Sass Jordan

From Dusk 'Til Dawn

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Canadian siren Sass Jordan has always had a big, belting, bluesy voice, but it hasn't always been featured in the right context. Jordan -- who has also been successful on the stage playing/singing the role of Janis Joplin -- began her recording career in the late ‘80s, and her gritty, soulful voice was initially surrounded by all the production tropes of that era, for an end result that sounded like Melissa Etheridge wandering into a Madonna session by accident. Over the years, she gravitated towards a more appropriate, biting blues-rock sound, but even then, the emphasis was on the "rock" side of the equation. With From Dusk ‘Til Dawn, though, Jordan seems to have hit upon her most flattering format yet, focusing on a rootsier sound that leans more towards blues and R&B, with smatterings of country, folk, and classic rock along the way. There's a raw, Marlboros-and-Jameson's quality to Jordan's voice that's best heard amid the scrappy acoustic guitar licks of "What I Need," the Stax-style soul-stomp arrangements of "Fell in Love Again," and the late-night, slow-jam sway of "Love N Affection," where she's free to unleash her inner Bonnie Raitt. But even when she ventures away from R&B here, she stays in a tasty, soulful pocket that keeps it all cohesive. "Why Did You," for instance, is pitched somewhere between Sheryl Crow and contemporary country, while the folk-rocking "Matter of Time" brings to mind Every Picture Tells a Story-era Rod Stewart, and a version of Tom Waits' early composition "Ol' 55" underlines the L.A. country-rock side of the song (it was, after all, initially covered by the Eagles). All these detours stay on the right side of soulfulness and subtlety, though, furthering the impression that From Dusk ‘Til Dawn is the sound of a journeywoman singer finally finding her spiritual center.

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