When: Sun., March 17, 7 p.m. 2013
Milwaukee singer Jeannie Holliday has a supple voice with an impressive range—her melismatic flurries, falsetto cries, and deep-alto descents sometimes make her sound like a pop or neosoul artist, but her emotional honesty and blunt, sometimes confrontational storytelling place her firmly in the southern soul-blues camp. Her recent five-track sampler Bare N’ It All (Soother Entertainment) consists primarily of covers, and it’s her most club- and radio-friendly outing to date. She wraps R. Kelly’s “Love Letter” in sex-kitten seductiveness without wrecking its teen-dream wholesomeness, and her understated fervor on the inspirational “On the Ocean,” by Detroit R&B star K’Jon, takes it to church in a way that not even he did. On her version of Miki Howard’s “Love Under New Management,” Holliday sounds simultaneously breathy, battle-scarred, and triumphant—a combination that evokes the wounded neofeminist aggression of her previous CD, 2010’s You Can’t Blame Me. The highlight of Bare N’ It All, though, is the title tune, a Holliday original where she sings the role of a prison convict fighting off despair with righteous outrage and spiritual conviction—it’s both the bluesiest and the most sanctified song here. This show, headlined by Texas soul-blues singer Donnie Ray, is a 70th birthday party for veteran local comedian, dancer, and promoter Mr. Lee; dinner is at 6 PM, an hour before the music. —David Whiteis Donnie Ray headlines; Jeannie Holliday, Nellie “Tiger” Travis, Joe Barr, Sydney Joe Qualls, and the Motown Tribute Revue open.
Price: $45, $50 VIP tickets