Sunday, July 22, 2007

Review - DEBRA LYN NEUFELD -- Bootleg

Debra Lyn Neufeld
String Breakin Records
Every once in a while, especially in the genre of the blues, you find a voice which doesn't quite match the material. I would put Debra Lyn Neufeld in that category.
Neufeld has a nice, husky voice, and frankly it should be bang on for blues. This gal's voice has the feel of the blues imprinted in every note.
However, this CD isn't as satisfying as it should be given Neufeld's voice. Lyrically, this CD, which has a somewhat Cajun blues feel, especially apparent on a cut such as Bone Appetite, doesn't generally grab me as a listener.
I've always thought blues lyrics were at least as important to the music, as the voice and the musicianship, truly a one-third, one-third-one-third partnership. Now to Neufeld's credit she has penned all 11 songs on the CD, although in this case I'd like to hear her on a couple of well-chosen covers to see if the result is better.
There are songs here which work well, such as Love Junkie, Sugar In Me, and Save This Heart, but generally they miss the bull's eye a bit for me. Sweet Della Jones too may be as good as it gets for Neufeld.
Neufeld, who hails from Winnipeg, tries hard to get into the Voodoo, Bayou blues vein, and on occasion she catches the 'gator by the tail, Like Save This Heart, but on a few too many cuts the 'gator gets away.
I do like the harmonica work of Gord Kidder on a number of cuts, in particular Sweet Pie Fruit (Deep Dish), a song where Neufeld most completely captures the old south blues feel.
Now I do imagine in person Neufeld would still be awesome, since over the course of a full range of sets she's likely to mix in some gravely covers and that could well be the difference in smoothing out the overall feel. I feel even this CD would have scored higher with two, or three self-penned cuts replaced with cuts selected which fit this gal's really appealing voice.
This gal is still worth checking out and maybe one day she'll play a gig here and we can see this gal in person. I've got a feeling she would put on a good show with her guitar and a voice that you really do want to love.

-- - Reviews first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper July 18, 2007 - Yorkton, SK. Canada

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