Ana Popovic is the perfect example of that “where in the hell did this artist come from?” phenomenon that confounds me on a routine basis these days. I have practically eaten blues-rock guitar music for breakfast everyday since Stevie Ray first unleashed his Texas Flood back in 1983, yet I had not even heard of this Serbian blues-rock guitar goddess until her new DVD arrived in the mail from my friends at MVD Entertainment Group.
Popovic was born in 1976 in the town of Belgrade, former Yugoslavia (now Serbia), and after listening to her father’s nightly jam sessions from a young age, she eventually picked up his guitar at the age of 15 and dove headfirst into the blues. In 1995 she formed her first band, Hush, who quickly became a major success in their home country, even before releasing their debut album, Hometown, in 1998. The following year, Popovic relocated to The Netherlands and signed a record deal with Germany’s Ruf Records that same year, and has gone on to open for such American blues icons as Junior Wells and BB King.
An Evening At Trasimeno Lake was recorded at the Trasimeno Blues Festival, on July 25th, 2009, during Ana Popovic’s Blind For Love tour. The festival stage is located within the walls of a13th century, medieval castle, Rocca Medievale, and these amazing surroundings provide for a truly unique atmosphere for the 5000-plus attendees who were lucky enough to witness the Ana Popovic Band’s impressive performance.
If Bonnie Raitt and Stevie Ray Vaughan had ever had a baby girl together, she would have been Ana Popovic. She is easily one of the best female blues-rock guitarist I have ever seen, and the fact that she also possesses the perfect blues-rock voice makes her a real force in this genre. But as this performance so wonderfully attests, Popovic is by no means just a blues purist. Songs like “Doubt Everyone But Me” really shows off her jazz chops, as well as the fact that she is equally adept on the acoustic guitar, as she is on the electric. Look no further than the title track to her latest album, Blind For Love, or the two solo acoustic bonus tracks to see what I mean.
Like Raitt, Popovic can really throw down with a slide too, and songs like the funky “How’d You Learn To Shake It Like That” or the driving acoustic bonus track “Steal Me Away” are excellent examples for those of you that may still think that blues-rock guitar heroics are strictly for the boys, Popovic’s fiery performance on tracks like “Shadow After Dark,” and “Let Me Love You Babe,” should convince you otherwise.
The DVD comes with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround and PCM stereo mixes and they both sounded very good. The instrument separation and clarity was excellent, and Ana’s superb vocals were up front and in your face. The widescreen picture was very soft and lacking of much detail, but the camera work was excellent. Bonus material included an interview and two solo acoustic tracks, “Blind For Love,” and “Steal Me Away,” which Ana performed outside on the grounds of the Rocca Medievale castle.
One of the most impressive things about Ana Popovic and this DVD is that almost all of the songs performed are originals that she wrote. Where other top guns like Joe Bonamassa and Gary Moore mostly record and perform old blues standards, it is refreshing to see a young artist, especially in this genre, not afraid to record and play their own stuff.
01. Wrong Woman
02. Is That Everything There Is
03. How’d You Learn To Shake It Like That
04. U Complete Me
05. Nothing Personal
06. Shadow After Dark
07. Lives That Don’t Exist
08. Let Me Love You Babe
09. Doubt Everyone But Me
10. Blind For Love
11. Get Back Home To You
12. Recall The Days
13. Love Fever
14. Hold On
Performance – 8/10
Production – 7/10