Andrea Marr’s first full length soul album Natural is a joyous celebration of the music she has always loved – harking back to the glorious sounds of Stax and Motown-era soul, delivered with her own distinctive voice and style.
Natural, Andrea’s 7th release, is an album that gives you the best of her expressive vocals and passionate, heartfelt songwriting, with nine originals appearing on the album. Natural features Andrea’s 8 piece soul band The Funky Hitmen – who released the well-received EP Sass and Brass in 2013. This is the full album of what was started back then – and although some of the players have moved on, the sound remains the same – soulful, dynamic and uplifting.
Natural opens with the high energy soul powerhouse ‘Force Of Nature’ a song written about relationships that hit you like a hurricane – and how good that can feel. Marr’s arrangement of the Aretha Franklin classic ‘Rock Steady’ follows – one of her favourite Aretha songs and a joyride for soul fans with the band letting loose toward the end.
‘Mama Got It Wrong Sometimes Too’ was written for Andrea’s mother who passed away in 2012. The song expresses the lack of understanding between mothers and daughters and the acknowledgement that Andrea will do what her mama told her to do – even though Mama got it wrong sometimes. This track is especially dear to Andrea as she sang it to her mum not long before her death, who cried hearing her say ‘thank you mama’ in the song.
The gospel R&B ‘Grateful’ recalls a life-threatening cancer scare Andrea had a few years ago, which left her truly grateful for the simple things in life. This song has been one of Andrea’s best received originals – sung in churches all over Melbourne and covered by several young fans.
‘That’s Where Love Ends’ was written for Andrea’s father, who passed away in 2011. A dance-hall ballad feel straight out of the sixties with its soaring horns and vocals – it’s a song that her bass playing, singer father would have loved.
The cheeky blues based ‘Let’s Take It To The Bedroom’ – a crowd favourite at live shows is followed by the equally sassy ‘Credit’ – about young guys still living with their mothers – while looking for their next sugar mama.
The Marva Whitney classic ‘What Do I Have To Do’ featuring Andrea’s monster horn section (featuring a searing trumpet solo from Sean Rankin) is a reinvention of the original while still being very respectful of it. Marr says “I had no chance of hitting those notes when I first attempted this song five years ago – so I challenged my vocal coaching skills to reach those notes and was so proud of myself when the notes came out in the right key!”
‘Snakes’ is a song Andrea wrote about people with forked tongues. “Sometimes you write songs to remind yourself never to make those mistakes again” she says, while the cheeky ‘Real Good Man’ was written for her husband as an anniversary present one year.
The album finishes with the mellow and melancholy ‘Sticks and Stones,’ which talks about negative words that leave you bruised but determined not to be broken.
Check out Andrea and the band tear into the Aretha Franklin classic ‘Rock Steady’ – the 2nd track on Natural.
Andrea and her big band will be launching the album on Tuesday 31st October from 8pm at the Flemington Bowls Club (free entry), followed by a headline performance at theWangaratta Festival of Jazz & Blues on Saturday November 4, from 10.30pm at the Merriwa Park Blues Marquee. Natural is out now. www.andreamarr.com/music.php
Tuesday 31st October
MBAS House Of Blues
Flemington Bowls Club
407-411 Racecourse Rd, Flemington
Free entry, from 8pm
Saturday 4th November
Wangaratta Festival of Jazz & Blues
Merriwa Park Blues Marquee