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Sharon Lewis & Texas Fire

The Real Deal

(Delmark; US: 25 Oct 2011; UK: Import)

Picture yourself in a dark basement bar, sitting at a small round table, only enough room for your drink and your date’s. Her purse is dangling loosely from her seatback while the ice melts into your whisky and cigarette smoke drifts into the air. Now turn on The Real Deal. Feels right, doesn’t it? “Music could be so joyful without going to hell!” Sharon Lewis declares in the liner notes to her debut album with Delmark Records. You can practically hear her scream it in between songs.


She calls herself “the real deal” and that is certainly true – you can feel the honesty pouring from her veins on most songs – especially her original tunes like “What’s Really Goin’ On” and “Angel”, which open and close the record, respectively. Unfortunately, the cover tracks she chose, though, of course, sung with soul, are poorly executed. The reggae twist on Bill Wither’s “Ain’t No Sunshine” is an interesting idea, but the band toys around too much and Lewis doesn’t hit the notes or pull on the right strings, a similar affliction hits her take on Van Morrison’s “Crazy Love”. Despite those few missed connections, Lewis & Texas Fire still managed to create an album that is full of soul, and deep rooted in the blues – whether or not purists agree. It’s just like she says, “It’s all blues if it comes from the heart.”

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Jonathan Kosakow has been a regular contributor for PopMatters since 2009, and became Associate Events Editor two years later. He contributes to Glide Magazine's Hidden Track blog (www.hiddentrackblog.com), both on his own and as a member of the editorial collective Three Grown Men. His writing has also appeared on Relix.com and Jambands.com, but most of it can be found on the floor of his apartment or stashed away in files on his computer. Jonathan recently earned his Graduate Certificate in Creative Writing from the University of Denver, and does his best to be an active member of the music and writing community in the Denver/Boulder area. He is the Director of Operations at the Boulder-based company Eco Vessel, and is the co-founder of the music-related website NoiseReport.net, and the beer-related blog beermadeclear.com, both currently in production.


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