Sheryl Warner growls and wails, and the music goes right there with her; Warner's latest CD with her band the Southside Homewreckers, Ride the Blinds, brings together 13 evocative perspectives on the blues from the first half of the 20th century as interpreted by Warner's powerful voice. Guitarist Gregg Kimball and harmonica player Rick Manson, both of whom are quite fluent in the blues vocabulary, round out the authentic sound.
Warner and Kimball have played together for a dozen years, with Manson adding his mouth harp to the mix for 10 of them. This CD shows them at their live-performance best, as it was recorded before an audience at the "Stretchin' at the Barksdale" music series on June 23, 2007. "The blues was born as a dance and public music," Kimball says. "That's really what it's about."
Warner concurs, and adds that the studio process can crimp spontaneity. "Because you can stop at any point and do it again, or start over again, and the tendency is to say it's not good enough," she says. "When you're doing it in front of people, you have to go with it."
Ride the Blinds travels from the invitational "Take a Little Walk With Me" to the jaunty "Candyman" before finishing with the plaintive, late-day shadows tune, "When the Sun Goes Down (in the Evening)."
Kimball suggests that younger musicians and audiences, desiring music that is genuine and enjoyable and not played all the time, have rediscovered the blues and its progeny. These are songs about poverty, drinking, fighting and sex.
You can watch the Homewreckers go to it on April 12, at 1 p.m., during the opening of the Smithsonian's traveling "New Harmonies" exhibition at the Appomattox Regional Library, 254 E. Cawson St., in Hopewell. For more information, visit sherylwarner.com .