Ana Popovic announces stunning new album "Power" and March 2023 UK Tour.
- Written by: Rock Metal Machine
- Category: Latest Fireworks Magazine News
PRE-ORDER CD, VINYL & DIGITAL https://anapopovic.com/store
MARCH 2023 UK TOUR WITH SPECIAL GUEST TOBY LEE TICKETS AVAILABLE FROM https://anapopovic.com/tour
Internationally renowned guitarist Ana Popovic has built her career on defining and describing, on her own terms, the essence of American music, simultaneously pushing limits, bending genres, and reinventing her music and herself with each new record.
Not surprisingly, she can claim any number of notable accolades and achievements from the highest quarters of the music industry. She's shown her commitment to celebrating her guitar-driven, eclectic music style through consistent touring, awards, and recognition for the past 25 years. In the process, she's emerged as one of the most thoughtful, dynamic, and committed performers in modern songwriting and guitar.
Ana's new album, “Power,” due for release on May 5, 2023, by ArtisteXclusive Records, brings those dynamics to the fore and, in the process, turns this set of songs into both a powerful and personal tale of survival through faith, determination and tenacity. They were spawned from a decidedly tricky set of circumstances that tested Ana's devotion to making music and her perseverance.
Ana embarks on a UK tour from 8-12 March, taking in Chester, The Live Rooms (March 8), Stroud, The Subscription Rooms (March 9), London, O2 Islington Academy (March 10), and Southampton, The Brook (March 12). Tickets are available from https://anapopovic.com/tour. Special guest is Toby Lee.
“Power” symbolizes unity. The album cover art depicts two holding hands, black and white, is what this world needs. It's the power, and it's the force that's going to move this world forward. Without that power, there wouldn't have been so much remarkable music today, ideas, and reforms. And indeed, not this record. This story is about friendship and embracing yourself with everything life throws at you.
"In the fall of 2020, while the world was dealing with Covid, I found myself in a dire and devastating situation,” says Ana. “I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Having lost my mother three years before the same illness, my world just crumbled. My family had just built a beautiful new home in Manhattan Beach, California. It seemed that everything we had looked forward to, suddenly came to a crashing halt.”
"It left me with so many uncertainties. We didn't know what to do,” continues Ana. “Should we move back to Europe? Should I abandon my music career and simply stop performing? I didn't know what choices I had or what path I should take."
Her bass player and musical director, Buthel, gave her the support and encouragement she needed.
"You can't retire! You're born for this," he told her. "We've got work to do. We need to touch people with our music." "He simply has that gift, Ana says; he can build people up!"
Buthel was there for me,” recalls Ana. “He took care of the band, oversaw the music, and even chose wigs and hats with me, encouraging my new look, and our new sound while helping me through every difficult day on the road. This record brought my spirit the salvation it needed, and ultimately, the music and my '64 Fender Stratocaster saved my life. I'm convinced now more than ever that guitars CAN save lives."
Not surprisingly, then, several songs were spawned from emotions Ana felt in a profoundly personal way. She describes the relentless drive of "Doin' This" as an expression of the joy of creating something to make people happy. "In my case, it's music," she says.
"From the moment a guitar is made in the factory, to the point where I get that instrument, put the band together, arrange the material, record the songs, press it and get it out to the world, we can brighten their day. It feeds my passion and brings me purpose. Chris Coleman's thunderous drumming brings this track to life, while the backing vocalists add their own touch of gospel and soul. I can't wait to play this one live."
The striking and dynamic “Queen of The Pack” is assertive in another way. "My band calls me 'The Boss Lady,' and it's funny to me because I don't feel that way at all," Ana maintains. "But fronting a great band — one that has a reputation of being a great band fuelled by great players — always needs to live up to that renowned reputation. So, it's my job to ensure we maintain that high bar. Fronting a band or any group of people can be very demanding. You want to be their friend, but at the same time, you need them to respect you as a leader and a front person. That's especially true when you're a woman in a male-dominated world." Or, as the decidedly pointed lyric insists, crack your whip, you're the Queen of the pack, lick your wounds and never look back, get your team back on track.
The boldly assertive “Rise Up!” transforms that singular stance into a larger and more universal perspective. Although this riveting anthem may not be an original song, the arrangements were altered to help convey a forceful message about the need for change and bringing justice to those communities that have been underserved and marginalized by society. "Mankind has only come so far, but we still have miles to go," Ana suggests. "We need to fix what's left to be fixed. We must do better! Don't stand in the way of progress. Don't turn a blind eye to injustice and the people that need our love and support. Support inclusiveness and unity. That's what this song is all about."
Given that forthright approach, its little wonder Ana's music continues to have such an indelible impact. Described as "one helluva guitar player" by Bruce Springsteen and has received nominations for eight Blues Music Awards. She's appeared on the covers of Vintage Guitar and Guitar Player magazines. Earlier releases, “Can You Stand the Heat” and “Unconditional,” were "Pick-Of-The-Week" by USA Today and given prominent airplay on NPR. In addition, most of Ana's albums have climbed to the Top Five of the Billboard Blues Charts and continue to receive regular airplay on radio stations worldwide.
In addition, she and her six-piece band continue to tour relentlessly, having shared stages with B.B. King, Gary Clark Jr., Jeff Beck, Joe Bonamassa, and many others.
Ana was initially introduced to the blues by her father, a storied musician in Belgrade. She took up guitar as a teenager and formed her first band, Hush, in 1995. She started the Ana Popovic Band in 2000 and never stopped touring. She proudly states that she has the best job in the world, and it's the only job I ever had." Ana recorded her debut album, also named Hush, in 1999 and subsequently moved to the Netherlands to study jazz guitar and other musical pursuits at The Conservatory of Music. Now affiliated with ArtisteXclusive Records, she claims no less than twelve albums in her storied catalogue.
Well positioned among today's blues elite, Ana's confidence and credibility continue unabated. "Once I found myself back on my feet, everything instantly crystalized for me," she reflects. "I was able to embrace myself, reinvent myself, both my appearance and my sound. I'm ready to keep celebrating life through music. That's where I am now, and happily, I don't want to look back."
1. Rise Up! (4:45)
2. Power Over Me (3:42)
3. Doin’ This (3:38)
4. Luv’n Touch (4:09)
5. Queen Of The Pack (3:28)
6. Strong Taste (3:35)
7. Recipe Is Romance (4:12)
8. Deep Down (3:52)
9. Ride It (3:51)
10. Flicker & Flame (2:41)
11. Tun My Luck (2:24)
All songs written, composed, and arranged by Ana Popovic and Buthel
Except ‘Rise Up!’ written by Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Tia Sillers, and Mark Selby
‘Flicker N Flame’ written by Ana Popovic, Buthel, Sarah Zimmermann and Justin Davis
‘Ride it’ written by Ana Popovic, Buthel, and Jerry Kelley
Ana Popovic: vocals, slide - electric - and acoustic guitar
Buthel: bass guitar, backing vocals
Chris Coleman: drums (track 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11) percussion (track 3) ending tribal drums (track 1)
Jerry Kelley: drums (track 1, 8) b-vocals (tracks 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
Michele Papadia: Hammond organ, keys (track 1, 2, 7, 8, 9,)
Brandon ‘Showtime’ Bland: Hammond organ (track 3, 4, 6)
Jeremy Thomas: Hammond organ, keys (track 2, 5)
Joe Foster: rhythm guitar (track 4, 7)
Jeff Bates: rhythm guitar (track 4) string arrangements (track 7, 11)
Claudio Giovagnoli: saxophone (track 2, 5, 7,) horn arrangements (track 7)
Davide Ghidoni: trumpet (track 2, 5, 7) horn arrangements (track 5)
Mark Mullins: trombone (track 2, 4, 7, 9) horn arrangements (track 4, 7, 9)
Brad Walker: tenor sax (track 2, 4, 7, 9)
Bobby Campo: trumpet (track 2, 4, 7, 9)
Tasha Parker: b-vocals (track 3, 4, 7, 8)
Noel Burns: b-vocals (track 3, 4, 7, 8)
Nia Kelley: b-vocals (track 1)
JaDell Burns: additional arrangements (track 2)
Luuk van Meurs: additional arrangements (track 8)
Wednesday 8 March 2023
Stroud, The Subscription Rooms
Thursday 9 March 2023
London, O2 Islington Academy
Friday 10 March 2023
Southampton, The Brook
Sunday 12 March 2023