Ana Popovic

Still Making History

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Born in Belgrade in what is now Serbia, Ana Popovic is making her name in contemporary American blues circles, but it would be a mistake to simply fixate on her unconventional path to this music, because Still Making History is clear evidence of her genuine feel for the blues. It's a fair criticism that modern blues can often tilt toward the slick or the glib, but Popovic's talent lies in her ability to use the musical form as a touchstone while pulling in other influences (a tendency that might cause fretting among purists). On "Hold On," the singer/guitarist/songwriter romps through a stop-on-a-dime funk arrangement that calls to mind James Brown. On the moving "Between Our Worlds" she pulls in enough reggae to cast an easy groove, but not enough to seem like an interloper or dilettante. Popovic is also a versatile vocalist who avoids the all-peaks, no-valleys brassiness that defines more than a few contemporary blues vocalists (and it certainly is interesting to hear her Serbian vowels occasionally wrap themselves around the Americana of her tunes). This is a solid effort that breaks some of the possible constraints of its genre, with Popovic proving her songwriting gifts on a host of originals.

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