AXS ENTERTAINMENT / ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT / MUSIC
Atlanta Blues Examiner
A delightful surprise: Tullie Brae
You all know that since I started writing these articles about 6 years ago, I have had the opportunity to review a lot of great shows. I hate to write negative reviews so they are seldom about performances that are sub-par. Out of those many great performances, only a few blew me completely away at first sight. Bobby Messano, Jeff Jensen, Beverly "Guitar" Watkins, JP Blues and Victor Wainwright come to mind.
Add to that list one more name, who just may be my favorite female blues performer so far, Tullie Brae.
This was not a familiar name to me before my husband and I saw her Friday night at Darwin's. We went because we were invited by her associate, Jayme Fallon. Thank you, Jayme! This is why you should go to see people you never heard of. Sometimes you get a truly wonderful surprise.
Brae is immediately striking. She is tall and beautiful and she moves and dresses like a rock star. Dressed in tight black pants, a black t-shirt with a silver cross on the front, and a top hat, she was in constant motion. We agreed that she reminded us of Keith Richards if Richards was a beautiful blonde. It makes sense when you see her.
She had a great band, too, which is absolutely essential when you have a strong and versatile front person.
So now, with all that going for her, what sort of musician is Tullie Brae, really?
The answer is an exciting and powerful one. She plays the Hammond organ and guitar, bangs drums and sings with verve and confidence in a voice perfectly suited to blues and roots music.
The things that make a good musician a great performer are the ability to engage the audience visually and through sound. When an entertainer is having a good time the audience probably will too. When a musician can have real conversations with an audience, that helps too. Tullie Brae has all of that. Her own original songs are powerful as well. She performed a couple of songs that had a very strong anti-domestic violence stance that particularly impressed me. In addition, she did great covers of "Dust My Broom" and "Ball and Chain" as well as just a lot of very good, fun music.
Tullie Brae is a welcome addition to my list of favorite blues musicians. Check her out!