Susan Tedeschi
Just Won't Burn
Tone-Cool 1164
If Susan Tedeschi comes to your town, go see her right now, because the next time she passes through, there's no telling how large a venue she'll be playing or how much more you'll have to fork out to see the show.

To put it simply, this 27-year-old singer/songwriter/guitarist has star quality. She has a soulful, honest voice, writes intriguing songs; she's young, attractive and hungry. Her vocals suggest Bonnie Raitt or a healthy Janis Joplin, although she also cites as sources Aretha Franklin, Irma Thomas and Dinah Washington.

A 1991 graduate of the Berklee College of Music, Tedeschi's most interesting songs are those that eschew the standard 12-bar I-IV-V pattern. "Rock Me Right" works as blues, but "You Need to Be With Me" has a reggae feel, and the title track is a jazzy, minor-keyed torch number. "Looking for Answers" is the music of a naked soul, complete with slide guitar from Tedeschi and a truly haunted fiddle solo by Ian Kennedy that would fit right alongside the darkest moments of the Rolling Stones circa Exile on Main Street or Beggar's Banquet.

Tedeschi recently relocated from the Boston area to Atlanta, where she has joined 18-year-old guitarist Sean Costello. Costello plays on six of the 11 cuts on Just Won't Burn, his finest moments coming on the quirky octave-fueled breaks on "You Need to Be With Me" and "Rock Me Right." "Found Someone New," with Tedeschi on piano, features a Costello solo with an effect created by recording with the tape playing backward.

If Just Won't Burn is any indication, it's likely that Tedeschi will outgrow the blues audience -- although that may always be her base -- and the Tone-Cool label on the way to an extraordinary career. It should be a pleasure to behold.

-- Bryan Powell

This page and all contents are © 1998 by Blues Access,
Boulder, CO, USA.