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CD REVIEW -- Lindsay Beaver
GLT blues radio


Tough As Love

Alligator Records

Lindsay Beaver CD art

By Chris Edwards

Lindsay Beaver is a softie.

But, only if you get to meet her one on one.  Lindsay the real person is much more complex than the Lindsay who just released her first CD under her own name and who just completed a U.S. tour in support of the project.  The real Lindsay loves Jazz, Country, R&B, Rock & Roll and of course, the Blues.  The real Lindsay loves Billie Holiday and Chrissie Hynde.  She can appreciate a classic opera aria cadenza and a great thrashing punk band.  Beaver is full of talent, chops (vocally and on drums) and has a unique style.  So why is she so tough and mad on Tough as Love?

Somebody’s done this lady wrong and is in BIG trouble.  The opening track tells you the perp is evil.  The other CD titles tell you Beaver’s been hurt.  She’s not sticking around. The man’s been mean to her and is too cold to cry. Lindsay calls him a fool, packs her bags, hops in her truck and she be gone! (she might send a card).  On the bright side, Beaver’s got love. She’s not afraid of it and if the next dude can handle that, she’s ready to rock.  That about sums up the concept of this CD; it’s very straight forward you see. The rest is all terrific down home Blues. Tracks with monster feel to them. Lindsay’s voice is aggressive, strong and well assured.  Yeah, she’s been hurt, but she ain’t no victim.  She’s calling out the evil doer and stomping him into the ground.

Lindsay is joined in the effort by her guitarist, Brad Stivers and bassist, Josh Williams. They expertly follow her wherever she wants to go.  Straight Blues, Rockabilly, Ballads, West Coast Swing, it’s all here.  All played with technical aplomb and marvelous feel.  The result is a CD that’s full of anguish that makes the listener feel great.  Repeated listenings only amplify this feeling.  The great Marcia Ball lends her considerable piano skills to, “Too Cold to Cry” and “You Hurt Me”.  Her pulsating chords on the former track drives the song in just the right way.  Ball’s contributions on, “You Hurt Me” turns this 6/8 ballad into a very sexy piece in spite of the haunting lyrics.  Dennis Gruenling provides some snarling harmonica to the opening track, “You’re Evil” and then comes back with a real swampy sound on,” I Got Love If You Want It”. Red Casey, Eve Monsees and Laura Chavez add some extra guitar power and Matt Farrell delivers on piano on four tracks.  Sax Gordon, a.k.a. Gordon Beadle, drops some cool lines in cut time on, “What A Fool You’ve Been”.  Finally, there’s Beaver’s drumming.  She one of those rare stand-up drummers you’ve heard so much about.  She rolls in vintage style; a ‘60s era Rogers bass drum and one 12” tom. Her snare is an early 60s chrome over brass Ludwig Supraphonic 400. Add one crash/ride cymbal and a hi hat and Lindsay is ready to go.  And go she does; switching from classic shuffles to swing, through cut time and slow 6/8s. This lady grooves through styles and tempos like butter.

Tough as Love is wonderful debut effort. The CD is a collection of stories of pain, hurt, resilience and strength.  That duality is present in almost every great Blues record.  The lyrics speak to Lindsay’s sensitivity. Her voice and the music speak to her outer grit.  And isn’t that the case with most tough folks you know?  See, I told you Lindsay Beaver was a softie.

Chris Edwards is a drummer and percussionist who’s been a part of the Chicago music community for over 30 years.  His articles, reviews and photographs have been published in Modern Drummer magazine, Bassplayer magazine and various blogs and websites on the net. Edwards is a long time member of the Chicago Blues Society, The Jazz Institute of Chicago and The Percussive Arts Society.


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