“Think of a meld of Bessie Smith, Etta James, Alberta Adams and Amy Winehouse, and you come close to understanding what Davina Sowers is all about...Davina is a real talent who deserves greater exposure – and I have no option but to highly recommend this band.” BLUES IN BRITAIN, Mick Rainsford
“(Davina and The Vagabonds) They dare to be different.Davina zips to near impossible heights in a divine declaration of romance” DOWNBEAT MAGAZINE, Frank John Hadley 2011
“ A combination of blues, Jazz, Dixieland,and Ragtime. Davina and The Vagabonds were the delight of the festival. The public did not feel neglected at all, with a concert packed with humor and memorable solos.” Mood For Blues, Sighisoara Blues Festival, Romania 2011
"Hardest -working Blues woman, but......two things remain consistent at all her shows, though: her throaty but cushiony voice, which has a sort of hardmattress comfort to it that's part Bonnie Raitt, Etta James and a little Amy Winehouse, and her band's rollicking New Orleans flavor, driven home by dueling horn players and a bayou-thick standup bass” CHRIS RIEMENSCHNEIDER, Star Tribune
Davina and the Vagabonds – Black Cloud, Album review
Think of a meld of Bessie Smith, Etta James, Alberta Adams and Amy Winehouse, and you come close to understanding what Davina Sowers is all about.
Sassy and feisty, Davina could be described as the Memphis Minnie of today, except for the fact that she doesn’t play guitar, instead playing piano in a gin-house style that makes a mockery of her classical training on the instrument.
Her music is certainly based in New Orleans incorporating elements of blues, swing, jazz, R&B, soul and gospel – and in the Vagabonds she has a band that have the talent and attitude to reflect her idiosyncratic style. No guitar features in the Vagabonds – just upright bass (Michael Carvale), trombone (Darren Sterud), trumpet (Dan Eikmeier) and drums (Connor Macrae) – a band created for those Crescent City vibes.
All of the tunes are originals – Davina kicking off and ending with “Vagabond Stomp”, a cakewalking slab of goodtime N’Awlins music at it’s finest. The title track is permeated with a dramatic Dixie styling, Davina’s mannered, vaudeville styled vocals underpinned by mournful trombone and piano – “Disappears” is a radio-friendly number with a strong Amy Winehouse feel replete with throaty trombone – “Pushpin” has a classic blues feel, Davina’s sultry vocals teasing out the lyrics whilst the band lay down an intoxicating groove – whilst “River” veers into gospel/soul territory, the horns riffing balefully.
“Lipstick And Chrome” is a vaudeville styled blues imbued with an irresistible swing, Davina’s piano rocking out as the band join in her classic call and response style – “Carry him With You” has a strong spiritual feel enhance by Davina’s gospel piano, guaranteed to convert you to the faith – whilst “Bee Sting” is a melancholy torch song with the horn section moaning dolefully.
Davina is a real talent who deserves greater exposure – and I have no option but to highly recommend this set.
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