Many blues-oriented and blues-friendly artists will go their entire careers without ever providing a live album, which is regrettable because live performances are such an important part of the blues experience. Ana Popovic, thankfully, isn't one of them. This 67-minute CD is the Yugoslavian singer/guitarist's third album for Ruf Records, and it is also her first live album. Recorded at an Amsterdam, Holland, show on January 30, 2005 (when Popovic was 28), the disc paints a consistently exciting picture of her talents as a live performer. Popovic is as captivating on the aggressive, confident strut of "My Man" and Howlin' Wolf's "Sittin' on Top of the World" as she is on the moody, dusky jazziness of "Won't Let You Down" and the instrumental "Navajo Moon" (which was written in memory of the late Stevie Ray Vaughan, one of her major influences). Although very blues-friendly, Ana! Live in Amsterdam isn't strictly a document of a blues show -- rather, it is a document of a show in which the blues meet rock, soul, funk, and jazz. An interesting point: although Popovic grew up in the former Yugoslavia and is performing for a Dutch audience on this album, all of her introductions to the songs are in English -- the language that remains a common denominator for blues performers and blues fans all over the world. These days, rock and hip-hop are being performed in a variety of languages other than English, but English remains the official language of the blues -- even if the performer is as much of a non-purist as Popovic, whose excellent Ana! Live in Amsterdam makes it clear that she did the right thing by not waiting until she was 40 or 50 to provide a live album.
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson
feat: Angela Strehli