Album Review | Feelin’ Good – The Kaz Hawkins Band
Album | Feelin’ Good
Artist | The Kaz Hawkins Band
Label | Independent
Release date 28th May 2016
Kaz Hawkins seemed to arrive on the Blues scene like a bolt from the blue with her much-lauded 2014 release ‘Get Ready’, and her subsequent tours and festival appearances only served to boost that impression. She has an unforgettable stage presence, distinctive 50’s dress style, and most importantly, a voice that is as emotive as its powerful. But her ‘overnight success’ was built on the years of graft she put in to learn her trade, performing around the pubs & clubs of her native Belfast. Her back story in overcoming personal challenges is quite extraordinary, and gives her songwriting an edge – and a truth – that has parallels with the pioneers of Delta Blues.
She has fought her way through what is still a largely male-dominated Blues world to be at the forefront of a collective of female singers and musicians known as the ‘Blues Sisterhood UK’ which is already inspiring new ventures and breathing new life into the live Blues music scene.
Since the release of her debut album she has enjoyed remarkable success – she is a British Blues Award Winner, ‘Pure M’ Award Winner (for All-Ireland Best Female Act), and has been made a UK Blues Federation Ambassador.
Her second album ‘Feelin’ Good’ is released on 28th May. On it are 10 songs, 8 of which were written by Kaz herself. It starts with a rousing Gospel-influenced number, ‘Pray’ which gives her scorching voice a glorious platform; ‘It Ain’t You’ is a funky Blues-rock ballad that rolls along; ‘Don’t Make Mama Cry’ keeps up the place; then ‘This Is Me’ is a beautiful, gutsy affirmation of life; while ‘Belfast Town’ builds up a crescendo which is a real tour-de-force.
The title track is a version of the classic song ‘Feelin’ Good’ written by Tony Newley and Leslie Bricusse which became a standard after Nina Simone recorded it in 1965, and here Kaz and her talented band give it a whole new sensibility. ‘Don’t Run Away’ adds some funk to the mix and ‘Because You Love Me’ is a beautiful Blues-infused love song. ‘Soul Superstar’ has all the elements of a show stopper, but its a superlative up-tempo rock version of Willie Dixon’s ‘I Just Wanna Make Love To You’ that ends this magnificent album.
The Kaz Hawkins Band consists of Kaz on Lead Vocals, Guitar, Percussion & Keyboards; Nick McConkey on Guitar; Peter Uhrin on Drums, Percussion Vocals & Guitar. Janny Uhrin on Bass and Deanne Jones on Vocals.
‘Feelin’ Good’ has already been selected as a Pick of The Month for June by the British Blues Broadcasters Association (IBBA) and is destined to be one of the albums of the year.
‘Kaz Hawkins Band’