Nina Medley — Red Dirt Redemption

Well, I can say that I’m pretty sure she’s found it. Her smoky, soulful vocals slink around the archetypal blues riffs, but beneath every song is that homegrown, Red Dirt, roadhouse rocking ’n’ rolling that draw immediate comparisons to Janis Joplin.

“Drive Right Through Memphis” has a down-and-dirty groove that’s as playful as it is vengeful, while “Baby Loves Those Little Blues,” a duet with husky-voiced Joe Splawn, is literally a real crotch-throbber. That’s not to say things don’t take dramatic turns, as “Through the Rain” is a tearjerker that should be on every karaoke playlist in America.

“Ten Minutes from Tupelo” is a near-eight-minute epic that perfectly encapsulates everything Ms. Medley is about.

That isn’t to say there aren’t missteps. The reggae-tinged “Reunions” feels silly and out-of-place, while her reworking of Merle Haggard’s “Workin’ Man Blues” into “Workin’ Mamma Blues” veers dangerously close into novelty territory. But the voice and musicianship are there — something one can appreciate on every track. —Louis Fowler

Louis Fowler

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