It is taking me longer to absorb this CD, but each time I listen to it, and hear more subtle detail, it gets better. Her earlier work was more straight-forward, obvious blues or jazz or rock, and thus easier to appreciate.
The songs she has written here show more maturity and a fresh ability to look inside herself for deeper feeling. To my ears the 'funky' tracks ten and eleven are the weakest, but they are the only ones not written by her.
My favourite tracks are the softly melodic 'More Real', 'Blind for Love', more passionate 'Blues for M' and the gently swinging 'The Only Reason', and 'Part of Me (Lullaby for Luuk)' is just sublime.
I keep thinking of Maria Mulduar and 'Midnight at the Oasis' when listening to the 'Blind for Love' track, but when I compared them directly the difference is vast. It is just the warm mood and feeling of comfort that is the same.
The band is tight and professional, the sound is reasonably well balanced with the trademark smooth bass and superb guitar work, and all the arrangements are subtle and intelligent. Ana has produced an album in her own unique style, and yet different again from her earlier work, and I look forward to continuing to enjoy it as much as her others.
Only four stars because I think there are a couple of weak tracks (10 and 11) not up to her usual high standards. They might have been slipped in for commercial reasons. Others may well like them a lot - they might grow on me too, what do I know?
I notice Amazon quote a long delivery time, but the first UK marketplace vendor supplied it next day, and cheaper.
Having listened to it a few more times while on the bus and tube, and compared it with her previous CDs, I've worked out why I'm not so keen on this one. The balance of the mix is not quite right; the drums are too prominent and the beautiful bass is too subdued. I want to listen to Ana and her guitar and the rest of the band, not the boring snare drum trampling all over everything.
Time for a re-mix.
Compare her earlier work; Hush!
, Comfort to the Soul
, and Still Making History