26 September 2023

Blues in My Blood

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Reviewed by Ian Phillips.

By Tiffany Pollack & Eric Johanson, Nola Blue Records 2022.

These two musicians are impressive exponents of the blues individually, but combined they are extra special.

They are both recognised powerhouses in the Louisiana blues scene, Tiffany Pollack being an established jazz and blues singer of some renown and Eric Johanson as a rising blues singer and blues/rock guitarist.

They have teamed up for the first time on this wonderful debut album.

Their coming together is an interesting story; when Tiffany reunited with her biological family about a decade ago she found out that Eric was her cousin.

Pollack was adopted at birth and began working professionally as a singer while a teenager.

She sang back-up with many well-known jazz and blues outfits in Louisiana, even including a metal band, while she raised a family and studied mortuary and opened her own business.

She walked away from the funeral industry a few years ago and took up singing full-time.

Meanwhile Eric had been playing guitar in bands from 15 years of age.

He moved to New Zealand for a while after being wiped out by hurricane Katrina but returned to the states in 2010 where he became a gun guitarist for hire.

Eventually the lobbying of their respective mothers brought the two of them together and the chemistry happened.

They have written seven of the eleven tracks on the disc and they cover all aspects of the blues from delta, gospel, electric blues, bottleneck and Chicago blues and even a cover of the Rolling Stones song No Expectations.

Tiffany and Eric are highly skilled and they’ve surrounded themselves with some impressive sidekicks with producer Jack Miele (who also plays acoustic bass, bass guitar and percussion) proving to have a deft hand at the controls.

I was really impressed with the covers on this disc because they were sometimes of songs that you don’t usually associate with the blues.

Joni Mitchell’s River is given a lovely blues infusion and they even do an interesting take on folk legend Pete Seeger’s massive world-wide hit If I had a Hammer.

Tiffany also manages to sound like Nina Simone on their take of her song Do I Move You.

All in all, this is an impressive debut album from two experienced performers for whom the time has come to star in the limelight.

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