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Popovic, Ana: Ana! Live In Amsterdam (DVD + CD)

I had never heard any of Ana's material prior to receiving this DVD/CD live set on Ruf Records. Despite having read good things about Ana on various websites, I was perhaps just a little leery that such a pretty young thing (29 when this set was recorded) could really "get" the blues, particularly given the rather obvious attempt by Ruf to capitalize on Ana's obvious assets in marketing this project. I needn't have worried. Ana is the real deal, with a lot to offer to the often boring world of modern blues music (particularly that of "Women in the blues").

Ana originally hails from Belgrade but has chosen Holland as home base for her blossoming career. She has garnered much acclaim in Europe for her work on her two CD's, 2001's Hush! and Comfort To The Soul from 2003. She was the first European ever nominated for "Best New Artist" at Memphis' annual W.C. Handy awards in 2003 and was also nominated in the "Best Blues Album" category at the 2004 Jammie Awards in New York City.

This concert was filmed at the Melkweg in Amsterdam January 30th 2005, a superb looking blues venue indeed. Aided by the workmanlike rhythm section of Fabrice Ach (bass), Denis Palatin (drums) and the very talented Dominique Vantomme (keyboards), Ana scorches through 12 tunes ranging from blues ballads through jazz blues excursions to up-tempo blues rock crunchers. Ana's pleasant competent vocals suit the tunes nicely although a bit gruffer delivery might be nice on some of the raunchier rockier tunes. The guitar work is very accomplished indeed covering the gamut of the blues rock spectrum from delicate volume swells to bottleneck to screaming full blown Strat rock blues tone and attack. Highlights include the poignant solo on "Hometown", the excellent lines on the tribute to SRV and Ronnie Earl "Navajo Moon" the slide fest on "Bigtown Playboy", the clean jazzy runs on "Won't Let You Down" and the obvious Vaughisms on both "Longway Home" and "My Man". The only time Ana's tone does not register with me is when there is too much chorus over wah-wah as is the case on the opener "Don't Bear Down On Me".

The DVD production is excellent showcasing great sound and many camera angles throughout. The bonus features include three 12 string acoustic numbers including "Done Somebody Wrong", (Elmore James performed solo outdoors on the canals) that display exactly the gruffer vocal side I wish we heard more of in the concert, as well as a 15 minute interview. This is an excellent package proving that there is indeed room for more than the usual more laid back Bonnie Raitt Susan Tedeschi style of contribution to "Woman in the blues".

Track Listing
1. Intro
2. Don't Bear Down on Me
3. Sittin' on Top of the World
4. Love Me Again
5. Comfort to the Soul
6. Navajo Moon
7. Night by Night
8. Bigtown Playboy
9. Won't Let You Down
10. Jaco
11. Long Way Home
12. My Man/Long Lost Love

Added: April 13th 2006
Reviewer: Mike Blackburn
Related Link: More Information
Hits: 3405
Language: english

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