Angela Strehli

Record review

Texas Platters

Angela Strehli

Blue Highway (M.C.)

The brilliance of the blues is often not in well-cut gems, but rather in the rough and rocky lyrics of the songs. Angela Strehli's Blue Highway is a dazzling recording, by turns original and reverent, soulful and sad, and yet likely to get shunted aside in the holiday flood of releases already at market. That's a crying shame, because the longtime local-turned-Bay-area-dweller's genius isn't on the cutting edge. It's her comfortable niche down in the bottom. In her sensual vocal prime, Strehli was a fine songwriter in her own right, displaying a collector's ear for covers. Who else, after all, is tapping Inez Andrews ("Lord, Don't Move the Mountain") and Seventies soul great Ann Peebles ("Slipped Tripped and Fell") as Strehli does here? Opening with a tribute to Antone's on "Austin's Home of the Blues," featuring Marcia Ball and Maria Muldaur, Blue Highway is as much tribute to the singer's unadorned soul as it is paean to influences like clubmate Stevie Ray Vaughan. It also includes a stellar duet with Paul Thorn on Ernie K-Doe's great "Hello My Lover." Just listen to Strehli sing, "I'm gonna make a brand new policy, I'm gonna teach you a lesson in love-ology, uh huh." Call it what you like, but that, honey, is the blues.

***.5

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