Livin’ on love

When honey-voiced Deborah Coleman burst onto the national scene eight years ago, she set in motion a career that gets stronger every year. Beginning on guitar at the age of 8, then playing in a rock band seven years later, she wound up getting back into music at 25 after becoming a mom and electrician. In 1993, she got a trio together and won first prize—six hours of studio time—at the Charleston Blues Festival’s Talent Search. Takin’ a Stand came out the following year on the New Moon label and served notice of another female fretboard flayer to command our attention.

Now 44, Coleman has three other CDs out on the Blind Pig label that showcase her strong songwriting (she’s written most of the songs on each one) and guitar playing skills. It seems odd to me, however, that she gets further away from the blues on each outing. While there’s much to admire here, there’s only one 12-bar blues: Lowell Fulson’s “Bending Like a Willow Tree” that also includes some very tasty slide guitar.

The rest are catchy pop items, some with bluesy overtones, that have Coleman in the grips of passion (e.g., "You’re with Me") or in the depths of depression ("Light of Day"), where she’s "got no hope but the trigger of a gun." Whatever her mood, her band is rock solid, especially drummer Marty Binder, whose back beats and accents keep things moving along very nicely. Guitarist Jimmy Thackery guests on three tracks.