Just Won't Burn
First Appeared at The Music Box, September 1999, Volume 6, #9
Written by John Metzger
Over the past eighteen months, Susan Tedeschi has made quite a few waves with her second album Just Won't Burn. Since its release in early 1998, the disc has been steadily building momentum, garnering strong support from both radio and the press. Still, it's hard not to be skeptical of someone who has risen to stardom so quickly, especially when comparisons to Bonnie Raitt and Janis Joplin seem to run rampant — even appearing in the album's liner notes. Let's face it, we're talking about an industry that thought it was a good idea to have Melissa Etheridge regularly butchering sets of Joplin's material just about everywhere you turned.
Let me assure you, Tedeschi is the real deal, and this time around, the comparisons to Joplin and Raitt truly are warranted. She approaches songs with the same level of passion, hiding her pain beneath the strength of her voice. Just listen to the way she handles the vocals on Found Someone New, pitting her voice against the eerie ratiug guitar played by Sean Costello.
Tedeschi is certainly a newcomer to the music scene. After graduating from the Berklee College of Music in 1991, where she studied jazz and rock history, she wasn't even sure what style of music she wanted to pursue. After hanging out on the Boston music scene where she played at a variety of open jam sessions, Tedeschi decided the blues was the avenue on which she would stake her claim. She formed her first band in 1993, and released an independent album in 1995.
Despite offers from a variety of record labels, she took her time in making a decision and finally signed with Tone-Cool for whom she recorded Just Won't Burn. The album is a mixture of original and cover selections designed to showcase her powerful vocals. Included in these are a burning rendition of Junior Wells' Little by Little and a touching version of John Prine's Angel from Montgomery. The former features Tedeschi grinding out fiery guitar licks that play perfectly against the guest appearance of harpist Annie Raines. The latter was a rather risky maneuver given that the song is has been a signature tune for Raitt for years, but Tedeschi handles it beautifully.
From start to finish Just Won't Burn is a truly amazing effort that is full of promise for the future, even as it looks to the past. It's easy to scoff at the idea of a 27-year old woman singing the blues with such a perfect delivery, but it has happened before. It's just something you need to hear for yourself to believe.
Just Won't Burn is available from Barnes & Noble.
To order, Click Here!
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 1999 The Music Box