Are you ready for some trivia? How many blues artists have come from Serbia? Or to be more precise, who is the leading female blues musician to be born in Belgrade, Serbia, Yugoslavia? The answer is Ana Popovic.
She was born into a musical family and at a young age decided to make the guitar her instrument of choice. By the age of 19, she was opening for Junior Wells. During the course of her career, she has released five studio, two live, and two DVD albums. All are fine examples of a blues/rock fusion sound.
Popovic is a somewhat under the radar artist in The United States as she has been more active in Europe than North America.
Her latest release is a live DVD recorded at Trasimeno Lake in Castiglione Del Largo, Italy, and is appropriately titled, An Evening At Trasimeno Lake. The sound quality and the visuals are excellent. My only complaint is at times they switch the angles too often. I would have preferred longer and more close up shots of Popovic playing her guitar, which borders on the spectacular.
The DVD extras include two acoustic performances from a different show, which are nice counterpoints to the electric material of the main concert, plus an extended interview.
Popovic is backed by an eight-piece band whose members tend to rotate in and out from song to song. The basic backing band consists of drums, bass, and keyboards. She carries one female backing singer to fill in the sound.
She may veer into jazz and rock territory upon occasion but she is at heart a modern day blues/fusion artist. Her guitar virtuosity does not take a back seat to anyone, male or female. Her fast hands and the clarity of her tone all make her one of the leading proponents of the blues working today.
Popovic has close to a perfect blues voice. It is interesting that she speaks with an Eastern European accent, but it is nowhere to be found when performing. She also sings in perfect English.
From the opening notes of “Wrong Woman,” it is a blues and guitar delight. “How’d You Learn To Shake It Like That” is the blues at its toughest and most intense. “My daddy was a preacher boy/my mother was an alley cat.”
She shows she is adept at a slide guitar style as well. “Nothing Personal” takes the sound in a slightly different direction as she adds a small brass section to fill out the sound and move it in a rock direction.
Ana Popovic proves there’s a new woman on the blues block, and the guys will have to move over and make room. An Evening At Trasimeno Lake is a delight for any fan of the blues and the guitar.