Endless Blues Records
By Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro
If there were ever a real-life woman who I would compare to the Statue Of Liberty it would be Tullie Brae. Like Lady Liberty, Tullie is statuesque; wears flamboyant outfits; is stunning to look at; commands your attention; she’s not someone you’re not sure you’ve ever seen because her impression is everlasting; and although in a different way – through her singing, songwriting and musical talents – she has a way of making people feel good.
Tullie Brae’s third release is titled “Revelation”. On it, in addition to writing all ten tracks, the multi-talented performer plays piano, Hammond organs, slide cigar box guitar and sings lead and harmony vocals. Joining Tullie on the project are: the disc’s producer Jeff Jensen on guitar, percussion and hand claps; Bill Rufino on bass and hand claps; David Green on drums; James Cunningham on percussion and drums; Rick Steff on Fender Rhodes and Wurlitzer organs; Susan Marshall and Dauniele Hill on backing vocals; Mick Kolassa on han dclaps and backing vocals; Brad Webb and Sturges Nikides on slide guitar; Brandon Santini on harmonica; Alice Hasan on violin; and Myra Hall on viola.
Back in 1978, there was a documentary titled “Scared Straight”. In a nutshell, it told the story of a couple of delinquent punks who spend a few hours with a handful of prisoners who are serving life sentences at Rahway State Prison. The object of the project could simply be described as “preventative prison” if you know what I mean. The disc’s opening track reminded me of that documentary. It’s my belief that if you locked a few domestic abusers in a room with Tullie Brae – powerfully belting the hell out of “Price Of The Blues” right up in their faces for a few hours – these bastards may just think twice before pushing another woman around. With the eerily intense rhythm and slide guitar work from the hands of Bill Ruffino, David Green and Sturgis Nikides respectfully, the song is as powerful musically as it is vocally and lyrically.
Being the daughter of a preacher and honing her singing skills in churches at a young age, Tullie’s Gospel roots are quite evident on “Seven Bridges”. The song tells of a place where Tullie goes to find the water to wash her soul – something even us good people need to do from time to time. Once again, the rhythm, percussion and slide guitar – this time compliments of Bill Ruffino, James Cunningham and Brian Webb – are outstanding and the heavenly sounding lead and harmony vocals, along with the timely hand clapping, lift this one to a hymnal quality.
As the title may imply, this is another song centering around another unappreciative, non-understanding, love-less male and it’s time for Tullie to “Break These Chains”. Just like Tullie’s vocals and attitude, the rhythm is rough and just like the story the song is telling, Brandon Santini’s harp play is chill-inducing.
So sensing a need to put some of this negativity behind her and bring some happiness into her life, Tullie does what every woman does when that needs to happen – she gets a pair of “New Shoes”. Well not really, but the person who has now entered her life does make Tullie feel as happy as having that new pair of shoes…….hey, it’s a girl thing. Once again, from pen to performance, this is a beautiful song that features Tullie and Jeff sounding so good together on another bluesy ballad.
The disc closes with a song in which the title consists of words that can never be said often enough – it’s called “Thank You Mom”. Of course, it did make me think of my mom and it did bring tears to my eyes as well. Needless to say, the lyrics are quite emotional and it may very well be the best tribute to a mother that was ever written. The song could have been spoken like a poem with no music and still have been touching however, the moving concerto that Tullie, Alice, and Myra perform on piano, violin and viola, took it to beyond the sky. Tullie, bring this to Hallmark to be placed in one of those musical Mother’s Day cards and take the Brinks truck with you.
To find out more about Tullie Brae just go to: www.tulliebrae.com and to get your hands on a copy of “Revelation” – which I highly recommend you do – just go to see Mick Kolassa at www.endlessblues.com. As usual, please let Tullie or Mick know that the Blewzzman sent you.
Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro © 2019
Blues Editor @ www.Mary4Music.com
2011 Keeping The Blues Alive Award Recipient