From the first notes of her band playing an intro worthy of Elvis or James Brown, the crowd at the Bing Crosby Theater were on their feet before Ana Popovic
(pronounced Popovich) even hit the stage. She moved into Ana’s Shuffle and then into the title track of her latest release: Can You Stand The Heat?
Born in Belgrade, Popovic grew up with nightly jam sessions at her house led by her guitar and bass playing father. She also was raised in a house full of old
American Blues vinyl that continue to influence her playing today. Playing a vintage Stratocaster through a Fender Twin Reverb, Popovic asked the crowd in Spokane “one note played correctly is better than sloppy shredding…right?” The roar as she demonstrated her tone answered her question.
The 90 minute set was seamless. Performing with her four piece band, the level of these world class players was stunning. Drummer Tony Coleman is a legend in his own right, playing for decades in BB King’s band. Having played
with virtually every Blues and Rock musician in the world while in BB’s band, Coleman is the perfect logical and musical fit to play with such a rising Blues star as Popovic. With Memphis Bass player John Williams adding funky soulful grooves Popovic has a rhythm section that is unmatched. Steve Malinowski, age 23, on keyboards fills out the incredible sound of this powerful 4 piece unit.
Popvic has not only the chops that has her nominated as the 2014 Best Blues Female Contemporary Artist, and an invitation to the Experience Hendrix 2014 Tribute tour, she has a voice that filled the hall. Her songs are personal, and she engaged the audience with funny stories about several of her songs. All four musicians sang. From beginning to end Popovic rocked the house. She called up a young local Blues guitarist named Forest Govedare for her encore who did a great job to close the show.
This set featured many tracks from her new release as well as her previous releases. From Hot Southern Nights, to Boys Night out, each of her songs are as lyrically strong as they are musically powerful. This show was the first from Blue Sky Productions NW, which is a welcome addition to the music scene in the Pacific Northwest. The Ana Popovic train will be rolling to a venue near you soon.
The band has a packed 2014 tour including shows at Yoshi’s in San Francisco Feb 9th and Denver on Feb 22. She will be performing with Robert Randolph and Buddy Guy at several shows and will be a key addition to the 2014 Experience Hendrix Tour beginning March 9th in Midland, Texas and continuing all over the USA. What could possibly be next for this remarkable guitarist? I am thinking she will be getting a call from Mr. Eric Clapton to join the Crossroads Festival, she has earned it. For more information visit www.anapopovic.com.
Jim Lyons of Lyons Lair Ltd. is a writer, musician, Television Producer and Filmmaker.