If a voice as rich, supple and vibrant as Missy Andersen’s could come out of a bottle – not that it hasn’t been tried – every blues singer would be dripping deep soul. Born in Detroit and living in San Diego by way of Queens, New York, Andersen follows her 2009 self-titled debut with a timeless follow-up of blues going straight to the spirit and body. With her band leader/guitarist/husband Heine Andersen, she has again created a personal soundtrack for good times and the pain and joys of love. Eleven varied tracks include eight originals backed by Marty Dodson (drums), Bill Stuve and Michael McKinnon (bass), Nathan James (guitar), James Harman (harmonica), Ben Moore (Hammond B-3), Sue Palmer (piano), Christopher Hoffee (percussion), Robbie Smith (trumpet), Gerard Nolan (tenor sax), Bob Mathes (baritone sax), and Sonja Mack and Karen Trapane (backing vocals).
“Rent Party” swings incessantly enhanced by the great Heine’s warm, resonant lines. The second line strut of “Whole Lotta Nuthin’” presents Andersen singing sweet and tart with Moore and Heine egging her on. The noir, minor key “Night Stalker” has Andersen talking tough. She wrings pathos from the R&B ballad “More Than Enough” building to a virtuosic, breathtaking, cathartic coda. “Better or Worse,” a romping Chicago-style shuffle blues kicked by Harman and James betray the bittersweet lyrics. The lilting swing of “No Regrets” reveals Andersen’s hard-won wisdom as Palmer accompanies sympathetically. Percolating Memphis R&B grooves on “Same Things Will Make You Laugh Will Make You Cry.”. She “preaches, “…we gotta stand tall and speak out…” on the gospelly “Reach Out” with Nathan and Heine “testifying” exultingly. The sultry slow blues “Ladies Shoes” displays Andersen’s luxurious chops and sly lyrics with Heine picking classy licks. Sexy funk inflames “Hey Now.” Snooks Eaglin’s “I’ve Been Walkin’” ends with gospel fervor intensifying “I’ve been walking, I’ve been walking, walking and talking ’bout you. And I know, yes, I know, I know you know the score” as Heine and Palmer cut loose in the moment.
Missy Andersen uses her glorious “instrument” to take the listener down a lush musical path. Like real life itself, it is journey through a range of emotions to be experienced and savored over and over.