November 12, 2004

The Morning Call


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The Morning Call, Allentown, PA

November 12, 2004

Go Guide: Get into the Act – Deb Callahan Band

Deb Callahan says she was drawn to the blues because of the “raw, emotional intensity.” And that’s what the Philadelphia based singer delivers in live shows and on her 14 song CD, “If The Blues Had Wings.”

Callahan has a breathy alto that draws easy comparisons to Bonnie Raitt.   She uses it to turn thoughtful lyrics into stirring feelings on songs that blend the blues with rock, country, funk and gospel.   It’s especially expressive on classic blues ballads, such as her “Something Bad”, which is intensified by the heavy guitar licks of Allen James.

Callahan’s songs, which almost always are collaborative are inspired by personal relationships, friends or the people she encounters in her life as a social worker.   Some are funky and sexy, such as the “Coffee Grind.” Other’s are soulful and searching such as “Just another Victim” a lament about the troubled.

The Boston native is the emotional and physical center of a band that includes first rate players with deep musical roots – James and bassist Robberrtto Rickards and drummer Doug Masters.   Shows are a mixture of originals and covers – maybe a fun helping of the Ray Charles call and response “What’d I Say” which had folks dancing where they could last Friday at The Point, the intimate listening room in Philadelphia.

The word is spreading about The Deb Callahan Band.   IT may spread further after November 27, when they play in a Baltimore Blues Society competition for a chance to play at The International Blues Challenge in Memphis.   – Jodi Duckett