Juke Joint Blues

Nora Jean Bruso

Sometimes, blues music sounds better coming out of a woman's mouth. The sultry lyrics and hard-knock lifestyle just have a more poignant ring to them when a woman is belting them out — and it's almost guaranteed that they've lived through everything they're singing about. Anyone who feels the same way is in for a treat when Chicago blues chanteuse Nora Jean Bruso comes to town to perform at the Bamboo Room. She's got a voice that's been compared to Mahalia Jackson as far as spirituality, yet she can get as raunchy as Millie Jackson too. There's a reason that mixture shows up in her music. Bruso grew up in a family that embraced the church but at the same time ran a juke joint where legends like Howlin' Wolf appeared. She's also a product of Greenwood, Mississippi, and has a more authentic approach to Delta blues than most other singers on the scene now. Koko Taylor has championed Bruso's singing ability for years, and when the current queen of the blues says you're the next queen of the blues, all you've got to do is remain on that path. This is actually Bruso's second venture into recording the blues. She had a small but dedicated following in the mid-1980s singing with the Jimmy Dawkins band but gave it all up to raise her two sons. Thankfully, the kids are grown and Bruso's talent can be enjoyed again.

Nora Jean Bruso performs Thursday, April 5, at the Bamboo Room, 25 S. J St., Lake Worth. Tickets cost $12; the show starts at 9:30 p.m. Call 561 585-BLUE, or visit www.bambooroom.com.

 
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