by Susan Varnes-Newland
(Guest blogger from Grieve The Astronaut) ~ ~
(new album by SISTER MERCY)
Last week, I was listening to Seattle Wave Radio while cooking dinner. It was pretty much just background music, UNTIL this powerful woman’s voice broke through into my thoughts. A beautiful mix of R&B, Blues and Gospel. Next thing you know, my hands were up and I was ‘Goin’ To Church’ in my kitchen. As soon as the song was over, I ran over and grabbed my phone to see WHO WAS THIS?!
It was SISTER MERCY. So, when Seattle Wave Radio asked me to write a review of their latest album, I said Hands up, Feet stomping YES!
Sister Mercy ~ WebPage
Sister Mercy ~ Facebook
Sister Mercy is a high energy R&B Blues Band, hailing from Portland, OR. Leading the way with her silky, alluring voice is April Brown. Her musical journey began in church, which is where all great R&B artists begin their relationships with music. That really shines through on April’s vocals. You not only hear her voice, you feel it. And after reading about her history with music, I’m so excited to see everything coming together. She has a beautiful gift to share, and now has the perfect band to compliment her outstanding voice. Roger Espinor on drums, who also writes most of the original music for Sister Mercy. Scott Garcia on lead guitar, with an incredible 35-year history. I definitely hear the influences of Carlos Santana and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Debby Espinor on keyboards, bringing in the jazz and blues influence. And John Webb, keeping the groove going on the bass. Just an excellent mix of musicians.
On July 2nd, Sister Mercy released their latest album, “Diamonds”. 10 delicious, soul fulfilling songs, that each tell their own story. Some a little gospel, some a little R&B and all with this great blues backing on the guitar and keyboard. Last year, I saw Joe Bonamassa perform live for the first time, at the Moore Theater in Seattle. He made me totally fall in love with the Blues/R&B combo. Sister Mercy totally nailed it by grabbing onto that soulful vibe. You know the vibe, where your head just starts rolling in circles with the rhythm of the music. That guitar whaling out the story of the blues. Your lips pursing and going hmm, hmm, hmm.
When I’m given a song to review, I really take my time listening to it. A whole album? “Diamonds” has been rolling for over 3 hours straight, and I keep finding something new to love about it. That’s because they include such a variety of musical influences. They bring you up on your feet with your hands above your head. Down in your seat, rolling your head in a slow, rhythmic circle. And everything in-between. All exceptionally well done.
My ‘day job’? I’m a Seattle based flight attendant and fly all over listening to music. I absolutely love how a band out of Portland, OR has managed to grab onto, understand and embrace this genre of music born out of the Delta Blues South, and the Buddy Guy Chicago North. It just shows you. Music isn’t about where you physically live, but where your soul lives.
Well done, SISTER MERCY, well done. I’m looking forward to swaying to your music at a future show.
SUSAN IN SEATTLE