Joyann Parker – Out of the Dark
Expected Release: February 12, 2021
1 Gone So Long 4:12
2 Carry On 4:26
3 Bad Version of Myself 3:24
4 What Did You Expect 3:10
5 Either Way 3:09
6 Predator 4:36
7 Dirty Rotten Guy 2:58
8 Come On Baby (Take Me Dancing) 3:28
9 Fool For You 3:56
10 Hit Me Like A Train 3:56
11 Out of the Dark 3:50
Stylistically diverse and roots-connected, Out of the Dark expands on the success of Parker’s debut, Hard to Love, with 11 new songs composed by Parker and guitarist Mark Lamoine. Parker co-produced the album with Lamoine and Kevin Bowe, the Minneapolis-based producer, songwriter and guitarist whose myriad credits include Etta James, Jonny Lang, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, the Replacements, Joe Cocker, John Mayall, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Lucinda Williams and Bruce Springsteen.
Parker has been tagged as a blues and rhythm-and-blues singer, but her music is so much more. Although she reveres the latter genres, the broader Americana label is a better fit for her versatility and expansive range and influences. “Carry On,” the first single from Out of the Dark, charts a blues-rock-gospel course. “Gone So Long,” has a Southern rock feel. “Bad Version of Myself” moves into funk and rhythm-and-blues. The upbeat “What Did You Expect” follows the pop path of Jackson Browne. On Parker’s performance of her ballad “Either Way,” she summons the vocal prowess of one of rock’s great female vocalists, Ann Wilson of Heart. Parker adds Latin flavor to “Predator,” a song inspired by the late Amy Winehouse and featuring the surprising melody and harmony. “Dirty Rotten Guy,” a raucous ode to pleasure, has a New Orleans flavor. Pianist Tim Wick, a Professor Longhair devotee, executes the song’s standout keyboard work. Wick’s piano also drives the Chuck Berry-esque “Hit Me Like a Train.” And “Come on Baby” summons the feel-good spirit of original rhythm and blues-pop stars Lloyd Price and Sam Cooke.
Parker recorded most of Out of the Dark at Bowe’s studio, the Kill Room. A classically trained pianist with a degree in music from the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse, Parker scored the project’s basic arrangements while Bowe put the sugar on top. His inspirations included adding Rory Hoffman’s Stevie Wonder-like harmonica to the funk and rhythm-and-blues-styled “Bad Version of Myself.” The album ends with the inspiring “Out of the Dark,” which Parker penned in her contemplative downtime while production on the record was temporarily stopped due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
(Text and photos: with many thanks to Joyann Parker Music)