Blues on the menu

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If you know about Thornetta, then, well, you know. Right? There really isn’t much else that can be said about her voice that your ears won’t tell you. Although capable of singing in a fairly wide variety of musical styles, there’s no doubting that the blues (and its close musical cousin, gospel) is where Thornetta’s voice is most at home and most able to demonstrate her full range of musical emotions, colors and tones.

Recorded live at the Music Menu in Greektown — which currently serves as Thornetta’s musical home — this CD gives the uninitiated listener a good idea of what all the fuss is about. Although it’s hard to imagine that there are any blues lovers left in the Detroit area who don’t already know and haven’t already heard, it’s still good for this live performance to be on record as proof that she is one of Detroit’s finest vocalists.

But it wouldn’t be fair to wrap this up without giving the band its propers. In a nutshell, this is a tight and extremely talented crew. Individually and as a unit these cats deliver the kind of thick, funky blues rhythm that best complements Thornetta’s strong, clear, penetrating voice. Both organist Phil Hale and guitarist Brett Lucas could easily cut loose and burn the house down on their own any time they wanted. But their professionalism and maturity shows through in their willingness and ability to rein themselves in where necessary and focus their skills on helping the lady shine, and that’s more than commendable. The drummer, Todd Glass, and bassman Gary Jibilian have the rhythm held down under lock and key.

If you haven’t heard, then hear this.

Keith A. Owens is a Detroit-based freelance writer and musician. E-mail him at letters@metrotimes.com.

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