Eliza Neals, 10,000 Feet Below. Album Review.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 9/10

Sometimes it takes scouring the very depths to come up above ground and be seen as the true star that you are; the height varies of course, some only have to plunge a couple of yards and they are doomed to never return, their ego, their blasé approach to life marking them out as ones who just don’t understand the Blues or the feeling of trying to better what was already seemingly perfect. For those that head 10,000 Feet Below the surface, who truly get to grips with their thoughts of pushing themselves beyond the expected, further than the ordinary, then that couple of miles journey is nothing; especially if it means soaring higher than ever.

Eliza Neals takes the Blues above the clouds and joins a growing number of artists who have made the genre so insistent of being more than relevant in the 21st Century, who have captured the core ideal of the laid down law of post 1970s Armageddon and made the songs and the lyrics deep and dirty again, who have made every step along the Blues highway something of a thrill ride and the era between 1970s failed revolution and the turn of the century feel as though it thankfully was a minor detour, an experiment with a type of fame the genre was seriously not prepared to be inspired by.

Alongside the likes of Beth Hart and Joanne Shaw Taylor, Eliza Neals is a woman of outstanding virtue who has held up the new dawn, the second coming of the genre as one that is not only powerful, rich and supple, but to whom is the perfect and natural successor to those who put recorded Blues on the map and before the over abundant decay that was all too down and beyond redemption; the path taken by Ms. Neals is one that sings of glory, of pain, of wonderful beaten sarcasm and generous fulfilment, one that is unmistakably brilliant in the hands of a woman with passion on her side.

10,000 Feet Below pulls in the listener from the very start, the artist unafraid to explore sensuality, providing a detailed map of her own experiences and thoughts which guide the listener from the depths and out blinking in the sun of realisation, Ms. Neals is not only living in the harmony of her journey, she positively lights the way with full beams blazing.

In tracks such as You Ain’t My Dog No More, Hard Killing Floor, Cold Cold Night and Another Lifetime, Ms. Neals, with incredible thoroughbred panache aided by the likes of Howard Glazer and Paul Nelson on guitar and Demarcus Sumter on drums, especially on the dramatic feel of Hard Hitting Floor, the pounding beat of Ms. Neals is elevated, increased to the point of ecstatic release, a marvel of lyrical cool.

Ms. Neals brings the listener to a point where the body shakes and the mind welcomes the daylight, there is only one way to go when you hit 10,000 Feet Below and that is to aim for the stars.

Ian D. Hall