Artist: Patty Reese
Album: Let in the Sun
Label: Azalea City
Release Date: 01/27/2017
Patty Reese is the pride of Washington, D.C. and the Mid-Atlantic region. She has won a staggering 17 Washington Area Music Association Awards (WAMMIES) including Album of the Year, Artist of the Year, Songwriter of the Year and Roots Rock Vocalist. Known mostly as a blues artist, as these honors suggest, Reese is a compelling roots singer too. This is evidenced here by her scintillating take on Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright,” one that rivals Susan Tedeschi’s version. And, she tenderly interprets Steve Earle’s “Goodbye” on the closing tune. The previous nine cuts are all originals and prove her mettle as a songwriter. She strums the acoustic guitar backed mostly by a solid quartet of guitar, keys, bass, and drums. Reese co-produced this, her fourth album, with her keyboardist, Tommy Lepson.
This is as uplifting a blues album as you’ll hear. Reese begins with “Is It Too Late for Me?,” a swampy rocker featuring slide guitar from Jonathan Sloane. The Texas shuffle, “Your Love,” follows before we hear the horn-infused, funky “Soul Satisfier.” (Note: There are no horn credits which is an unfortunate omission). She retreats briefly from these high octane tunes to deliver the softer “I Won’t Let You Down.” The title track brings in gospel elements and was recorded live without any overdubs. “Radio Song” brings you back to early Bonnie Raitt and “Awesome Sauce” also carries the party vibe, New Orleans style. Hints of country imbue “I Hear a Lie.”
Reese is a versatile, emotive singer that needs to be heard. She has that uncanny ability to be both a blues shouter and sultry balladeer. As she says, “This collection of songs is an honest representation of who I am, where I come from, and where my heart is. The Blues remains the rock on which I have built every song I’ve ever written. I also love to incorporate songs by artists that inspire me and this time it was Steve Earle and Bob Dylan.” With Reese it’s not about breaking new ground but bringing her astute professionalism to everything she touches.