RnR Magazine, United Kingdom. July/August 2019


**** 4 Stars

“Love Songs” (ROPEADOPE/GAUVA) www

“The vastly experienced and highly respected New Orleans drummer and singer Shannon Powell and Florida-born guitarist Darren Hoffman combine to make a seemingly unlikely blues duo, one that combines the traditional and the new. Shannon is one of the Crescent City's top drummers and as he shows right from the off with the sou ful blues of That Was That', he certainly can sing. The following track, an instrumental called 'Cabrito', gives Darren the chance to show off his spiky, modern blues licks. Topsy Chapman & Solid Harmony provide supporting vocals on several tracks — not 'backing vocals', please note; they are as integral part of the songs — and sundry other instruments come into play to good effect. Hoffman's dreamy ballad 'It Hurts' is the only non-blues (or related) track, but there is more than enough to satisfy the blues lovers. Try the original 'So Alone' with stunning guitar work, and covers from Louis Jordan and Fats Domino plus the traditional 'St. James Infirmary Blues'; for the blues-rockers, there's Jimi Hendrix's 'Jam 292 (aka Jelly 292)'. Love Songs is a modern set firmly rooted in the blues but which also succeeds in clearly transcending the genre.“

  • Norman Darwen

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