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Jo Harman - 'People We Become' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/3f/88/0f/Jo-Harman-People-We-Become-67-1501766802.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     August 03, 2017    
 
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Entrancing, enlightening and highly emotive.

Since 2009, Rocktopia's principal aim has been to bring its readership the best music it possibly can. Whether it be Rock, Metal or Blues (and all associated sub-genres) the emphasis has always been on quality. However, not every artist or album has slotted straightforwardly into the prerequisites of the magazine's template. Sometimes, a body of music or an artist comes along with quality that is irrefutably significant; then, it's almost our obligation to draw your attention to it. Jo Harman, and her sophomore studio opus 'People We Become', is a classic case in point.

Harman hails from Southwest England and for the past five years she has (along with a close network of outstanding musicians) evolved into quite possibly one of the best female Blues-orientated vocalists in the country. I was lucky enough to see her in Southport almost three years ago and from the onset of her performance she captivated the entire audience with her soulful and totally vicarious renditions of both her self-penned songs and other reputable material. Her mesmeric performances translate seamlessly on to 'Live At Hideaway' (2011), her debut album 'Dirt On The Tongue' (2013), 'Live At Royal Albert Hall' (2014) and 'Found A Place (2016). Now, after a meticulously planned sojourn to Nashville, we are blessed with 'People We Become'.

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Immediately you know you're experiencing something special. Harman's tonality and textures are seductively sublime and are superbly supported by musicians who totally absorb, then emanate the veracities of the Blues. Opener 'No One Left To Blame' and the Gospel-tinged 'The Reformation' have a wonderful foot-stomping Rock undercurrent, however, her vocals really come to the fore when the instrumentation is stripped back somewhat – songs like 'Silhouettes Of You', 'Unchanged And Alone', 'Changing Of The Guard' and 'The Final Page' are exquisite, each syllable fulfilled with genuine intimacy. 'When We Were Young', with a Doobie Brothers Funk vibe running through it (backing vocals by former Doobie Michael McDonald) is uncharacteristically commercial for Harman, but sonically addictive nonetheless. The haunting 'Person Of Interest', the supplicatory 'Lend Me Your Love' and the heart-wrenching 'Lonely Like Me' complete this outstanding opus.

I truly believe everyone should experience the music of Harman; it's entrancing, enlightening and highly emotive. However, enough of my superlatives. The last words should belong to Jo Harman herself; she says, "I've only ever tried to be me, and that's what 'People We Become' is. It's me."

Dave Crompton

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