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Crystal Shawanda

Category : Calgary Bluesfest
Aug 29, 2020

SONG: Hound Dog

Acclaimed JUNO Award winning, Nashville based singer/songwriter, returns with hotly anticipated new blues album on the heels of her smash blues debut; looking ahead to electrifying tour dates.

"On VooDoo Woman, the band is a powder keg, the singer is a blowtorch, and the artistry is positively explosive."
Downbeat, Editors' Picks, October 2018

"Based on VooDoo Woman, it's pretty obvious that Shawanda made a wise choice in moving to the blues... fans will be eagerly awaiting the next one."
Blues Bytes, Oct/Nov 2018

An acclaimed, powerhouse performer for whom the adjective might have been invented, Crystal Shawanda hits 2019 with absolute momentum.

Her gritty, soul-drenched 2018 release VooDoo Woman found the Canadian-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter hooking up musically with her long-time love, the blues, earning raves (with Big City Blues Magazine enthusing that Shawanda "brings majestic power and range" to the genre) while peaking at #11 on the RMR Contemporary Blues Chart, where the album hunkered down for 39 weeks.

Never mind that Shawanda had cemented her status as a country star with five JUNO Award nominations and one win (2013's Indigenous Music Album of the Year for Just Like You), the 2009 CCMA for Female Artist of the Year plus a pile of other notable nods and much love at radio including a Top 20 hit on the Billboard Country Albums chart.

Shawanda, fearless as she is brilliant, found her true voice on VooDoo Woman. This spring, she and husband/musical collaborator Dewayne Strobel unleash Blame It On The Sugar, their hotly anticipated second blues album and sixth overall, featuring eight original songs and four scorching covers. Watch for it in May.

True to form, the new album is buoyed by Shawanda's colossal voice, which - when not flatly rejecting the concept of gravity - imbues every lyric with thrilling resonance. Or, as Jazz Weekly memorably put it, Shawanda taps her "wonderfully raspy snarl."

Raised on the Wikwemikong reserve on an island in Ontario, Shawanda was encouraged by her parents to sing, play guitar, and ultimately to pursue country music. But her brother introduced her to the blues. "Singing the blues is like letting a bird out of a cage," she says. "This feels like what I am supposed to be doing."

Astute observers will recall that among many achievements, including (but not limited to) ecstatically received marquee tours, a major label deal, universal critical acclaim, a fervent fan following, and widespread industry support, Shawanda was also the subject of a reality show, "Crystal: Living the Dream" on the CMT television network.

These days, Shawanda really is living the dream. "The whole time I was singing Patsy Cline on stage, I was singing Etta James at home," she says. "When I sing the blues, I can let loose and really be who I am as a vocalist and song stylist."

That's an event simply not to be missed.