Blue Skunk Music

Ever since her arrival on the Aussie blues scene in 1999, multi award-winning soul/blues diva Andrea Marr has gone from strength to strength. Primarily a blues singer, Marr has always demonstrated equal mastery over gospel, R&B and soul, all her recordings exhibiting her commanding versatility across the entire blues spectrum. A five-song EP, Sass & Brass is her follow-up to 2010’s Little Sister Got Soul which was picked up by Chicago’s Blue Skunk label for release to wide acclaim Stateside. It sees Marr digging deeper into her classic soul/funk bag, expanding her growing fan base even wider. She delivers a dynamic performance backed by her torrid rhythm unit, three-piece horn section, and four part backing vocal chorus. Marr wrote four of the songs herself and co-wrote ‘That’s Where Love Ends’, a ‘60s R&B-styled ballad, with her musical director and co-producer, Hammond organ/keys player Cam Scott. The CD opens with ‘Mama Got It Wrong Sometimes’, Marr and her tight band locking into an intoxicating JBs-inspired booty-shaking groove that continues through ‘Snakes’. They ramp it up to a fever pitch on ‘Credit’ that would make Aretha Franklin envious, the band’s powerful brassy tones giving way to a sultry jazz-tinged sound for the closer ‘Sticks & Stones’ where Marr’s steamy vocals leave you hitting the replay button. If you dig Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings or The Dynamites, you’ll go for this.
- Al Hensley
www.rhythms.com.au


THREDBO BLUES FESTIVAL 2014 LIVE REVIEWS

But an amazing set by the Andrea Marr Band stole the show for me this year.. the crowd was on a high as the band were all wirelessly set up and lounged and flirted with the punters...these guys were so professional and so entertaining..
- Rod Neimier


Andrea Marr Band, one of the best things about Thredbo Blues Festival..
- Get Shot Magazine


LEICESTER BANGS UK

A five-track EP with a title that may just be the most concise three-word review ever written. I’m not sure I can better it, but here goes…

Andrea Marr has been playing her blues since 1999 and winning awards almost from the off. The Melbourne singer-songstress, together with her band – this particular line-up has been playing together for five years – have also been recognized internationally. The much-respected Chicago blues label Blue Skunk Music signed them up in 2010, re-released their “Little Sister Got Soul” album in 2011 and now the “Sass & Brass” EP.
It’s easy to hear why the label was so impressed. Marr’s inherited a style that made Etta James a legend and Sharon Jones a cult phenomenon. These five tracks leap from the speakers, grab the listener by the lapels and force them onto the dance-floor; resistance is futile. The horn section works in perfect harmony with Marr’s powerhouse blues-soul voice and the songs themselves sound like a succession of classic hits, forged in the Chess studios or Muscle Shoals, 30 or 40 years ago – or yesterday. It’s almost pointless drawing attention to standout songs as there’s absolutely no filler, just a selection of timeless, soulful, high energy, feelgood blues. If you’re partial to any of the above names, or Ike and Tina or Aretha Franklin, then you’d be foolish to miss out.
- Rob F.


Live review - Echuca Blues Festival 2011

Hi Guys,
Just got back from my first look at the Echuca Blues Festival, and you know what? How good it is to see a 'council/business houses/volunteers/in fact,the whole bloody city jumpin' on the Blues wagon. What a great way to spend a couple of days in winter, goin' from pub to pub, have a 'dram' or two. Walk down the main street, with talent abound, grab a 'snag and onions', drop into one of the many coffee shops (all with great coffee), and all this, at your leisure for basically zero!!! If you don't drink or smoke, you're laughin' man.
The city heart of Echuca' was jumping, both in 'music,bodies',and nick knack shops, nearly "ALL" premises open, and so many pleasant assistants. I think that the city of 'Echuca" should be bloody proud of what they achieved this weekend.
I got to see many of the acts at 'Echuca",and it was great to see so many young'uns strappin' on the old 'Axe" and givin' it a fair pasting. I'll go thru the program (which was free by the way, and a brilliant production it is too)
. . .
And the final Band I got to see on Sunday was my 'Fav for the Fest'. Andrea Marr and Band, Bloody Hell, Sharp, Tight, a Rhythm Section to die for, and Andrea's presence, and Vocals, World class. I've seen and heard a lot of guitar players in my life, but Greg Dodd has me enjoying the new face to an old instrument. He was really the reason we stayed all day at the Bridge Pub.
I know that he was Dutch's axeman over the years,and have seen him in Mildura a few years ago with Dutch. But now with the lineup that Andrea has now, I can't tell you how good this band is, I only wish that they will record some live stuff in the future. Jeez, they were that good.
. . .
That's my take on the Echuca Blues Festival for 2011.
"Tecka'. Terry Iredale .Tecka's Tracks R & B Program on CRN & HOTFM in Vic.
- Clint
Tue, 30th August 2011


Little Sister Got Soul! (Blue Skunk)

Blue Skunk BS4524
I go through long stretches when I feel that soul music is one of those things whose day is past. Then, something miraculous happens…the slot in my door opens and I am blessed with some of the best stuff I've heard in quite some time. The Chicago area's Blue Skunk Music has released a CD by Andrea Marr that is reminiscent of what I was hearing when soul was king. Little Sister's Got Soul has it all…a strong vocalist with the power to melt the soles of your shoes or to blow those shoes right off your feet, depending or her mood or the cut you choose to listen to. Andrea Marr pours 100% of her heart and soul into every cut, never delivering less than her all. Little Sister's Got Soul! is soul the way it was meant to be, mixed with enough pure, raw blues to reach straight to the heart. Andrea Marr delivers the goods with pure raw emotional power. This is one of those albums that grabs you from the opening notes and leaves you hoping she never lets go. Then, there's the band. I have said a hundred times if I've said it once, no performer can be better than the band backing them up. In this case, that is not a problem. This band is as solid as bands get, their playing is right on the money, soulful, yet technically right on the money. Their arrangements are flawless and they play with a power that can only be reached when the band loves the music with their entire being. There is no doubt that this band loves the music. Like a throwback to the days when soul and blues were indistinguishable, Marr is a voice that will not be silenced and I, for one, am glad of it. This album and the folks responsible for putting it together are real winners.
- Bill Wilson
Mon, 9th May 2011


Andrea Marr - Little Sister Got Soul (US album review)

10 songs; Time 41:21 minutes; Suggested Style: Soul
Blues music was born in the United States, yet there are Blues artists in Australia. What a wonderful testimonial to the power, richness, and impact of the roots of all Roots music, Blues!
Australia has a thriving Blues and Soul scene, and they can rightly brag about the crossover-the-ocean artists that have made a name in the U.S. like Sugarcane Collins, Dave Hole, Harper, Jimi Hocking, Fiona Boyes, and now, Andrea Marr.
Andrea is truly a first class singer with a dynamic, gospel fueled voice, and I’m not the first to notice. She already has an impressive resume:
* 2009 Female Vocalist of the Year (Chain Award, the Australian Blues Music Awards)
* 2007 Female Vocalist of the Year (Newcastle Blues Awards)
* 2005 Blues Performer of the Year
* 2002 Female Blues Artist of the Year (Vic/Tas)
This is simply a wonderful album. If you are a Baby Boomer very familiar with Aretha Franklin, Dinah Washington, Etta James and Memphis Soul sounds, you may not hear anything new, but you’ll hear an artist and her band who have mastered the idiom, breathing new life into it. If you are younger, or not familiar with the classic Soul music of America’s best, you’ll feel like you have discovered a gold mine!
This is Andrea’s fourth album, and her performance, backup band, production, and engineering and mixing create a world class effort. There are seven originals plus covers of Etta James (“I Prefer You”), Dinah Washington (“Soulville”), and Glenn Kaiser (“If I Leave This World Tomorrow”).
Her core band is Greg Dodd, guitar, Dean Matters, drums, Clint Healy, bass, Cam Scott, keyboards, and Sean Vagg, sax. Two of the originals are written by the band, and another is written with Dodd. The skilled instrumental contributions from each plus full band studio additional musicians make the CD more than just a vocal showcase.
Standout moments beyond Marr’s singing are Dodd’s guitar work on “If I Leave This World Tomorrow” and his intro to “What’s Wrong With You,” the groups sagacious advice found in “Don’t Touch What You Can’t Afford,” the full horn section in “Real Good Man,” and Cam Scott’s piano work in “Baby Got Me Crazy.”
This is no “regional” or “niche” album; this is great Soul music. Meet this “Little Sister” now and then watch for her to tour the U.S. – hopefully SOON!
- James “Skyy Dobro"
Reviewer James “Skyy Dobro” Walker is a noted Blues writer, DJ and Blues Blast contributor. His weekly radio show “Friends of the Blues” can be heard each Thursday from 4:30 – 6:00pm on WKCC 91.1 FM in Kankakee,
Thu, 30th July 2009


ANDREA MARR - LITTLE SISTER GOT SOUL (album review)

I reviewed Andrea’s first CD, Watch me work it, back in June 2006, and while I liked it, I didn’t really “get it” until I saw Andrea live at Goulburn the following February. Man, she is a dynamo, has a great blues/gospel voice, and really pumps out the sexiness, sass and attitude you hear on the CD. Sometimes an artist can create a particular personality in the recording studio, but they can’t deliver it live. This lady delivers in abundance! After all, she was the MBAS Performer of the Year in 2005 and represented them in Memphis.

With Greg Dodd (guitar), Clint Healy (bass), Dean Matters (drums), Cam Scott (keys, Hammond), Sean Vagg (sax), a 3 piece horn section (Paul Williamson, Shane Hughes, Dave Palmer), and 4 backing vocalists (Rudy Tadros, Jeke terei, Edith Borradale, Carmel Sundaram), this CD is a powerhouse outing from this pint-sized songstress.

Andrea has come up with a great collection of 7 originals and 3 covers that don’t have a weak one among them. The covers are Dinah Washington’s Soulville, Etta James’ I prefer you, and Glenn Kaiser’s If I leave this world tomorrow and they are terrific versions. You can get an idea what the originals (by Andrea and B. Strafford or various band members) are like by checking out the titles: Steam up the windows, Don’t touch what you can’t afford, Superwoman, Taught me to love, Real good man, What’s wrong with you, and Baby got me crazy. There’s a nice mix of feels and tempos, with lots of brass, and great guitar and piano and, of course, Andrea’s big vocals.

In my opinion, this CD is a great example of a local product that’s the equal of anything coming into Australia from “the home of the blues”. Some albums have some great songs, some have some great performances, some have great recording quality, but some, like this one, have it all and just “hang together” and “sound right” from start to finish. (Actually, it reminds me of another great album; Dutch Tilders & The Blues Club, The blues is my life.) You’ve got to have a listen to this one.
- Gary deWall
www.sydneyblues.org
Wed, 11th February 2009


ANDREA MARR - LITTLE SISTER GOT SOUL

Launching the big horn-laden sound of her sequel to 2006’s Watch Me Work It, Melbourne soul-blues dynamo Andrea Marr wraps her unrestrained pipes around Dinah Washington’s ‘Soulville’ ahead of seven new powerhouse original songs, Etta James’ funky ‘I prefer you’ and Christian music singer Glenn Kaiser’s gut bucket blues ‘If I leave This World Tomorrow’. Guitarist Greg Dodd, bassist Clint Healy, drummer Dean Matters, saxophonist Sean Vagg and keyboard player Cam Scott were Marr’s musical running partners in the realization of this project. Scott’s tight and snappy horn charts and Marr’s vocal arrangements for her backing chorus by members of the Urban Praise Gospel Choir inject a soulful edge to songs of depth and attitude. The sassy ‘Don’t touch what you can’t afford’ and ‘Superwoman’ and the sultry ‘Baby Got me Crazy’ and ‘Steam up the Windows’ exemplify Marr’s growth as a creative artist. A fervent musical chemistry exists between marr and her road-tested band during the whole 41-minute set.

- Al Hensley Rhythms Magazine
Tue, 6th January 2009


Andrea Marr: Little Sister Got Soul

HATE to sound chauvinistic about the music in this town, but here goes anyway: the depth of talent in Melbourne can astound, and this album is a delight, truly jump-out-of-your-skin stuff, passionate, poised and, most of all, musical. Andrea Marr's voice is so sensuous, sassy and dynamic, her command of her idiom so assured that one is tempted to accost strangers to tell them. Marr announces her rock-the-house intentions from the get-go with the call-to-arms Soulville. Organ (Cam Scott) and horns are to the fore. Scott also did the horn arrangements and Marr the vocal arranging. The rhythm (Greg Dodd, guitar; Clint Healy, bass; Dean Matters, drums) is hot as a pistol and the horns lift the music to a higher level. Whether drawing on Dinah Washington, Aretha Franklin or Etta James or her own works (seven of 10 songs are originals), Marr is inspired. In 2005 she won the Melbourne Blues Appreciation Society's blues performer of the year award. I was honoured to be one of the judges and I'm pleased we got it so right.

See original article here
- Ken Williams for The Age
Tue, 30th December 2008


Little Sister Got Soul! album review by Rooster

ANDREA MARR
Little sister got soul
This is Andrea’s fourth album and she has finally got a band that not only can materialize her vision, but also enhance it. Andrea’s soulful vocals seem effortless whether it is on one of her 7 originals or covering Etta James and Dinah Washington. Her core band of Greg Dodd, guitar, Dean Matters, drums, Clint Healy, bass and Sean Vagg, sax are truly that, a band, who have committed themselves to Andrea’s sound which seems to have allowed Andrea to relax and concentrate on her vocals. Two of the originals are written by the band and another with Greg and it really appears to be a true group effort, with everyone being valued and everyone working with each other to get the best sound. This album represents somewhat of a comeback for Greg, who didn’t pick up a guitar for a number of years. His distinctive style and blues edge adds a punch, whilst Dean and Clint deliver a beat and groove so dependable and polished. Sean usually carries out sax duties alone so he must have been in fantasy land with session buddies Paul Williamson, Shane Hughes and Dave Palmer. The luxury of a horn section is enhanced even further with Cam Scott’s piano and Hammond which takes this album to a level usually only acquired by the greats as Etta and Aretha. The engineering and mixing (Troy Trigwell & James Kilpatrick) of such a large band takes some doing and I can’t see how it could have been done any better. It is a world class effort that rips you from your seat and doesn’t let you go, and when it does you want to do it all again!

- Rooster for MBAS Bluesletter
Fri, 24th October 2008


THE MARR STAR

Andrea Marr Sings The Blues Because She Loves It.

Those familiar with Melbourne's vibrant blues and roots scene will probably know the name, Andrea Marr. For around seven years this pint-sized singer has been belting out blues tunes in a voice the size of Australia's World Cup hype, and whilst it's been a struggle, more a labour of love than a "career", things are now starting to fall into place for Marr. Singing the blues isn't usually the dream of many people, but for Andrea Marr, it's been a long time coming.

"I started singing blues without even realising it," she says down the phone of her introduction to music. "I was brought up in Sri Lanka, and I was 14 when I came over here… they don't have any blues music over there at all. But my dad was a jazz musician, and we'd listen to a lot of stuff at home, and I think through him, my earliest blues influences were Elvis and Ray Charles. That's pretty much all that I would have heard that would have got me started with the blues. So when Dad was playing jazz songs, I would sing them in a blues phrasing without even realising it.

Click here for the full story

By Sam Fell for Rhythms magazine
27 Dec 2006


Andrea Marr Works It All The Way!

The Sultry vocals of Andrea Marr get the full showcase treatment in her latest release titled, Watch Me Work It. Ten tracks, of which six are Marr originals that have been co-written with guitarist Brian Strafford and others, sees Marr wrap her R'n'B vocal chords around such showstoppers as Stand And Deliver, He Only Rocks On Stage, and the aptly titled, Duke Robilard Tune. One Sided Love Affair gives Marr a chance to relax with a classic slow blues whilst her treatment of Jimmy Witherspoon's Ain't Nobody's Business, also allows her to bring the room temperature down. Lloyd Spiegel's guitar licks, bump, grind and shimmer in all the right places. Dean Matters and Luke Hodgeson provide tight rhythm, Chris McConachy wails on harp and Andy Cowan provides a keyboard cameo appearance on Stand And Deliver. Andrea Marr works damn hard and as such has turned this one into a winner just like her appearances at last years Blues Performer Of The Year contest.

Werner Martin - Inpress magazine
Posted: Wed, 14th June 2006


Album Review By Lee Howard: Herald Sun

Scanned article reviewing the "Sassified" album.

By Lee Howard: Herald Sun - Saturday, 23rd November 2002

RARELY has an album been so aptly named, assuming "sassified" means sassy to the fullest. Andrea Marr is a blues shouter the likes of whom we have seldom seen in Australia. It is a quality that allows her to sing out with conviction on Surgarpie De Santos's sexy Use What You Got, bringing the inderlying humour to the fore. In fact, it is almost possible to hear a smile in some of the songs, Marr leading a tight band of cohorts that would overwhelm a lesser singer. The horns of Ken Mailing, Steve Williams and Brian Stafford drive the singer to be at her best and Chris Wilson's keyboards and production are spot on. It all coalesces on the slower tempo of a Bed Full of Blues, one of the fine, self-penned songs on the 14-track album. This again is brassy in a way a couple of American labels would do well to emulate.

- LEE HOWARD
Sat, 23rd November 2002


ANDREA MARR'S BLUES TRAIN GET SASSIFIED

The sassy Andrea Marr has been part of the Melbourne blues scene for some years now and finally people are sitting up and taking notice...and rightly so. Whilst her first release a couple of years ago was a bit patchy, her newest outing is anything but! Laced with Marr's sensuous and soulful vocals, Sassified has an inner strength that not only emanates from her own musical journey over the last few years but also from her choice of material, musicians and her song writing collaboration with guitarist/saxophonist Brian Strafford. Right from the opening track - the funky superwoman (a Marr/Strafford collaboration)- the scene is set for a soulful album. The Blues Train don't disappoint and stop at all stations without ever leaving the tracks! Marr knows how to deliver a tune and she's got the nuances, the inflections, the wails down pat and whether it's a blues, soul or gospel tune, whether it's an up tempo number or a ballad, Andrea Marr has stamped her vocal authority all over it. Sassified delivers 15 tracks in all and my faves are the opening track, the innuendo laden Sugarpie De Santo cover Use What You Got, Sweet Southern Blues and Marr's original tune It Takes A Woman To Sing The Blues. Marr has been knocking on the door for some time and with this release she's opened that door and is damn well delivering the goods. A great album and one that I can thoroughly recommend.

- Werner Martin: Inpress Magazine Issue 694
Wed, 9th January 2002


One wonders what rock was big enough to hide the immense talents of vocalist Andrea Marr. With a voice suited to blues, jazz, soul and gospel (all of which Andrea performs), one struggles with the realisation that this artist has been around for some time. With an impressive independent release, titled "Inheritance", featuring a strong emphasis on original material with some decidedly impressive arrangements, Andrea is well poised to make herself known on the national front. On this album, Andrea not only proves herself a gifted vocalist but also a talented lyricist, having penned a majority of the tunes. There is some very impressive harmonica and saxophone work courtesy of Steve Williams, with Billy Kavanagh (ex-Tin Pan Alley) contributing some guitar. Chris Wilson adds keyboards and bass (Chris also recorded Inheritance at his Studio 7), while a number of other guests also make appearances.

The solo saxophone (Steve Williams) intro of the jazz-infused "Summertime", followed by the keyboards of Chris Wilson with rhythm section and guitar open and set the mood for the album.

Following is the very funky "Shaky Ground", with decidedly commercial leanings.

The bluesy jazzy "Pray for Rain" (an album highlight) sees Billy Kavanagh lend some tasty guitar, with Williams' saxophone and harp also making strong contributions, as Wilson's keyboards back the rhythm section.

"When I Laid My Eyes On You" has a Little Willie John "Fever" feel performed as trio plus voice.

"It Takes A Woman To Sing The Blues" is straight-ahead blues, with sax and guitar solos by Brian Strafford and Peter Healy respectively and keyboards by Wilson.

The title track "Inheritance" is performed a capella gospel style.

R & B surface on "When You're Gone", with female backing vocalists.

The slow blues "Heaven Sent", again with Kavanagh and Williams making strong contributions, will demand air play on any self-respecting blues program and is another album highlight.

"What's Wrong With You" adopts a more rock/blues approach devoid of sax or harp.

The Thomas Dorsey "Precious Lord" sees keyboards to accompany voice, as does the laid-back original ballad "Words Cannot Express", with a decidedly mainstream feel to finish this album.

While diverse in nature, the album is also focused and a fine example of a debut release for an artist wishing to expose and promote themselves. Andrea Marr is currently working up a straight-ahead blues outfit in hometown Melbourne, known as "Hideaway," and we here at Highway 49 will be watching closely for activity within this camp.

Copies of Andrea's album may be obtained by posting cheques or money orders for $23.50 inc within Aust and $25.00 overseas, to A & L Marr. (P.O Box 159 Noble Park Vic Australia 3174).

- Glenn Nelson
Sun, 30th September 2001