Karen Nunis Blackstone

Give Me Sanity

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For someone who wasn't born in the U.S. or Europe, Karen Nunis Blackstone takes a very bluesy approach to both singing and acoustic guitar playing on her debut album, Give Me Sanity. The singer/songwriter isn't from Houston, New York, or Seattle -- Blackstone was born in Malaysia and was living in Japan when she recorded this promising CD, but she has no problem singing or writing in English. Although Blackstone brings a wealth of blues feeling to Give Me Sanity, this isn't an album of 12-bar blues numbers. Her forte is folk-rock, but it's folk-rock that is never without the feeling of the blues. Blackstone doesn't have a soft, caressing voice -- her singing is tough, gritty, and gravely -- the whiskey-voiced Melissa Etheridge is among the artists who comes to mind on "Angel of Darkness," "Frickin' Truths," and other introspective material. Give Me Sanity also gives the impression that Blackstone is well aware of the contributions of Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and Tracy Chapman. But Blackstone is her own person and this good to excellent debut is easily recommended to anyone with a taste for introspective folk-rock.

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