Saturday, March 2, 2013

Right Here Right Now reviewed by Rick Davis

Right Here Right Now
Sunny Crownover
Blue Dutchess Records
11 Tracks

Sunny Crownover's first experience singing the blues started in Dallas-Fort Worth area working in clubs and coffeehouses. After moving to Austin in high school, she sang with Austin's own Van Wilks, a blues-rock native, as well as other blues and R&B groups in Austin. After moving to New England, she began singing with the Boston blues group 2120 South Michigan Avenue. Duke Robillard first heard her voice at a Harvard University show where he was a guest and decided she was the singer he was looking for to complete the projects that he titled Introducing Sunny and Her Joy Boys, Stomp! The Blues Tonight, and Tales from the Tiki Lounge. He was impressed with her ability to phrase like Etta James and still maintain her own unique voice quality. Sunny has a certain southern charm in her voice like many of Texas blues singers of the '70s and '80s.
Sunny Crownover and Duke Robillard's latest project Right Here, Right Now is the 4th release that she has been involved with since 2009. This cast of all-stars includes Sunny on vocals, Duke Robillard on guitar, Bruce Bears on keyboards, Brad Hallen on bass, Mark Teixeira on drums, and a horn section that includes Doug Woolverton on trumpet, Mike Tucker on tenor sax, Doug James on baritone sax, and Billy Novick on clarinet. Also included in this line-up, is guest musician Sugar Ray Norcia on harmonica. Once again Duke Robillard produced the album, which is really Sunny's debut CD as a roots blues singer. Right Here, Right Now is a collection of all original material with Sunny taking her musical career to the next level.

Her distinctive vocals and the strong horn section are superb on the opening tune "Oh Yes I Will." Sunny's smooth, sultry, southern style vocals, along with Robillard's jazz guitar leads, make "One Woman Man" one of the album's best tunes. "Love Me Right" is the first traditional blues number to engage the expertise of Sugar Ray Norcia on harmonica. The title track "Right Here, Right Now" adds a little country flavor showing the versatility of Sunny's voice. The slow, steady blues tune "Roll Me Daddy" brings back Sugar Ray on harp. "Cook In Your Kitchen" is a boogie-woogie piano blues tune with strong guitar leads from Duke. "Warned" and "I Might Just Change My Mind" once again involves the full horn section blended with powerful vocals and Robillard's rich guitar licks. "Hi-Heels and Home Cookin'" travels south for a little Dixieland jazz. "Trust Your Lover" blends some boogie-woogie piano and slide guitar for the Elmore James fans. They conclude on the soulful side with the song "Can't Let Go."

Right Here, Right Now is a culmination of the success that Sunny Crownover and Duke Robillard have shared on the first three projects. Hopefully, it is just a sample of what's to come in the future.

Reviewed by Rick Davis

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