It’s generally a pretty safe bet that a new soul album is going to grab my attention. I am a sucker for great soul music – especially when the band is fronted by a female vocalist.
Enter Emma Donavon and The Putbacks, a soul band from – of all places – Australia. The album begins with “Black Woman”, a song that features a guitar riff that sounds a bit like Jimi Hendrix. Then the rest of the band (including the organ and a bass line that will get your backside moving) joins in. Even though the theme of the song is kind of heavy, you can’t help but feel the groove.
It’s hard not to think about Sharon Jones when you hear Emma Donovan’s voice. Donovan’s voice is just as smooth and soulful as Jones’s. Actually, a better comparison may be Irma Thomas – and let’s face it – a comparison to the sweet soul queen of New Orleans is never a bad thing. Donovan has the same kind of soulful voice that accompanies the slow grooves of this band. To put it another way, if you needed a vocalist to provide the soundtrack of your life, Emma Donovan would be a solid choice.
If you like soul music (not the programmed stuff that passes for soul these days), this is definitely an album you should have in your collection. Emma Donovan ranks right up there with Ruby Velle and Hannah Williams when it comes to modern soul vocalists. Dawn will be available on 7 November from Hope Street Records