ZZ Ward: Dirty Shine Review

ZZ Ward first emerged on the music scene back in 2012 with her album, Til the Casket Drops, which featured the hit song, “Put The Gun Down.” The album was voted #6 on Blues Rock Review’s Top 20 Albums of 2012. Then in 2017, her sophomore album, The Storm, once again cracked Blues Rock Review’s annual Top 20 list coming in at #4. The album went #1 on the Billboard Blues chart.

Much has changed in ZZ’s life since then. She started her own record label, Dirty Shine Records, with her husband, Grammy winner Evan Kidd Bogart. Her filmmaker brother, Adam Ward, is also helping out with her music videos being released on the new album, Dirty Shine.

Ward grew up on blues music, but what makes her unique is how she takes blues influences and meshes them into other genres like hip hop. We continue to see this on Dirty Shine, which features 14 tracks.

The album opens with a Western style instrumental “Welcome To Dirty Shine” which transitions into the acoustic beat of “Ride Or Die” featuring Vic Mensa. “On One” is a great showcase for ZZ’s bluesy voice with its unique style. ZZ belts “I’m alright and I got a good feeling.” The western Zombie music video matches the uniqueness of the track. “Dead Or Alive” features one of the albums catchiest choruses. “Baby Don’t” was released as a single and is one of the more rocking tracks on the album.

ZZ has a few short instrumentals on that album that serve as a bridge to the next song. One such example is the harmonica of “North Bank Blues” which leads into the groovy “OverdoZZe.”

ZZ saves some of the best tracks for last. Aloe Blacc joins Ward on “Tin Cups” which is fantastic collaboration between two amazing voices. The slide infused “Don’t Let Me Down” closes the album on a high note. This is an excellent example of her ability to mesh the blues with contemporary style.

ZZ Ward can’t be pinned down to any specific genre. Her style is uniquely her own. ZZ’s vocals are undeniable. The end result is simply great music. Blues, hip hop, R&B, pop, rock, she does it all at a high level. Dirty Shine is a different album in a great way.

The Review: 8.5/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– Ride Or Die
– Dead Or Alive
– Baby Don’t
– Tin Cups
– Don’t Let Me Down

The Big Hit

– Tin Cups

Pete Francis

Pete Francis is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Blues Rock Review. Pete founded Blues Rock Review in 2010 because he felt there was a major void in how the blues rock genre was covered. Pete is the host of Blues Rock Weekly and a co-host on the Blues Rock Show.

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