Friday, April 6, 2012

Beverly McClellan

Last year was the first year in the States for the Dutch import "The Voice", and while I generally enjoyed it because of the caliber of the talent it is like all "talent" contests intrinsically flawed. Once the initial gimmick of the turned around chairs is past it ends up at the vagaries of the American public and we know who votes, the tweenyboppers. So while someone as obviously talented as Beverly McClellan would stick around through the "professional" voting section once the public gets involved it's rare for anyone over 18 to get a vote. When the show aired I did a piece on Dia Frampton who I had previously featured with her sister Meg. I was happy to have mentioned them before the big boys found her. And I did the same again this year with Charlotte Sometimes, but sadly the judges have lost their taste this year. So I was happy to read this review because it means someone else appreciates her talent, and of course it means we get to hear some more of her amazing bluesy voice.
After more than a decade of playing in clubs around Ft. Lauderdale and issuing four self-released albums, bluesy rock singer/songwriter Beverly McClellan successfully auditioned for the network TV talent show The Voice and found herself coached by Christina Aguilera, a reflection of such programs' move from discovering talented amateurs to exposing deserving journeymen performers. McClellan did not end up with a major-label record contract, but she did attract a company willing to finance her fifth album, Fear Nothing, and a heavyweight producer in David Z. (Prince, Billy Idol, etc.). He in turn brought in a bunch of session pros including keyboardist Jimmy Pugh and bassist James "Hutch" Hutchinson, while McClellan's new recognition attracted blues singer Keb' Mo' as a collaborator on one song, "Love Will Find a Way Out." The resulting recording reveals her to be a soulful singer with a powerful voice and a style that is reminiscent of such predecessors as Melissa Etheridge and Tina Turner. David Z.'s studio band didn't take long to learn McClellan's songs, not only because of their professionalism, but also because the tunes are written in conventional blues and rock styles. It's not the songwriting or the music that impresses, though both are serviceable; what matters here is the conviction with which this previously minor-league artist sings. The television camera may have delighted in her bohemian look, with the shaved head, colorful tattoos, and piercings, but it's when Beverly McClellan opens her mouth that her real distinctiveness becomes apparent. ~ William Ruhlmann
Personnel: Beverly McClellan (vocals, guitar, piano); Josh Sklair, Billy Vazquez (guitars); Jimmy Pugh (keyboards); Tony Braunagal (drums); Miki Mulvehill Van Tyn (tambourine).
Recording information: House Of Blues Studio, Encino, CA;
Stu Stu Studio, Nashville, TN.
Thanks to Yara for the inspiration.
OK, so first up check out this all to brief "making of" video.

And here she is doing some acoustic stuff from her new album at The Mint, plus a bit more of an interview with the Ugly News Team.

                                Who knew Beverly was a Parrothead?

While this is not on the album you just have to hear how good this Elton John cover is.
Tiny Dancer Lake Worth Florida Pridefest 2012. March 24, 2012.

And another gem from bygone days.
Dock of the Bay Bev McClellan performing Dock of the Bay at Blues Revue at Village of the Arts. Bradenton FL. on March 2, 2012.

And finally today a tremendous version of one of their songs by a true Non Blonde.
What's Up? Beverly McClellan giving a great performance of the 4 Non Blondes classic at Atlanta Pride 2011.

                                                        5 Bears
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