Saturday, August 31, 2013

Album Review: Possumdiva by Heather Luttrell

There are many divas in the world of pop music, maybe even too many. But there is only one Possumdiva, and that’s Heather Luttrell. While the divas smile for the camera and wait for someone else to write their next hit song, Heather Luttrell is busy writing her own lyrics, arranging the music, playing guitar and bringing it all to life with a killer southern fried voice (and did I mention she also designs the album covers!) All of Heather’s talents are on full display on her latest album, Possumdiva. Backed by her sparse, but talented Possum Den band, Heather creates a sonic American Southern Gothic. Dancing a little on the dark side, Heather is not afraid to do things her way; but unlike other “outlaw” acts, she’s not afraid to admit that she might be wrong in doing it. Maybe that’s why she bills her music as “Outlaw Americana for the Thinking Drunk.”

She brings her drinking and thinking to the forefront on the album’s first song, “Road Home to Hell.”  Like the old Drivin’ N Cryin’ song, “I’m Going Straight to Hell,” Heather gives up on trying to please her mama and decides to live life on her terms no matter what the outcome. She sings, “you can lead this horse to water, it don’t mean it’s still not wild,” That “don’t give a damn” attitude plays throughout the entire album, but her voice and lyrics are so compelling you just can’t stop listening, even if it might be you that she’s telling off. She swaggers unrepentantly through songs like “Perfect Day,” (“Then the sidewalk punched my face when I got back to my place. And somehow my drinking still ainʼt done.”) “More Fun To Sin,” and “He’ll Do Till He Quits Doin.”

Her voice brims with confidence showing influences from Bonnie Raitt, Patty Griffin, Marcia Ball and even a touch of Aretha Franklin, whom she does justice to with her cover of Dr. Feelgood. There are also a few moments of tenderness here. “Broken Covnersation” and “What is Wanting” are both touching love songs. But with Heather being Heather, these love songs do not have happy endings. Perhaps the most intense moment of the album is the song “Redemption.” Like a gospel song for the damned, “Redemption” tells a burning bed type story of a woman pushed too far; and now “Hell’s coming home in a gingham dress.” Unwilling to play dead, this Possum Diva stands and fights by her own rules. I could go on all day about this album, but as Heather rightly sings on the album’s last song, “Well Done Is Better Than Well Said,” so go listen for yourself and you’ll see how well done this album really is!

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