Blues In Britain
Colleen Rennison is an actress and singer who is blessed with an achingly soulful voice that is exploited shamelessly on this superb set of covers of songs that inspired her during her childhood.
To help her on this crusade – a word I choose deliberately because of the inherent gospel inflections that permeate her voice – she is joined by guitar-meister Steve Dawson, Darryl Havers, Jim Hoke and The McCrary Sisters, amongst others, all of whom have the talent and experience to complement her voice to perfection.
Choosing highlights from this set is difficult as each number is a jewel in it’s own right so I will attempt to give you a flavour of what is on offer and apologise to Rennison for those I have omitted.
I particularly enjoyed the Old Timey feel of ‘White Freightliner’ where the natural “catch” in Rennison’s vocals gives the number a seal of authenticity – ‘Whiskey, Whiskey’ with it’s wistful vocals, haunting slide and baleful horns instils a deep sense of melancholy in the listener – there are traces of Dixie in the deeply soulful ‘Stage Fright’ where Rennison’s anguished vocals and baying horns stand in contrast to Dawson’s Hank Marvin inspired guitar – whilst the McCrary Twins’ superb gospel-inflected backing vocals enhance the soulfulness of Rennison’s vocals on the country soul of ‘Oleander’.
Add in the Western Swing of ‘The Fool Is The Last One To Know’ and the wistful “Hillbilly-Soul” of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Why Don’t You Try’, and you have asset that demands attention.