START WHAT YOU FINISHED
When a woman can sing the blues, and when they can sing the blues well, it's a treat.
So welcome to the world of the band Bluestone, a band made memorable by the voice of female lead Angie Russell.
From the opening cut Need It, it is Russell's voice which pulls you into the music of this Ottawa rock/blues band – they are at their overall best the more bluesy they go, because it suits Russell so well.
Adding to the interest in Bluestone is the fact they come at you with a double barrel vocal attack with Ben Russell stepping up to the microphone on a few of the cuts, such ass Domino, to give the songs a male lead voice. While his voice might not be as memorable as Angie's, it does provide an interesting counterpoint to the material, and allows the listener two vocal takes on the songs.
Both Russells also play guitar, and Bluestone is rounded out with Mike Stoodley on bass, and Sandy Hunter on drums, both adding vocal support as well.
Having all four members chiming in on the material vocally gives the songs here a rich, full sound, only achievable through varied vocal harmonization.
As a unit Bluestone is very solid, but Angie is the breakout element that will take this band to new levels. She can flat out wail the blues on cuts such as Find Me. She just lets her voice go, and it wraps around you, and you succumb to her wiles willingly. On Music With You, you are totally under this siren's call.
She has a wailing vocal style, dare I say it, reminiscent of Janis Joplin. Yes, that's rather heady praise, but she earns it with her work on Start What You Finished.
When you add in the change of pace of having a capable male lead in the fold, Bluestone becomes something of a rarity in music, a two-punch threat.
Musically, Bluestone clearly has a blues heart pumping the vibe through their songs, but there is enough of an alternative rock edge to broaden the music to attract a wider audience.
Check out Bluestone live at Rayzr's Pub Sept. 13, or go to their website at www.bluestoneband.ca
-- CALVIN DANIELS
-- Review first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper Sept. 3, 2008 - Yorkton, SK. Canada