By Martine Ehrenclou
Internationally acclaimed artists Annika Chambers and Paul DesLauriers joined forces to create a kinetic soul-blues rocking album, Good Trouble, out via VizzTone Label Group.
Both multi award-winners, powerhouse vocalist Chambers and Canadian blues rocker DesLauriers met for the second time in 2019 at a recording session and got married in August of that year. This is their first effort as a team, and the result is a hip-shaking, rocking album with a conscience.
“Think Mavis Staples meets The Rolling Stones,” says Annika about Good Trouble. The album is good trouble indeed.
From Canada, Paul DesLauriers is an esteemed guitarist, singer and songwriter. He met his match in Annika Chambers, who could so easily dominate any record with her dynamic voice and swagger. But DesLauriers holds his own and then some. He’s the winner of Entertainer of the Year (2016, 2017) and Guitarist of the Year (2013, 2019) by the Maple Blues Awards. Touring internationally, he’s performed at major blues festivals all over the world. You’d need that kind of street cred to record with the formidable Chambers, who is the 2022 Blues Music Award Winner for Soul-Blues Artist of the Year, after winning the same award in 2019.
As newlyweds, Annika and Paul initiated Good Trouble during the pandemic, joined by guitarist JP Soars, and drummer Chris Peet in his Florida studio. This tight unit creates a rip-roaring mix of soul, blues and rock & roll with heart.
With rich and bold vocals, Chambers is a great match for Paul’s remarkable guitar work. You can feel their connection throughout the 11 tracks with each playing off the other in call and answer sequences with a certain musical fit. With three originals and eight covers by Joe South, George Harrison, Little Willie John and Mountain, the song choices serve each of them well.
Kicking off the set is “You’ve Got To Believe,” a soul blues rocker with Annika’s vocals front and center. This number launches a theme of self-empowerment and standing up for what you believe in to instill change. There’s raw energy in this original tune and the next “Stand Up,” a funky call to action with Paul’s fluid and crystalline guitar riffs. A couple of room shakers.
Slowing things down a bit to get real is “Heavy Load,” a moving gospel ballad about racism with Annika digging deep. Slide guitar weaves in and out of her vocals as she throws herself into this somber number. You can envision her singing the National Anthem that originally kicked off her career.
DesLauriers, a great singer in his own right, works his magic on vocals and guitar on “Need Your Love So Bad.” Chambers sings about needing someone to hold her tight and you will, without a doubt, believe her. A master class in conveying authentic emotion, this is a tough, sultry blues tune.
“Mississippi Queen” (Leslie West) gets the Chambers/DesLauriers workout. Fairly faithful to the original, this rocker reaches for the Mountain version with DesLauriers’ own wicked spin on the guitar-driven track.
A fuzzed up guitar-driven blues rocker “Need More Power” closes Good Trouble. It’s almost a meditative jam with Annika in fine form, improvising the lyrics and vamping. Paul’s gritty riffs create an interesting mix of gospel and blues-rock. You’ll want to see them both perform this live. Clocking in at just under ten minutes, you could easily see this broadening into a longer jam on stage. One of the best tracks on the album that allows both superstars to shine.
Watch “Stand Up”
Order link for Good Trouble Here
Annika Chambers & Paul DesLauriers website Here