With Tristan und Isolde La Scala opened its 07/08 new in a new production staged by Patrice Chéreau. In this collaboration Daniel Barenboim and Patrice Chéreau (of whom Daniel Barenboim said: "In Chereau, I found my ideal partner“) fulfil a Wagnerian dream they had been cherishing since 1980. The opera hadn’t been staged at La Scala for over 30 years and was a triumph with over 20 minutes of applause.
Deborah Coleman's Blind Pig debut, I Can't Lose, is a powerful album of great ballads and blues stories, and of course, great guitar playing and singing. Her version of Billie Holiday's "Fine and Mellow" got her a lot of airplay on college and public radio stations around the U.S.
No doubt about it, Deborah Coleman's got chops. Voice, guitar, songwriting: they're all there, and musings as to why this woman hasn't yet achieved crossover success are necessarily uncharitable toward mainstream tastes and predilections. There's no question she could teach a thing or two to all those young axe slingers littering the blues-rock landscape; briefly put, she's better. Coleman seems to be heading in a more contemporary direction with Soft Place to Fall, in contrast to her previous release, 1998's Where Blue Begins. It might be her tastes are changing, or it might be she's making a bid for the mainstream. Unfortunately, the more rock she mixes into her blues, the less powerful the result. For better or worse, the blues are Coleman's strength. However, Soft Place to Fall does boast some incredibly good music, especially on the last few tracks: "So Damn Easy" has the nicest swing and sway to it, "Nothin' to Do with Love" goes straight for the gut, and the album ends on an extremely high note with "The Day It Comes".
Deborah Coleman detected a void in the music stratum and successfully filled it: A lead guitarist/vocalist playing the in the male dominated world of blues-rock. Others like Bonnie Raitt and Marie Muldaur have contributed to varying degrees in the contemporary blues scene (and other styles) but Coleman with her string of five consistently strong albums in only seven years demonstrates that she is serious about her craft and knows her calling as a blueswoman. Livin' on Love combines slow-grind blues pieces, R&B and gutsy rockers with a soulful voice and exemplary guitar playing proving that she's here to stay, not merely passing through.