December 15, 2005

Philadelphia City Paper


No Comments

Philadelphia City Paper Music Picks – Philadelphia, PA

December 15, 2005

Blues – Deb Callahan

It’s not everyday that you meet a social worker who’s singing the blues, at least not literally.  But Deb Callahan, a master’s educated Penn grad, does admit lead something of a double life.  Half of her days are spent counseling troubled youth and women in transition; and the other half are spent belting out blues and soul-funk music with her three member band at clubs from California to the Jersey shore.  “Sometimes clients find out I’m a blues singer and they’re thrown by that” the transplanted Boston native admits.  “It’s like there’s these two different sides.”

Compared from everyone from Bonnie Raitt to Susan Tedeschi, Callahan – who moved to Philadelphia fifteen years ago to work on her M.S.W.  – grew up with a deep love of gospel, blues and soul music.  It ended up the right fit for her fiery, potent vocals.  The music itself captures a lot of pain and a lot of joy.”

Callahan’s just released second album, The Blue Pearl, showcases her no holds barred singing and recent songwriting collaboration with producer Chris Arms.  From the blues/funk of the spirited “Blue Pearl Moon”  to the tongue-in-cheek “Credit Card Blues”, the songs always have a bit of Callahan’s life experiences mixed in: “Blues is the perfect vehicle for me to get my emotions out” Nicole Pensiero