When two accomplished artists pool their resources to form a new musical duo, it’s pretty hard to not sit up and pay attention. This certainly proves to be the case with The Blue And Gold, a Vancouver-based country-blues duo comprised of JUNO-nominated and WCMA ‘Blues Artist of the Year’ Ndidi O, and folk-roots guitarist/banjo player Trish Klein. Having performed previously as part of The Be Good Tanyas, and also with Allison Russell in Po’ Girl, Klein is no stranger to the music scene, and together with Ndidi O seeks to celebrate the musical artistry and legacy of original female blues pioneers.
The self-titled debut album from The Blue And Gold (scheduled for release on April 29th) shall be a musical homage celebrating the achievements of many black female artists – those who were early pioneers within the country and blues traditions. Just last month, the duo released their first teaser of new music, with a simply stunning, slow-paced version of “Honey In The Rock,” a gospel blues masterpiece originally recorded by Blind Mamie Forehand back in 1927. And just a couple of weeks ago, they followed with a fascinating reinterpretation of “When The Levee Breaks” – their focus geared more towards a slower version of the original Memphis Minnie version – itself a far cry from the bluesy rock version made famous by Led Zeppelin (and the gritty roots version most recently covered by Ontario duo Harrow Fair).
“Mamie Forehand was born blind in 1895, Alabama. She is one of the earliest known professional female country blues and gospel singers, [and] an active singer on the streets of Memphis in the 1920s performing a genre now referred to as street corner or storefront gospel,” offers Trish, detailing the inspiration behind their first track, before turning the attention to the current single. “Memphis Minnie was one of the earliest blues guitarists on recordings and one of the most prolific musicians of her era. She wrote and recorded over 200 songs, and was an intricate guitarist and innovator.”
With eleven recordings to be discovered on their debut album, expect to find songs delivered with authenticity, soulfulness and grit, including other reinterpretations of works from a variety of female pioneers (including a Buffy Sainte-Marie cover).
Photo Credit: Ariella Horvath