I am always happy to discover a talent I’ve not heard before, and Denise La Grassa is both new to me and a real talent.
She has a rich voice, imbued with accents of all the places she has called home – Wisconsin, Chicago, Europe – and writes songs in a Blues style but with vaudeville phrasing. There is something here that reminds me of Maria Muldaur, but also crossed with Joni Mitchell.
The songs are more than your standard Blues themes. She touches on racial marginalization, Social Media, politicians and mass shootings, but all within a Blues, and occasionally Gospel, framework.

More than anything though, this is a musical ride, and it is varied and full of the best things. Her vocal on ‘The Door’ is full and soulful, very much in the vein of a stage musical, with backing music that propels her dark lyrics to the fore. The title track references the ‘Sundown Towns’ of America where non-Whites were instructed to leave town before sunset – she intimates that racial segregation and discrimination is still rife in many areas.

So, not your standard love songs. However on my favourite track ‘Hope In Love’, she sings to a gospel style backing vocal, sharp guitar work and a funky backbeat, saying that love “Is what we live for/Is what we die for/Is what we give for.” Or on ‘Loving For Love’s Sake’ where she says “If you’re living in hell hate/You’re not loving for loves sake.”

A new talent is always worth checking out and this is a fine album, worth investifating.