poignant “Vagabond Wind.”

Yes, Fuchs is beautiful. Yes she can let out a piercing wail like Janis at her height. But she is a true artist in her own right getting stronger and stronger with each release. Songs from the Road ends with two songs she did not write. “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” was a live staple of Otis Redding. It takes balls to do Otis on stage, but Fuchs nails it. And then the woman who played Sadie in the movie based on Beatles’ songs—“Across the Universe”—reprises the song she sang in the movie, “Don’t Let Me Down.”

And if you want to give yourself a treat watch the versions of “Helter Skelter” and “Gimme Shelter” done by Fuchs on YouTube from several years back. They might be the best adaptations of those songs ever done. And get Songs from the Road to hear an already great artist hitting her stride.

DOWNLOAD: “How Did Things Get This Way” “Rodents in the Attic” “Long Long Game”

 

 

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