November 1, 2005



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Bluessource – Knoxville, TN

November 2005

The Blue Pearl   – CD Review

The title says it all. This CD is a gem. Deb Callahan has one of the best “undiscovered” voices in the music business. She is the complete package of a singer/songwriter and musician. Callahan wrote all the lyrics and knows how to address issues of today, issues of the heart and mind, and subjects that are deeply personal to her. Her band is as tight as any recording today and she had the foresight to bring in a little help without going overboard. Nothing is more disappointing than to hear a CD that has a huge horn section, background singers and a whole string section, but when you see the artist live they have a three piece band. You can’t duplicate songs with the same effect as are presented on the disc. Deb does bring in additional musicians, but uses them sparingly and with perfect effect. Her base band, Allen James (guitars), Doug Masters (drums), and Gary Lee (bass), move deafly from one style to another without missing a beat. Blue Pearl Moon is a funky soulful tune that sets the tone for most of the CD. Mixed in are power ballads such as the beautifully written Land of Promise. The funky updated Delta sounds of Livin’ Loud just beg you to get up and dance. Never Fly laments the trials and tribulations of mismatched love. My favorite song is Benny’s Song, beautifully written acoustic ballad about the loss of a love one and the battles of depression that follow. This CD is a marked improvement over the 2002 release If the Blues Had Wings. You can feel the power in Callahan’s voice, but to me it seems like she’s holding back. In my humble opinion I’d like to hear her reach into her guts and let it rip. On occasions she ventures near the edge, but has yet to open up and trust the power and quality she has. She puts me in the mind of Patrice Pike from Sister Seven. All Callahan needs to do is open up and let that gorgeous voice go.   Tim Richards