December 13, 2003

Phoenixville News


No Comments

Phoenixville News, Phoenixville, PADecember 13, 2003

“If The Blues Had Wings”

By Dennis J. Wright, 12/13/2003

Artist makes sometimes-downbeat music lively

PHOENIXVILLE – Singer/songwriter Deb Callahan returned to the Steel City Coffee House Friday evening to an intimate but enthusiastic crowd. Prior to her performance, Callahan reflected upon her debut this past September. “My show in September went really well,” she said. “We had a good night. The room was pretty full and the crowd was very receptive. I play in a lot of rooms that are more rowdy, but it was a real treat playing in a place like Steel City. It is nice to strip it down a little bit.” While growing up in Boston, Callahan said she’s had a passion for music all of her life. “When I was young, I used to sing all of the time,” she said. “It was a dream of mine, but I didn’t know anyone who was doing it so I wasn’t sure if it would happen. However, I had a passion for it. I was always performing in school. It took me a while to embrace it and decide that it is what I wanted to do. I experimented with a variety of musical genres. I sang in a fourpart harmony group, a swing band where we did 50s jazz, and was a lead vocalist in a rock band. That is where I discovered my love for blues – while attending Bowdoin College in Maine.”

Currently residing in Philadelphia, Callahan released her debut CD “If The Blues Had Wings” earlier this year. “I was struggling to find a title for the CD,” she said. “I was singing little bits of songs and found it from an old Memphis song. I liked it because I wanted this CD to have a strong blues feel and totally unlike the notion that the blues are depressing. The blues can be funny, sexy and lively. All of the songs from the CD were written over a three-year period.” Callahan, who was accompanied by two guitar players, Jon Dichter and Allen James, percussionist Doug Masters, and violinist Biff Blumfumgagnge, played several songs from “If The Blues Had Wings,” including “Broken Down Man.”

“I came up with ‘Broken Down Man’ from when I was in a relationship with a person who had a lot of issues,” she said. “All of my songs are a bit autobiographical – but this one felt like the relationship just faded and nothing was happening with it … feeling stuck in it … wishing something would be more of it.”

Her 12-song set also included “Something Bad,” “Burning Bridges,” and “Coffee Grind” from “If The Blues Had Wings.” Callahan also performed several cover songs. While feeling in the holiday spirit, she also performed “Merry Christmas Baby.” Often compared to Bonnie Raitt, Callahan said she takes that as a true compliment. “I hear it so much and that’s great because I love her work,” she said. “I also hear Janis Joplin. I think they are both fantastic. When people don’t know you, they like to compare you with someone familiar. It is all good.” Callahan said in the future, she’d like to broaden her horizons a bit more. “I work with great musicians and I continue growing with the support I receive,” she said. “I’d like to travel a bit more … perhaps play a tour. I think I’m on my path right now.”

Prior to Callahan, Richard Ray Farrell got the evening started with a 15-song, toe-tapping set. His set featured several songs from his latest CD, “Bohemian Life,” including the title track, “Natch’l Man” and “Fine Little Number”, along with cover songs like The Monkees’ “Take A Giant Step” and Procol Harum’s “Whiter Shade Of Pale.”

For more information on Deb Callahan, visit her Web site at For more information on Richard Ray Farrell, visit his Web site at

Leave a Reply