Keys & Chords Review (Netherlands)
By: Philip Verhaege
Translated by Google Translate
Donna Herula is no longer an unknown artist to us. She has been a regular guest at Buddy Guy's Legends in Chicago for the past ten years and has been a guest at the major Chicago Blues Festival. Donna was therefore born in Chicago. As a singer and acoustic blues guitarist, she shares a passion for the traditional Delta and country blues, pre-war Chicago blues, folk, roots and Americana. She relates her sound using her acoustic and electrified resonator guitars. Just like she realized her love for music, from the deep south and Chicago, with clever guitar improvisations. Her songwriting combines a fresh, contemporary take on blues and roots music. Five years ago, Donna was inducted into the Chicago Blues Hall of Fame. She teaches fingerstyle and slide guitar at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago and has conducted numerous Blues in the school and blues education programs. Now Donna Herula has her third full-length (album) on the shelves. Together with her partner in crime Tony Nardiello, pianist Doug Hammer, drummer Dana Thalheimer, trumpeter Tony Pons, Bill Newton on harmonica and some special guests such as violinist Anne Harris and pianist Daryl Davis, Donna has created eleven original songs and three cover versions. The blues party opens with the rumba and slide guitar inspired 'Bang At The Door' and immediately follows up with the New Orleans groove from 'Pass The Biscuits'.
With the swinging 'Can't Wait To See My Baby' and 'I Got No Way Home' we stay in her hometown for a while. 'Promise Me' is a folky track, just like 'Not Lookin' Back' has that jazzy vibe. The dobro slide guitar techniques give color to the instrumental 'Black Ice'. In the same order are also the Delta blues inspired 'Who's Been Cookin In My Kitchen', 'Something's Wrong With My Baby' and 'Fixin' To Die', the ballad 'Jackson' and the ragtime song 'Movin' Back Home'. Donna further diverges with 'Got What I Deserve', a mixture of country and blues and with that beautiful Ann Harris on violin. The closing track 'The Soul Of A Man' is a gospel track that was originally penned together by Blind Willie Johnson. Donna Herula confirms all the good we could discover live from her before. The release 'Bang At The Door' is a modest and acoustic album that is deeply rooted in the Delta Blues.