It’s always been exciting to find a “new” artist, and then pass along that find so that others can share the excitement.
That’s what I’m doing here today, although bluesy, soulful Tia Carroll is definitely not a new artist. She’s just been singing her pipes off, hidden away in the San Francisco Bay Area for decades.
And now, thanks to the talented and musically prescient folks at California’s rootsy non-profit record label, Little Village Foundation, you can hear Carroll’s first blues album produced here in the U.S. of A., “You Gotta Have It” (June 1).
“Produced” is probably the wrong word to describe the magic worked by Little Village founder Jim Pugh, with his unerring piano and organ chops, plus his musical sensibilities. Also lending a fretful hand is the multi-talented guitarist and producer, Christoffer “Kid” Andersen.
But the focus should be the powerful and passionate music of Tia Carroll. She’s tender (“I Need Someone”), she’s tough (“Don’t Put Your Hands On Me,” a clever little R&B ditty by Rick Estrin, written for KoKo Taylor), she scorches and torches with the best (“Mama Told Me”), she’s hard-driving (“Ready to Love Again” by Kid and his also multi-talented spouse Lisa Andersen).
The Sons of Soul Revivers layer some soulful gospel flavor into the album, but especially with the Carroll’s take on the Staples Singers’ great “Why Am I Treated So Bad?” And then there’s Carroll’s loving caress of the soul-drenched lyrics of Z.Z. Hill’s “I Need Someone.” The magic just won’t stop.
Not content with classy covers, Carroll has added three of her own powerful tunes: “Leaving Again,” “Even When I’m Not Alone” and and her inspirational “Move On,” with Brazilian bluesman Igor Prado.
It’s clear from this lovingly created album that Ms. Carroll has mastered her soulful craft. And it’s way past time for her music to be shared on a larger stage. Treat yourself to some soul music that’s really soul music. You’ve gotta have it.
Here’s a thoughtful interview with Tia Carroll by Greek blues writer Michael Limnios. (Yes, you read that right — Greek blues writer. He’s prolific and informative.
Here’s a version of one of the album’s songs, “Even When I’m Not Alone.”
1. Ain’t Nobody Worryin’
2. Even When I’m Not Alone
3. Our Last Time
4. Don’t Put Your Hands On Me
5. Never Let Me Go
6. Leaving Again
7. Mama Told Me
8. Ready To Love Again
9. I Need Someone
10. Move On
11. Why Am I Treated So Bad
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Alex M. BUSTILLO