If you think white people can't sing the blues, you haven't heard 28-year-old Boston native Susan Tedeschi. Tedeschi is an immensely talented vocalist who's often compared to Janis Joplin and Bonnie Raitt, and rightfully so. Her singing is emotionally charged and very engaging on this major label debut.
It doesn't hurt that Tedeschi plays a mean guitar or that her band is a crack bunch, especially when 18-year-old guitar prodigy Sean Costello steps to the fore. Just Won't Burn is a perfect vehicle for Tedeschi's powerful singing.
The CD offers 11 tracks, four by Tedeschi, two by drummer Tom Hambridge, one collaboration between Tedeschi and Hambridge, one by guitarist Adrienne Hayes, and three covers. It opens with Hamridge's "Rock Me Right," a scorching blues rocker that deserves to be a crossover hit. Tedeschi's own songs range from the mellow folk-blues of "Found Someone New" and "Just Won't Burn" to the Delta-blues boogie of "Friar's Point." My favorite is an infectious reggae-blues concoction called "You Need To Be With Me." Also noteworthy is the Hambridge ballad "It Hurt So Bad," which finds Tedeschi singing with such passion you'd swear she's Janis Joplin reincarnated. Tedeschi later invites comparisons to Bonnie Raitt when she tackles John Prine's beautiful "Angel From Montgomery," a tune Raitt helped popularize.
Just Won't Burn is a fine blues album from a young woman who could be playing the arena circuit within a year or two.