Ana Popovic

Ana Popovic
Still Making History

Electro Groove

By Art Tipaldi
September 2007

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Born in 1976, Ana Popovic is a guitar gal from Yugoslavia with a deep love of the blues.

She formed her first blues band in 1995, and began playing the blues clubs throughout Europe. That woodsheddin’ has paid off; in 2001, without a release in the U.S., Popovic was signed to play the prestigious Beale Street Music Festival in Memphis. From there, she was signed by Germany’s Ruf Records, and released three critically acclaimed discs combining her ferocious blues rock and stylish jazz guitar boldness.

After those three on Ruf Records, Popovic has joined the Delta Groove Records family, with the first advantage from that being the band Delta Groove has assembled behind Popovic’s guitar and voice. Ace musicians such as John Cleary on piano, Tony Braunagel on drums, Mike Finnigan, from Taj Mahal’s Phantom Blues Band on B-3; and the Texacali Horns.

Popovic’s voice will grab you first. There’s a fragile, vulnerability that slowly builds into a barbed dazzler. Then you’ll realize her substantial guitar licks are runnin’ parallel. The combined attack is the embodiment of today’s edgy blues-rock.

Popovic opens with four originals. The opening wah-wah puts "U Complete Me" solidly into the contemporary guitar arena. "Hold On" is Ana’s funky autobiographical tale of the red tape she fights each time she applies for American privileges.

"Between Our Worlds" is a Bob Marley-styled reggae tune of call-and-response about the bridges that need to be built between people. As a child who grew up in war-torn Yugoslavia, Popovic understands how lucky she is to have escaped the armed struggles that broke out over which ethnic group would control the country. Because she survived the horrors of the Milosovic regime, many of the tunes here address the theme of people coming together to survive and change the world.

That world unity theme continues on "Shadow After Dark," Ana’s horn driven tune that asks the world to question and unite against the forces that keep us in shadows. "Hungry," is a cover of the R&B classic about loneliness in the road.

On "Doubt Everyone But Me," Popovic crosses to the cool jazz side of the street and picks Wes Montgomery-styled guitar, as Cleary’s piano rolls cascade, and Finnigan’s B-3 holds the rhythmic bottom.

Amid 10 originals, Popovic covers the songs of two other blues giants. Big Mama Thornton’s "You Don’t Move Me" features Finnigan’s tireless B-3 and the Texacali Horns, while on Snooky Pryor’s "How’d You Learn To Shake It Like That," Ana changes Snooky’s male perspective and shows off her slippery slide guitar.

The disc ends with "Calendars," where Popovic strips the format to her rhythmic acoustic guitar, fretless bass, and quiet drums. Here, her voice rings true and clear.

Ana Popovic is proof there is a world outside the US that loves and studies American blues.

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