The House of Mercy
House of Mercy Records
Blues fans in America might not have heard of her... yet, but across the big pond, UK blues guitarist and singer Bex Marshall is considered the bees knees, and a few spins of her new record, The House of Mercy, shows you why. With a voice somewhere between Bonnie Raitt and Susan Tedeschi and a funky, nimble style of guitar picking, Marshall holds her own against anybody. This, her second album (following 2008's Kitchen Table), finds her playing a brew that reminds you a bit of early Little Feat, full of slippery slide licks on her resonator guitar or raising the roof on such cuts as "Gone Fishin'" or "Bite Me." Not to say the entire album is raucous; she can slow it down and hit you where it hurts on "Barry's Song" or "Big Man," and she displays an ease of playing that would make you think of a much more seasoned performer.
Historically the blues has been a genre dominated by males, at least as far as guitar players go, that is. But Bex Marshall's The House of Mercy could start to change all that. Because when she unleashes her Janis Joplin-equese growl on a song like "Rattlesnake" amid her howling guitar, she gives any blues guitarslinger a run for his money. Get down, blues woman!