Review: Candye Kane – Sister Vagabond (Delta Groove, 2011)
Kane’s first album after beating pancreatic cancer, 2009’s Superhero, was righly built on themes from the fight. This follow-up release extends the recovery, but more by doubling-down on the blues belting career she had before, than by living some sort of hyperaware second chapter. There’s a pleasure in her singing that’s perhaps a step more ferocious than before, expressing George Herbert’s notion that living well is the best revenge, or in this case, the greatest triumph. But the scars she carries – a problematic childhood, early motherhood, less-than-savory jobs and cancer recovery – are those of a winner, the marks carried by anyone who’s lived enough life to really sing the blues. Kane’s nine new original songs are matters of the heart, mostly roughed-up and broken, occasionally recovered. The four covers include a sweet and sexy take on Johnny “Guitar” Watson’s “I Love to Love You” and a moody version of “Sweet Nothin’s” that adds Wanda Jackson’s scorching sass to Brenda Lee’s original precociousness. Laura Chavez’s guitar is given equal voice to Kane’s vocals, motivating the songs with twangy rhythm playing and stinging riffs, and James Harman guests on harmonica for Jack Tempshin and Glen Frey’s previously unrecorded “Everybody’s Gonna Love Somebody Tonight.” Take these tunes for a spin on Whittier, Tweedy or Bellflower, and enjoy the punchy mixes as they roar from the rear speaker of your ’62 Impala.