Husky-throated singer/guitar maestro lays it all out there.
Bex Marshall kicks out some raunchy, sashaying, gospel-inflected, guitar-goddess-driven, rocking blues on her latest full-length, House of Mercy. This is a terrific album from start to finish, full of unexpected moments, ranging from the gospel-rock styling of the title track to the stomping closer, "Guilty". Marshall isn't a belter, but her voice is able to curdle and moan expressively, and her fingerpicking and string-bending are impressive. Slow tunes? Got 'em ("Rattlesnake", "Barry's Song"). Uptempo booty shakers? Got those too ("Love", "Bourbon Street"). An array of instruments flesh out the basic guitar-drums-bass sound, with everything from harmonica on "Bite Me" to dobro and mandolin on the title track to banjo on the excellent chug-a-lug of "Tough Times". This is boogie-woogie roadhouse stomp at its best, elevated by precise musicianship, gutsy vocals and Marshall's relentless unwillingness to do the same thing over and over. Give a listen and put yourself at her mercy. You'll be glad you did.