Nashville-based, Chicago-born Lauren Anderson picks up the Blues Rock torch from Janis Joplin and keeps that fame burning bright on Love on the Rocks, her stellar, nine-song sophomore record.
The album’s opening track, “Keep On,” with it’s acapella vocal gymnastics is a perfect calling card to what follows highlighting Anderson’s powerfully deep voice; and the next track – the album’s first single “Love on the Rocks” – is cool, smokey Blues that you could easily imagine Joplin belting out while gripping a bottle of Jack (for the record, Anderson opted to have her album sponsored by Guidance Whiskey, not JD). But it’s the song “Just Fucking Begun,” with it’s driving beat and unapologetically defiant lyrics delivered with the perfect blend of snarl and songbird vocals, that proves just how much of a force Anderson will be in the coming years. That song alone is worth the price of the album. The funk heavy “I’m Done” and the slow burn “Stand Still” are just gravy.
It’s been nearly six years since Anderson put out her debut LP, Truly Me, a time when she was working as a music therapist in Kansas. She quit her job to focus on her career as a musician, moved to Nashville, put out a couple of EPs and started to tour. Given this background, the lyrics to “Just Fucking Begun” take on that much more significance: “Is my life over? After age 35? Should I quit now? … I say my life has just fucking begun.”
Despite some pretty solid earlier efforts, Love on the Rocks is Anderson’s most cohesive effort yet a stellar mix of modern Blues and R&B with each track building on the one before it. The record ends on “Your Turn,” one of the album’s softer moments but an opportunity to show Anderson can not only belt but can croon just as well.
Photo credit: Desirae Cope