The history of the blues is rife with culinary metaphors, from "plain old kidney stew" to "my baby’s pudding,’’ so it is not surprising that Carolyn Kelly’s latest CD, Slow Cooking On Hot, should partake of that long-standing tradition. Nor could one find a more apt metaphor to describe this fine platter of blues. Like the best soul food, the songs on this CD are marinated in deep blues feeling, with ample sprinklings of gospel and r&b, then slow cooked with a lifetime of experience.
Carolyn Kelly spent many years away from the music scene in order to raise her family but clearly she never lost touch with her musical recipes. On this, her second CD, backed by Roosevelt Dean and his finely tuned band, she tackles both time-tested and original blues songs with the kind of authentic performance that cannot be manufactured or faked. She sings with genuine emotion but never indulges in hysterionics, and her restraint makes the lyrics all the more moving.
This truly is the musical equivalent of home cooking-food for family and friends, made with love and care, not some flash frozen fast food meant to satiate the ‘drive-through’ masses. One won’t find any microwaveable ‘heat and serve’ entrees here. These are songs to savor, from the gritty shuffling title track to the gospel soaked finale. So grab a plate and settle down to a musical feast you won’t soon forget. But be forewarned, Carolyn Kelly’s blues will have you craving seconds.