Jeannie Holliday | Lee's Unleaded Blues | Blues, Gospel, and R&B | Chicago Reader
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Jeannie Holliday 

When: Fri., Aug. 1, 10 p.m. 2014
Price: $10
With her flamboyance, range, and penchant for upper-register melisma, Jeannie Holliday sometimes sounds like a neosoul singer possessed by the ghost of Minnie Riperton. But in other ways she’s solidly in the soul-blues tradition: she avoids grandstanding, preferring to use artifice to convey depth and sincerity rather than ironic detachment. She makes her connection to the blues even more evident with her take-no-prisoners storytelling—in several of the songs on her 2010 album You Can’t Blame Me (Blast), her characters unflinchingly settle personal scores. Bare n’ It All (Soother), a sampler she released a couple years ago, showcases her eclecticism and her spirituality: Its five tracks include tunes by R. Kelly (“Did You Get My Love Letter”), Chicago-born hit maker Miki Howard (“Luv Under New Management”), and Detroit R&B star K’Jon (“On the Ocean,” which she delivers as an inspirational tour de force). The title tune, a riveting portrayal of a prison inmate’s dark night of the soul, melds worldly and spiritual intensity. Like any vocalist, Holliday is at her best with a responsive band behind her; that’s hardly guaranteed in local clubs, but her backup crew for this gig, the Kevin Harper Connection, is tight and versatile. —David Whiteis



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