I Ain’t Playin’
I Ain’t Playin’, the latest release from Texas blues artist Diunna Greenleaf is a must-hear. This three-time Blues Music Award winner, dishes out thirteen wonderful tracks, incorporating blues, soul, funk, and southern gospel. Her amazing vocals are backed by a stellar lineup of musicians which include producer Kid Andersen on guitar, Jerry Jemmott on bass, Jim Pugh on keys, and Derrick “D’mar’ Martin on drums.
The album busts loose on a strong Stax-influenced start with “Never Trust a Man”. A funky bassline, groovy beat, and stellar horn section provide the perfect pocket for Greenleaf’s fiery voice. Steeped in seventies soul, “Running Like the Red Cross” gets down as Pugh deals out a generous dose of swirling keys to accompany the song’s lush melody. “If it Wasn’t for the Blues” is delightfully funky in an Isaac Hayes kind of way. With guest Igor Prado on lead guitar, this is the song I can listen to many times over and enjoy it each and every time. All it takes is five seconds for Jemmott’s infectious bassline riff on “Answer to the Hard Working Woman” to reel me in for an invigorating musical explosion. I love how Martin’s precision beat, Greenleaf’s vocals, and those fabulous horns get increasingly thicker until the final note. The blues sounds so good when Diunna sings “Damned if I Do”, and with accompaniment by Andersen, she sounds even sweeter.
Ain’t Playin’ is such a dynamic album. Everything about it works and it sounds amazing.
By Phillip Smith; May 14, 2022
Original source : phillycheezeblues.blogspot.com
Diunna Greenleaf – I Ain’t Playin’
Little Village Foundation LVF 1045
Despite winning the BMA’s Koko Taylor Award in 2014 and 2017 as traditional female vocalist of the year, it’s been 11 years since Houston-based Diunna Greenleaf has released an album, and one listen to this collection of deep, soulful blues and you’ll agree it’s a long-overdue treat.
A powerful alto with gospel roots who served as a past-president of the Houston Blues Society, Diunna’s backed by the cream of the crop of blues talent here, including producer/guitarist Kid Andersen, Little Village founder/keyboard player Jim Pugh, bassist Jerry Jemmott, drummer Derrick “D’Mar” Martin and guest appearances from Igor Prado, Sax Gordon and a host of others.
If soul-blues is your thing, you’ll enjoy “Never Trust a Man,” the originals “Running Like the Red Cross,” “Answer to the Hard Working Woman,” “Sunny Day Friends” and “Back Door Man” and nine stellar tunes culled from Johnny Copeland, Deitra Farr, Big James Montgomery and – surprisingly – Vince Gill.
DIUNNA GREENLEAF I Ain’t Playin’Little Village
What a voice! Diunna Greenleaf opens her latest album with “Never Trust a Man,” which exhibits all the traits of a veteran blues singer, complete with horns, guitar, bass, drums, and all of the accoutrements that emphasize an “in your face” message with no holds barred. Her big voice resonates like few others as she tells it like it is and makes sure that you understand her.From Houston, Greenleaf comes from a gospel background, and that merely helps to explain her spirit, her ambition, and her love of good music. The blues holds dear to her heart as she interprets four original songs and nine others at this session. The traditional “I Know I’ve Been Changed” reveals her love of the spiritual in blues. Her “Answer to the Hard Working Woman” lets her drive with a beat that the band underscores deftly and her lyrics prove true. Johnny Copeland’s “Let Me Cry” finds her slowing down and oozing the blues with passion. Her honest approach keeps everything in perspective.Greenleaf puts each song into a unique setting and ensures that its message comes across clearly. As she interprets the lyrics from Big James Montgomery’s “If It Wasn’t for the Blues,” she reminds her listening audience that her music heals; and that’s so satisfying! -- Jim Santella
Volume 16, Issue 20 - May 20, 2022
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