Trudy Lynn Featuring Steve Krase
Trudy Lynn has been nominated for the prestigous Koko Taylor Award at the 2015 Blues Foundation Music Awards, May 2015 in Memphis. Fellow nominees include Ruthie Foster and Alexis P Suter. The 2014 winner was Diunna Greenleaf.Blues singer Trudy Lynn remembers her parents' collection of 78-rpm records being both fragile and durable. She recalls their brittle quality: "You got a whupping back in those days if you'd break one of them," she says. "They were like glass." Yet the songs that spilled forth from those recordings have remained with her for decades. Born and raised in Houston's music-rich Fifth Ward, Trudy Lynn began singing in an era when the neighborhood's blues and early R&B culture was morphing into Soul. Under the tutelage of esablished hometown favorites, guitarists Albert Collins and Clarence Green, Trudy learned how to fuse classic blues elements with the music of the moment.AlthoughLynn made a splash with her single “What a Waste/Long Live The Blues” in the early 70’s which helped her tp step out on her own, she recorded only sporadically struggling to get recorded in a manner deserving of her talent. It wasn’t until the 80’s that a British fan transplanted to Atlanta provided Lynn that platform with his Ichiban Records released a string of five albums establishing her name recognition.
The Houston native has been performing her brand of soul-blues for more than 50 years, but with her latest, career-culminating CD, “Royal Oaks Blues Café”, she assumed the reins as curator returning to her roots with artistic purpose. Lynn’s goal for the album was to restore the legacy of some of the pioneer women of the blues who have been forgotten over the years as Blues became dominated by men with guitars by reviving songs originally made by artists once popular now obscure like Clara Smith, Eloise Bennett, Bea Booze and Vivian Greene. Lynn’s earthy and expressive voice sounds so organic, so naturally precise – ranging widely, effortlessly, from husky growl to gentle falsetto to gospel-infused wail to sweet coo.
At this stage of her career Lynn nimbly commands her instrument. She purrs, growls, whispers and blares the blues. A jaunty, quasi-mambo grooving arrangement of “(I’m Gonna) Play the Honky Tonks”, a song first recorded over 60 years ago by Marie Adams, whose defiant refrain – a vow to play “the high-class joints” as well as the titular “tonks) fits the Lynn biography well. Softer and sultry vocals of slower-paced songs such as “Feel It”, “Street Walkin’ Daddy” and “Effervescent Daddy” are especially potent, fusing a quaint charm with the timeless persona of a self-confident woman. “Each of these songs means something to me,” she says. “I truly understand something about each of them.” The closer, “Whip It To a Jelly” features Trudy’s seductively sung utterances in sync with minimalist harmonica and guitar accompaniment.
In lieu of funky synthesizers and brassy horn sections us a supporting instrumentation that is sparser, earthier, more laid back accented with complement of Steve Krase’s harmonica and solid contribution of her band of stalwarts from the Houston blues scene.Words and sounds combine to evoke a comfortable carnality, an easy-going sense of sexual exuberance. Lynn vows that this “is just the beginning,” as she plans to continue researching decades-old blues songs for future use, but prior to returning to the studio, Lynn plans to take the record on the road. The market for Blues isn’t what it was during the ‘60s, but she claims many viable places remain for a classic blues singer in the 21st century. “You don’t do it because there are places to play. In order to do it, you’ve got to love it. You’ve got to feel it. You’ve got to feel it. I’m just echoing myself, I do it all the time, but you’ve got to feel it.” Feel it we will at the T-Bone Walker Blues Fest. Prepare to bear witness to the talent that is Trudy Lynn.
Dubbed “Houston’s fire-breathing dragon” by the Blueshound from 90.1 KPFT radio, Steve Krase (rhymes with ACE) is a fixture live in the Greater Houston area venues. Steve spent 10 years as the harp man for the legendary Houston band Jerry Lightfoot and The Essentials. After the Essentials broke up Steve spent a few years as a sideman with Matt Leddy & The Meatcutters before forming Steve Krase & The In Crowd who were winners of the 2004 and 2005 International Blues Challenge, moving on to the finals in Memphis both years. His new CD “Some Day” was put together with award winning talent, such as James Henry and “Spare Time” Murray with guest appearances by Tommie Lee Bradley on vocals and Eric Demmer on saxophone. Steve and Trudy Lynn have been touring together and will bring some Houston Blues to the program.