I don’t necessarily seek out my own new blues discoveries, instead, relying more on what others are recommending, generally through social media. And sure enough, recently, pretty much all the people I know as blues fans kept throwing a name out there: Sari Schorr.
Interest already piqued, I grabbed her album, A Force of Nature to make up my own mind. The endorsements are well justified. And the album title even more so because that’s exactly what her voice is. I’ve said it many times but my favourite blues singers are female, I find their voices carry the weight and emotion far better; look no further than Elin Larsson or Beth Hart for proof.
Schorr’s throaty voice across the dozen tracks is rich, powerful and soulful, managing to transport you into another world. The grittiness of her wails alongside her passionate and more tender moments show off her versatile range, hitting notes many should envy. It’s not hard to fathom why she’s the star of the show as you can hear the charisma held in just her voice, Heaven knows what her actual stage presence is like (though I’m told it’s rather mighty). Voices like Schorr’s are a once in a generation find and if the effort found on this album is on all forthcoming releases, her longevity should know no bounds.
Whilst she may have her name on the album, Schorr’s working alongside some great guitarists with her mainstays in the shape of Innes Sibun and Quique Bonal work together flawlessly. Alongside them, you have two guests: the great Walter Trout lending his inimitable tones for “Work No More” and Oli Brown for “Damn The Reason” (my personal favourite on the album), “Oklahoma” and “Kiss Me”. I’m not well-versed in Trout’s material but there’s a reason why he’s a legend and a master of his craft and it’s shown here. Oli Brown taps into his blues roots (he did do a shed-load of it before the mammoth hard rock sounds of RavenEye) and “Damn The Reason” is unmistakeably him making himself known, his own guitar work instantly recognisable.
Then there’s the cover of “Black Betty”, you know it; the song Ram Jam once covered is pretty much the definition of a one hit wonder. Finding a balance between Ram Jam’s version and Lead Belly’s, there’s heaviness to it layered in between all the soulful bluesy moments. It’s a brilliant take on an old song and a staple of any rock club night you’ve ever been to.
Debut albums should be a statement and Sari Schorr is intent on making one for blues fans everywhere to sit up and notice her. Effortlessly, she’s managed to do exactly that and with the help of a few recognisable names, it only further shows the faith people have in her.