Gild The Black Lily Album Review -- Ruta 66 (Spain) April 8, 2021

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(To read the review in Spanish, click here.)

Queen Esther fans should be as shocked as they are pleasantly surprised by the turn the jazz woman has given her career with this album. The New Yorker, critically acclaimed as the heir to the great jazz vocalists, had always worked in this field, which had led her to win several awards. The amazement (for some) comes when this year this Gild The Black Lily is published to discover that its sights have totally turned towards roots music. Let's see, it's not to tear your clothes either. Queen Esther had always flirted with rural genres and defined her music as Low Country, but perhaps, and there I agree, she had never taken such a resounding step towards this genre. She had a lot of Sarah Vaughan and Nina Simone, but also something of Lucinda Williams in her phrasing, and that should not be forgotten. The fact is that she has done it in a big way. With a magnificent album that server already considers the best of her discography and the best of the year in the genre. That Esther sang very well we knew very well, but that her voice was going to adapt like this to folk, country or blues, without sounding forced, but tremendously natural was already more difficult to expect. The version that is marked of John The Revelator - I know, it is very seen but ... - totally a cappella is creepy and the turn she gives to Take It To The Limit leaves the song among the best versions ever to have been made of The Eagles. Not to mention that hit that is The Whiskey Wouldn't Let Me Pray, repeated at the end of the album on acoustic. An insurmountable subject that sticks in your mind for days. They have called it Black Americana, although the definition I like the most is as simple as Americana a la Queen Esther. Wonderful. -- Eduardo Izquierdo



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