Album Reviews

Buffy Sainte-Marie

Power In The Blood

Artist:     Buffy Sainte-Marie

Album:     Power In The Blood

Label:     True North Records

Release Date:     05/12/2015

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Power is an apt concept for Canadian songstress Buffy Sainte-Marie to immerse herself into, particularly on her first new studio album in seven years.

That’s not to say Buffy’s never been powerful either vocally or physically, but on this release, power resonates everywhere. There’s power in her lyrics, power in her smoky voice and power in her overall sound. This album still retains the same genuine amount of folksiness that defined Buffy musically decades ago, but at the same time it hurtles her into the vast contemporary realm of guitar slingers, electronic acts and AutoTuners.

Once you hear the whooshing guitar strums of the album’s opener– a revamped version of 1964’s “It’s My Way”– you know Buffy means business. Her firebrand personality still burns strong as she conveys her impressive individualism through song, all while paying tribute to her Cree roots.

Unafraid to embrace artists outside her realm, the album’s title track finds Buffy singing over samples provided by London band Alabama 3. Yet it’s her uniquely distinctive wailing vibrato that gives Buffy her own edge, particularly on the blues stomper “Not The Lovin Kind.”

Political tunes on Power In The Blood like “The Uranium War” prove to be most enjoyable. In the same vein as fellow Canadian legend Bruce Cockburn, Buffy conveys her roots sweetly and softly until she knows she has everyone paying full attention. Other album highlights take on more celestial sounding components, including “Orion,” the Moby-esque “Love Charms (Mojo Bijoux)” and the infectious album closer “Carry It On.”

Power In The Blood is a great return to form for an artist who merges the concepts of pride, heritage, politics and emotion splendidly. And it’s the perfect about face from the same woman who helped pen the schmaltzy “Up Where We Belong” back in ‘82.

-Ira Kantor

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