By Rachel Merriman
True to classic blues style, Carolyn Wonderland elegantly toes the line between ragged and smooth on her newest album, Peace Meal. Wonderland pays tribute to her rock and blues influences, covering Janis Joplin’s lesser-known What Good Can Drinkin’ Do, and Robert Johnson’s I Believe I’ll Dust My Broom. These masterful renditions of classic songs appear as interludes between her original compositions, the real treasures of the 12-track album. St. Marks, referred to by Wonderland as her “first real love song,” is soulful and sweet, and the light-hearted last track Shine On will leave you swaying with a smile on your face. Catch Wonderland at Antone’s on March 10.
After releasing her first album Take it to the Sky in 2009 to much acclaim, Kat Edmonson self-releases her second album, Way Down Low, on April 10. While Take it to the Sky consists of her nostalgic renditions of beloved jazz classics, Way Down Low is Edmonson’s songwriting debut. In addition to songwriting, she also co-produced the album, recording with Grammy Award-winning producer and engineer Al Schmitt (Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra) and producer and bassist Danton Boller. Look for her at the Paramount Theatre on April 13.
Winner of Best Contemporary Blues Female Artist at the Blues Music Awards in 2010, Ruthie Foster has a special talent for weaving elements of folk, soul and gospel together. She put down her guitar to focus solely on vocals on Let it Burn, an executive decision that ultimately paid off; Foster’s phenomenal cover of June Carter’s Ring of Fire is truly transformative, with a slower delivery than the original that is gentle, not methodical. While it is clear she has a knack for breathing new life in to old songs, her own songwriting abilities shine in the gospel original Lord Remember Me, accompanied by The Blind Boys of Alabama. Catch her next show April 5 at The Long Center for the Performing Arts.