As the world continues its struggle to gain a stranglehold over the global coronavirus catastrophe, Minneapolis-based singer-songwriter Joyann Parker has emerged from the doom and gloom with the follow-up to her acclaimed debut release Hard to Love. Production for Out Of The Dark began in January 2020, but COVID-19 saw the project temporarily halted just two months later. This gave Parker the opportunity to clear her mind and reaffirm her purpose. “When you’re so busy, you get caught up in the competitiveness of things,” she said. “So it was good to stop and examine why I’m doing this and where I’m going.”
Co-produced with guitarist Mark Lamoine and established blues-rock songwriter, producer and guitarist Kevin Bowe whose credits include the likes of John Mayall and Kenny Wayne Shepherd, this smouldering and stylistically diverse record was born out of passion and perseverance, with the powerful pipes of Parker the common denominator throughout.
The broody intent, ‘a cappella’ backing singers, and acoustic slide guitar provide the perfect showcase for her rich emotive vocals in album opener “Gone So Long’. First single “Carry On” quickly reminds the listener that Parker is no slouch on the six-string either with her unwavering and galvanic playing embodying the theme of resolve in this tenacious blues-rocker.
“What Did You Expect” and “Fool For You” keep the upbeat tempo chugging over the top of some catchy piano and thumping bass, before the full throttle rock ‘n’ roll of “Hit Me Like A Train” takes the Chuck Berry vibes into supersonic mode. The rhythmic honesty of “Bad Version Of Myself” rumbles along with some funky harmonica, while the boogie woogie of “Come On Baby (Take Me Dancing)” will leave you and your friends cavorting around the dance floor in this joyous toe-tapper.
However, it is the earthy numbers and searing ballads that educe Parker’s multi-faceted talent. “Either Way” combines a lyrical romance of indecision with beautiful vocals floating over lap steel. The stirring title track “Out Of The Dark” is guaranteed to give you goosebumps as the classically trained pianist projects her soulful and fiery voice to red-hot flames in this inspirational album closer.
Bowe loved working with Parker. “Joyann knows exactly what she wants,” the producer said. “But at the same time, she’s totally open-minded how to get there.” A compelling statement of personal and artistic growth, Parker has well and truly lifted herself out of the dark and discovered the light.
The Review: 7.5/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– Hit Me Like A Train
– Come On Baby (Take Me Dancing)
– Either Way
– Out Of The Dark
The Big Hit
– Out Of The Dark