I suspect that blues singer songwriter Rebecca Downes is not traditional material for readers of TINAS. She sits squarely as part of the growing tsunami of modern blues singers who are taking traditional song structures and melodies and bringing a fresh perspective to a familiar genre.
This self-published debut album is nicely put together with a range of influences across the musical spectrum: blues obviously dominates but equally you can tell that Ms Downes has a liking for, and knowledge of, jazz, soul and rock, albeit rock from the middle of the proverbial road.
Her publicists want to tell you how shes going to be the next Tina Turner; actually that’s lazy PR, doing both Ms Turner and Ms Downes something of a disservice. Ms Downes is an accomplished singer with a richness and nuance to her voice so sticking her in a pigeon hole might be an easy conceit but it doesn’t make it a right one.
Downes has something of a following already and the lead song from this album, ‘Basement of my Heart’ has built up a solid word of mouth. It’s a well constructed and diverting song. Elsewhere on the record, ‘When I’m Bad’ suggests that she has all of the records that Eric Clapton made in the 1980s; it’s upbeat and jaunty and wouldn’t sound out of place on any of Clapton‘s “Journeyman” era records. ‘Fever in the Night’ is a relaxed affair, occasionally reminiscent of Santana and ideal listening for a late night cocktail on your summer holiday.
The rest of the record is polished and accomplished and that, I’m afraid, is part of my problem with the record. It’s unfailingly polite and, whilst it’s really well put together, it doesn’t deliver the visceral thrill or excitement that I want from my music. The record is nice enough as these things go but, equally, nice enough isn’t, well, enough really.