CD Review – Meena -Try Me
No way is this a debut album. Nobody comes fresh out of the gate singing the blues like this. And she’s Austrian, for cryin’ out loud. But she ain’t no Maria Von Trapp, and this ain’t The Sound of Music. Meena Cryle sounds like Bonnie Raitt stirred up with a smidge of Janis Joplin and a heapin’ handful of Stone the Crows Scottish vocalist Maggie Bell, mixed in with a coupla cups of Susan Tedeschi, then brought to a boil. She’s got plenty of nerve and the vocal chops to back it up. She had the temerity to name the album and lead off with James Brown’s hit that made him a star, “Try Me.” and she knocks the pants right off it. It’s the best broken-hearted soul rendering of that song since Brown fell down on his bloody knees to sell it in the ‘50s. Guitarist Chris Filmore backs her with an array of Kings, Collins, Vaughan and Winter and whatever else he’s found lying around, blues-wise, and soaked up.
She tackles Etta James classic “I’d Rather Go Blind,” and nails it. It ain’t Etta, but it doesn’t try to be. She knows better than try to swing from her tonsils, opting instead to make it work from the heart with plenty of soft, sultry soul that builds to a glorious, bombastic crescendo before ending with a sexy sigh.
Coco Montoya jumps in for some guitar help on “Just As I Am.” It isn’t the traditional hymn of the same name, but it if your church is the blues, this version of the Luther Allison tune will work just fine. Montoya carries on a searing conversation with her with his guitar, as a gospel sounding Shakura S’Aida wails soulfully in the background. It’s a bluesy altar call, as good a come to Jesus moment as you’ll find in this genre.
It turns out that the thirty six year old has released this record overseas a year and a half ago and has another one, Feel Me, released overseas in March as well.
But that in no way diminishes what’s going on here. Get ‘em all, cause you’ll be wearing these babies out while you wait for Meena to come around and knock you down live.
By Grant Britt