Ally Venable Band: Puppet Show Review

The next taxi off the rank in the blues/rock genre is 19-year-old Texan Ally Venable. This is the second release by this three-piece, Ally on guitar/vocals, Elijah Owings drums and bassist Bobby Wallace, along with some choice guests. Featuring eight originals and two covers, given the intense competition in the female blues/rock world, this album shines like a beacon.

The powerful opener, “Devil’s Son”, with Gary Hoey guesting on guitar, is proof, if needed, that this lady plays a mean guitar and a voice to match. It is said that Ally is a protege of fellow Texan, Lance Lopez. He joins her on “Bridges To Burn”, the guitars emphasizing the intensity of the song, good stuff. Overcoming adversity is the subject on “Cast Their Stones”, continuing the hard rocking theme. Bessie Smith’s “Back Water Blues” lulls the listener into a false sense of calm with its cool vocals, harmonica reminiscent of old style back porch blues, but don’t be fooled, after a minute or so, Texas blues kicks in, guest Steve Krase letting rip on harp. Krase helps out again on the powerful cover of  Taj Mahal’s  “He Caught The Katy (And Left Me a Mule To Ride),” which is one of my favorite tracks just because she does such a delightful job with her powerhouse vocals. The instrumentation’s not bad either with Eric Steckel sitting in on keyboards. Steckel stays onboard for the title track, showcasing Venable’s writing skills, as does “Comfort In My Sorrows”, about searching for help. Stekel adds his great organ sound on “Survive”, inviting the whole band to join in the groove, at the same time Ally’s given something to play off.

No blues cd would be complete without a dig at no-good men, “Waste It On You” takes the honor here. The album closes with the bouncy blues boogie of “Sleeping Through The Storm”, excellent guitar work on this one. All in all, this is an exceptional album in a competitive market. It would not be a surprise if a certain Mr. Ruf came calling.

The Review: 8.5/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– Devil’s Son
– Bridges To Burn
– He Caught The Katy
– Sleeping Through The Storm
– Backwater Blues

The Big Hit

– Backwater Blues

Review by Clive Rawlings

Buy the album: Amazon | Amazon UK

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