She is 83 years young and along with Buddy Guy, who has called her “the real deal”, they are the reigning regents of the Chicago Blues. And it does not get better than Mary Lane’s new album Travelin’ Woman.
The personification of the “great migration” of African Americans from the cotton fields of the American south to the city of Chicago both before and after World War II, Mary sings the blues the way only someone that has endured the degradation and hard times of segregation, and still maintained their pride and spirit, can. Heartfelt and upbeat, the 10 songs on this album are a testament to the power of song sung by a voice of greatness.
The title cut, Travelin’ Woman, is a reminisce about her journey from Arkansas to the blues stages of Chicago that she shared with B.B. King, A.C. Reed, Elmore James, Magic Sam, Junior Wells, and Howlin’ Wolf. Blues Give Me a Feeling is a great tune about her love affair with the American music genre. Some People Say I’m Crazy, Bad Luck and Trouble, Ain’t Gonna Cry No More, Ain’t Nobody Else, and Rain in My Heart are all bad ass Chicago blues. And amidst all these great songs, Leave That Wine Alone, is my hands down favorite.
Produced by Jim Tullio, who also co-wrote most of the songs on the album, the CD features guest appearances by Billy Branch, Corky Siegel, the late Eddie Shaw, Indiara Sfair, Gene (Daddy G) Barge, Colin Linden, and Dave Specter. This is only her second album, the first was done twenty years ago or so, but she has been a fixture on blues stages all over Chicago for decades. Man…the rest of us have missed it until NOW!
Also, filmmaker Jesseca Ynez Simmons is putting the finishing touches on a documentary about Mary’s life entitled I Can Only Be Mary Lane. I am looking forward to its release and being able to see it!
Folks, you absolutely HAVE to listen to this slice of blues greatness! Mary Lane has sowed the blues for over sixty years…..with Travelin’ Woman she finally reaps the recognition and fame that she has long deserved. Keep crankin’ out the blues Mary…we are all now your loyal subjects!
Women of the Blues Records 2018