When it comes to music I can still appreciate a good surprise. Most of the time, I'm quite content with my life being fairly uneventful. When the majority of past surprises have been unpleasant, you gain an appreciation for anything resembling mundane. But with an overwhelming amount of music these days being predictable to the point of nausea almost anything even a little bit surprising is like a breath of fresh air.
Although I had already heard the title track of Candye Kane's 2005 release White Trash Girl and enjoyed it immensely, listening to the entire album was an eye opener. I already knew she was more than capable of singing big and brassy blues' tunes, but what I hadn't foreseen was the diversity of song styling she was capable of rendering and her refreshing attitude towards life.
If you go to her website or buy her disc you can find out about her life in detail, but in a nutshell she's managed to raise two children on her own, find the courage to risk following her dreams, and retain a healthy understanding and respect for who she is and where she came from. If half the so-called celebrities who claim to be musicians had an iota of this woman's integrity, they might have enough respect for themselves and their music to be more than cogs in a marketing director's wheels.
Her music reflects both her honesty about who she is and her amazing ability to laugh at herself while never once diminishing herself as a person. From the title track "White Trash Girl", where she laughs at all the stereotypes about poor single women, to "Work What You Got", an admonishment to her fellow women to make the best of their situations and the gifts they were given in, to her cover of Bull Moose Jackson's "Big Fat Mamas are Back In Style" where she glories in the fact that she's definitely not a petite.
But what I found most impressive about her, which was the pleasant surprise, was the variety of music she not only performs, but also has the ability to write. She sites Jerry Lee Lewis as one of her old favourites, so "Work What You Got" being reminiscent of "Great Balls Of Fire" isn't too surprising. Her masterful delivery and timing during the song make it a whole lot of fun. It's her ability to do the non-traditional blues/rock and roll song that makes her disc much more interesting than the average disc of this type.
"It Must Be Love" is a great example of her ability to do Big-Band/Show tune type music with more panache and style then I've heard in ages. From the swing of the music, to the horn section, right down to the call and response of the background chorus of male singers, it sounds like it was written in another era. But she also makes it work as a contemporary piece with the lyrical content and the power of her personality.