2021 – Ruf Records
Release Date – Jan. 27, 2021
By Phillip Smith; Jan. 23, 2021
I was first introduced to the talents of Belgian-born blues artist Ghalia Volt with the 2018 release of Let the Demons Out by Ghalia & Mama’s Boys. For that recording, which I absolutely loved, Ghalia teamed up with New Orleans bluesman Johnny Mastro and Mama’s Boys. This past March she started a new one-woman philosophy and took it Mississippi to test drive the new arrangement. According to Ghalia, “I started playing on a real drum set, playing a kick, snare, and hi-hat plus a tambourine with my two feet, while playing slide/guitar and singing at the same time.” So for this latest album One Woman Band she flies solo, recording all the instruments live at once and ditching the popular multi-track route. The recording which took place at Royal Sound Studios in Memphis, Tennessee includes guest appearances from Dean Zucchero on bass, and Monster Mike Welch on guitar.
Ghalia delivers “Last Minute Packer” with pure raw gusto and powerful, yet delicate vocals which sound fantastic. Her slide guitar prowess certainly demands attention on “Espiritu Papago”. Zucchero’s steady thumping bassline solidly holds the fort down, as Ghalia’s vocal and guitar performance reaches a somewhat hypnotic state. “Can’t Escape” chugs along like a locomotive, and is slathered with gobs of swampy slide. It takes me right to the heart of the Mississippi Delta. She keeps that deep blues rolling on breakup song “Reap What You Sew”. It’s such a treat to hear her play. “Bad Apple” is undoubtedly a strong selection too. This original song is absolutely stellar. Ghalia tackles Tampa Red’s “It Hurts Me Too” with feeling and finesse, as she pours herself into the performance.
It’s obvious Ghalia Volt has spent a lot of time in the Mississippi Delta, soaking up as much of its spirit as she possibly can. That’s certainly evident on One Woman Band. Magnificent and timeless, this album is one hundred percent pure blues.