Blues guitarist Debbie Davies at Big Cities Sept. 28

Handy Award winner Debbie Davies is America’s foremost female electric blues guitarist. One of only a few female guitar players with a Fender endorsement, Davies will showcase her second Telarc International release, Blues Blast, live at Big Cities Lounge Friday, Sept. 28.

Davies and Band take the stage at 10 p.m. Tickets are $10. The lounge is at 905 E. State St., Rockford. For more information or tickets, call (815) 965-6026 or go online to

When blues guitarist Debbie Davies’ released All I Found, her June 2005 debut on Telarc, Blues Revue raved: “She pulls out all the stops. She can play it all: seductive, soulful material, down-home delta blues, or humorous tales of life on the road.”

Two summers later, Davies follows up with the release of Blues Blast, a pressure-cooker recording that showcases her seasoned guitar and vocal capabilities and includes guest appearances by three high-profile bluesmen: guitarists Tab Benoit and Coco Montoya, and harpist Charlie Musselwhite.

“Like a master chef’s gourmet meal offering exquisite courses, Debbie has crafted a nine-course wallop of her musical vision and spirit,” said Art Tipaldi, senior writer for Blues Revue and the author of the album’s liner notes. “One listen to Debbie’s tribute [to guitar mentor Albert Collins] with Coco, the opening ‘A.C. Strut,’ proves these kids learned Pop’s lessons.”

And that’s just the beginning. While the spirit of Collins is ever-present in Davies’ guitar attack, the earthy Texas shuffle has become her trademark sound. On Buddy Guy’s classic “My Time After While,” she conjures that fiery Lone Star groove.

Four of the eight remaining tracks are either written or co-written by Davies. Musselwhite ups the ante on Davies’ own “Sittin’ and Cryin” and Musselwhite’s own contribution, “Movin’ and Groovin.” Labelmate Tab Benoit joins Davies to pay homage to two legendary blues masters: John Lee Hooker on “Crawlin’ King Snake” and Howlin’ Wolf on “Howlin’ for My Darlin.”

On the closer, “Sonoma Sunset,” Davies and her three accomplices join together in this minor-key, slow-blues instrumental. The combination of Musselwhite’s harp solo—an exquisite succession of one sonic innovation after another—and input from all three guitarists turn this track into a 10-minute workout.

“With tour schedules being what they are,” says Davies, “it’s nearly impossible to get four blues musicians in the same studio at the same time. So making this record was a rare joy, and a highly satisfying experience. All of us—Tab, Coco, Charlie and myself—are students of the old school, and there’s a sense of history that ties us together. The exchange of ideas that took place in the making of this record had very little to do with talking and everything to do with music.”

Davies has been nominated seven times for W. C. Handy awards and won the Handy Award for Best Contemporary Female Blues Artist in 1997.

from the Sept. 26 – Oct. 2, 2007, issue

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