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"Clarksdale Shuffle is light and easy and Crosse's vocals are sweet as mama's home made pie. Her bass playing is aggressive and her smile is never ending. This is a artist to keep an eye on." - Bman’s Blues Report
GROOVING AT THE CROSSE ROADS
RUF RECORDS 1217
Vocalist/bassist Heather Crosse originally hails from Louisiana, but she adopted Clarksdale, MS as her musical hometown. She was a part of the Ruf Records 2015 “Girls With Guitars” caravan tour, but the blues-rock slant of that tour wasn’t the direction she wanted to go. Heather listened to a lot of Motown and Etta James and Big Mama Thornton growing up, thus preferring her blues with a shot of soul. That’s the formula for her latest Ruf release, “Grooving At The Crosse Roads,” featuring five originals and a good mix of covers that pay tribute to her heroes.
This set was produced by the iconic Jim Gaines, and Heather used her regular band, known as Heavy Suga And The SweeTones, to get a good feel for the songs. We have Lee Williams on drums, Mark Yacavone on keys, and Dan Smith on guitars.
She leads off with a Don Robey-penned shuffle, “My Man Called Me This Morning,” then goes into her autobiography with “Why Does A Woman Need A Bass Guitar?” The answers, at least for Heather, are simple–“It don’t talk back, it don’t give me no flak, and “is still here after all the men are gone!” She gives a shout-out to classic soul with a sweet take on Gwen McCrae’s “Rockin Chair,” and with one of her originals, “Hurryin Up To Relax,” with excellent organ from Mark.
She tackles love and relationships and “no longer bein’ a fool for you” with Etta’s “Damn Your Eyes,” then falls hard for that “Bad Boy Kiss, with a little tenderness” on this funky groove. The power of music to heal us when we are down is spelled out in “Steppin’ Up Strong,” and she closes the set with a rhumba romp, the ultimate kiss-off song, “Daddy, You Don’t Move Me No More!”
We had two favorites, too, perhaps the most “straight blues” cuts herein. Dan Smith’s slide wails the blues as Heather sings of “my mentors, now long gone,” those who “taught my soul to sing,” and she’s “Walkin’ In Their Shoes.” And, all the music that is part of her adopted hometown is in the rockin’ “Clarksdale Shuffle.”
“Grooving At The Crosse Roads” is the culmination of Heather Crosse’s blues journey that has taken her from the deep South of Louisiana to, literally, Ground Zero of the blues. This one is a blast from start to finish! Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.
"Heather Crosse’s music has an edge steeped in tradition that sets her apart from many of her lead guitar playing contemporaries bent on fusing their blues with lashings of rock." - Al Hensley, CD Review, blues/R&B
"She is a woman who can play songs as if the whole world should know them and revel in their excellent attitude."- Ian D. Hall, Liverpool Sound and Vison
Groovin' At The Croose Roads Album Reviews
GROOVIN’ AT THE CROSSE ROADS
Although born in Louisiana this bass playing, band leading lady decided to live, play and create her music in Clarksdale, Mississippi, where the heart of the music that is in her heart still healthily beats today. Since being a resident there she has worked with such artists as; Bob Margolin, Jody Williams and James Super Chikan Johnson, She also regularly performs with her own band under the moniker Heavy Suga And The Sweetones at the Ground Zero blues club, that is championed and part owned by actor Morgan Freeman. Although, Heather toured Europe with the Girls With Guitars Blues Caravan earlier in the year, Her own particular style is a bold, blasting and swaggering old fashioned blues and soul approach, as was so wonderfully delivered by such legends as Big Mama Thornton and Etta James. In fact her statement of intent is emphatically delivered on the Big Mama Thornton opener, My Man Called Me, her raw, soulfully enticing raucous roaring grabs you from the start, her band who are; Dan Smith; guitar, Mark Yacovone; keyboards and Lee Williams on drums lock into the earthy and swinging early fifties groove with such ease and compelling attractiveness that you are toetappin’ from the very start, Heathers interpretation of another Big Mama Thornton number You Don’t Move Me No More is just as captivating, for her sweet, growling, rolling vocals are a perfect match for the rolling and tumbling interlaced guitar and piano. On Why Does A Woman Need A Bass Guitar, Heather captivates as she slow burningly answers all your questions on the subject. Clarksdale Shuffle, is just that, a Friday night juke joint beer swiggin’, hip swingin’ relaxer. Gwen McCrae’s Rockin’ Chair, is wonderfully very rocking. Recommended! - Alan Pearce, Blues Matters Magazine UK
Girls With Guitars Review in UK:
"It's always a pleasure to enjoy a singing bass player and Heather Crosse's 'She May Have You, But I Got Yo Heart' burns with authentic soul intensity whilst 'Shades Of Love' alternates delightfully between Latinate bounce and Chicago shuffle." - David Innes, Blues Reviews, R2 Magazine
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Made the Blues Album Charts Top 50 in Dec. 2015 (#28) & Jan. 2016...
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