From Connecticut, I came late to Kerri Powers and discovered this young singer-songwriter-- purely by accident. The reason I decided to review her unsolicited ten-song collection called Starseeds -- is that as I listened I kept checking off one song after another for repeat listenings. I seldom enjoy virtually everything. The vocals, songwriting, supporting musicians and the production. All done with maturity and culminating in the equivalent of my having eaten an entire cheesecake with strawberries all alone. The sin? No one knows I ate the entire cheesecake, yet I have to tell someone – just like I have to tell someone about Kerri Powers and Starseeds. I don’t know where this young lady came from but it’s got to be a secret place. This is not the kind of singing and performing that can be easily taught. It has to be in your spirit, in your blood and the fact that she is from the Northeast is going to confound the artists down South, in the Delta, in Memphis, Clarksdale, Austin, and Nashville. John Apice
Full Article - NO DEPRESSION/John APICE "A Distinctive voice, an original singer-songwriter, and exhuberant interpreter
Despite the experimentation with genre on the record, it never feels forced or unnatural and only serves to highlight the talent she has as a vocalist and versatility of her as an artist and songwriter and makes the record a most enjoyable listen from start to finish. the musicality throughout ‘Starseeds’ is interesting and creative which sets it apart from a lot of solo records of this ilk and this is evident across all of the 10 tracks on offer here. 8/1 0 sTARS
FULL ARTICLE - americana uk/david stevenson: https://americana-uk.com/kerri-powers-starseeds-independent-2018
AMERICAN BLUES SCENE
Bicycle Man” is a perfect example of the control Powers demonstrates. A bluesy, slide riff kicks the song off. Powers’ voice and her guitar compete for the listener’s attention, inviting them to “go for a ride. Between the guitar work and Powers’ vocals, it’s a difficult invitation to refuse. It’s fairly standard blues, but the way she owns it makes it impossible to ignore. “Grace and Harmony” similarly relies on a very cool slide riff, this time over an airy groove that echoes R.E.M.’s “Finest Worksong.” The lyrics are almost stream-of-conscious, making the song feel like it might be a vivid dream. Powers has crafted a straight-forward album with an honesty and intensity that makes it feel huge. She has a great voice and is a wonderful guitar player, but the reason this album resonates is because, at her core, she’s also a pure communicator. That’s what makes Starseeds such a great album. She’s not trying to present a persona or sell a brand. She sounds like she’s just trying to share her essence with the listener. Steven Ovadia
full article: american blues scene/steven ovadia: https://www.americanbluesscene.com/kerri-powers-shares-essence-starseeds/
My heart goes out to the artist who closes her CD with the achingly beautiful "Can't Find My Way Home," of supernovans Blind Faith. To her credit -- and skill -- singer/songwriter/guitarist Kerri Powers absolutely owns that 1970s iconic mind-melder, and transforms it into her end statement, her coda, her hand-hewn peg to hang her hat on. Just how Powers does it is testament to her inspired work on the nine preceding songs of her 2018 10-track collection, Starseeds. Powers, who has been performing regionally in New England for some time, paves the way to Blind Faith by exploring the connection between roots rock, blues and the ethereal. She starts things off with the whimsical, almost jaunty "Peeping Tom," and progresses through the "Me and Bobby McGee" vibe of "Somewhere on the Vine," bringing in some pedal steel to supplement the old-shoe-comfortable mix. Powers shows lyrical chops with the swampy "Bicycle Man" and "Mine the River." She takes it to another level with her "Free Bird Flying" -- so quietly powerful, utilizing the string arrangement of producer Eric Michael Lichtner. She hits Gene Clark's "Polly" out of the park as well, just nails it. What's floating in the spaces between the walls on this album is a cosmic quality that tugs us from our earthly existence toward the seductive hint of a higher meaning. It's elusive, it's "Moon and Stars," it's "Grace and Harmony." There's no answer, just stories, just suggestions of questions. And perhaps we all are just trying to find our way home, wandering Stevie Winwoods in the wasteland. We could certainly find worse guides than Kerri Powers. Like flickering starlight, she reveals a bit of a wooded, curvy path here and there. We're all pretty much on our own, but there exists some solace in knowing there are others seeking their own paths as well. Note to selves: A plethora of stumbling is perfectly acceptable, but Power's footprints gently guide. Nice work from a thoughtful, insightful, soulful artist.
© Fred Kraus
FULL ARTICLE - Minor 7th/fred kraus http://www.minor7th.com/
By lee Zimmerman
Kerri Powers is a perceptive songwriter, a native of New England whose songs resonate with intimate emotions and a delicate yet decisive delivery. Starseeds, her new album, is typically poignant and personal, and yet it relays sentiments common to anyone who’s found life’s journey to be both ominous and overwhelming at various time, when no easy answers are evident. With songs flush with expressive emotions and a slight slant towards the blues, Starseeds is Powers’ most definitive statement yet, one that finds a common bond in both its music and its message. Its eight originals and two choice covers — a moving take on Blind Faith’s restive anthem “Can’t Find My Way Home” and “Polly,” a lovely song of wistful reflection written by the late Gene Clark — find her sharing her sentiments in ways that ring with authenticity. At times, she comes across as a backwoods chanteuse, showing off a folky finesse that affirms a knowing delivery. Suffice it to say, Starseeds shines.
iNTERVIEW WITH THE DAILY COUNTRY, NYC
INTERVIEW WITH RED LINE ROOTS/ Brian Carrol
THE REVUE CA
by Ben Yung
Premier of "bicycle Man" from Starseeds
Some people are born athletes and others are born leaders. Kerri Powers was born to play the guitar and tell stories that could best be defined as Mark Twain’s Mississippi River tales meet Kurt Vonnegut’s Sierra Nevada deserts. The Connecticut-based singer-songwriter, in other words, is a throwback, who would have been a star if she started performing in the ’70s instead of the early 2010s. Time, however, is on Powers’ side because people will eventually discover this gem of a talent who is a young Bonnie Raitt. Yes, she is like the legendary artist, playing blues, roots, Americana, country, and folk with an attitude and a sharp tongue. It is our pleasure, as such, to premiere Powers’ new song, “Bicycle Man”, today.
Featuring a classic, twangy guitar line and Powers’ classic, raspy vocals, “Bicycle Man” is swampy blues – roots number meant to be played in the blues bars that litter New Orleans’ Bourbon Street. It rocks and smoulders with the grit, attitude, and addictive qualities of Buddy Guy’s, Taj Mahal’s, and Ms. Raitt’s finest numbers. Her songwriting, too, is akin to these greats (and Vonnegut, too), where she applies wit and satire to tackle conventional norms. In this number, she takes the classic fairy tale and puts it on its head. There’s no Prince Charming arriving on a white steed or a motorcycle riding, leather jacket-wearing hero to save the day. The hero in Powers’ story is “the rambling girl”, who is the “cog in the wheel” or the man who rides a bicycle. A man who is powerless without his better half.
“Bicycle Man” is taken from Powers’ new album, Starseeds, which arrives May 4th.
It's rare that this jaded old CD reviewer is impressed. Sure, there's a lot of good music out there, but usually it can be tossed in the "sounds like ________ " box. I review it and move on to the next album. Not this one. Her emotive alto, rubbed lightly with 80 grit sandpaper, conveys stories that brim with emotion and longing so real, you'll swear she slipped into your life and read your love letters. The arrangements are simple – pedal steel, acoustic guitar, and light percussion, with Kerri on guitar and harmonica; they never overshadow the songs. It's hard to know where to start because each song reads like good prose, with vivid images that tell you enough of the story to make you lean in close, nodding your head in recognition. "Come Around" starts with, "I'm from a town smaller than your mind" and goes on to further chastise the one who should be coming back to her. It has a country vibe, with a guitar in waltz time and complimentary pedal steel. She reads the riot act to someone else in "Ghost" -- "Pictures whisper in a box / Thought I heard ‘Forget me not.'" She could've said something simple like "You refuse to forget her." Instead, she draws a sharp picture of longing, propelled by a great acoustic guitar groove accented with stabs of electric guitar. In "Buttercup" she sings about finding a good love when you're on the side of the fence that doesn't look so good, "Go somewhere the dogs won't bite / Leave this wreckage here." "A Little Light" is encouragement to someone and "Old Shirt" is about finding a new life. In "I've Got Your Back," she takes the persona of someone else -- "I've gotta ride / Through Elysian fields with Harley dreams." Later on we learn, "I'm working for the angels now / Chasing dragonflies into the sun." Even when she sings covers, she chooses songs that are so well-suited for her voice, you'll swear she wrote them. Janis Ian's "Jesse" positively aches and in the BeeGees "To Love Someone," she really showcases the true meaning of the song. Who knew Barry Gibb could be so deep? She does it as a ballad and folks, if you don't feel a tear coming to your eye before it ends, you're not flesh and blood. Just get the album, y'all. Take it from this cynical reviewer who can't wait to hear it again
© Jamie Anderson
AND An Interview with VENTS MAGAZINE:
MUSIC CITY ROOTS/NASHVILLE
From extravagance to simple elegance we went, as Kerri Powers took the stage with nothing but a chair, an acoustic guitar and a tapping tambourine strapped to the toe of her boot. Reading about her I assumed she’d be a folk strummer, but she began to lay down some of the finest country blues fingerstyle guitar we’ve had on our stage. It was shades of Rory Block, Chris Smither and, all the way back, Blind Blake and Gary Davis. She’s got the dance and snap and melodic intent that makes the Piedmont style one of my lifetime favorite styles, and we too rarely see women focused on these skills. On top was a fascinating, strong voice rich with barbs and prickles. She was super bluesy on opener “Tallulah Send A Car For Me.” But she also slowed things down with tenderness on “Train In The Night.” And she was cheeky in “Peepin’ Tom.” This was laid back, well written and beautifully sung stuff.
SING OUT! MAGAZINE/ GREAT ALBUMS OF THE YEAR
Her passionate alto with a hint of grit is perfect for her well-written songs alive with great images. With evocative arrangements of pedal steel, acoustic guitar, light percussion and more, this is an album you’ll want to hear again and again, like that favorite movie where you notices something new every time. her lyrics are great prose. In “come around,” she offers, “I’m from a town smaller than your mind” and in “ghost” she tells us, “pictures whisper in a box/ thought i heard ‘forget me not’”. Even when she sings covers like janis ian’s “jesse” she does it with such longing, you’re sure she wrote the song; indeed, her writing is as good as ian’s. - Jamie anderson
LONESOME NOISE/MARIOTTI’S TOP 10 SONGS
speaking of ms powers: that voice! that slide guitar! as unique and stunning an artist as ct has, “buttercup” is a steamroller of a performance. and did I mention that voice?”
Kerri Powers has been a staple of the New England music scene for the last decade or so, and yet it’s been something of a struggle to attain the wider acceptance that’s so clearly her due. Powers’ supple vocals give these songs a cool caress, creating a quiet aura of authority and conviction only the most accomplished artists have the ability to attain. Powers’ own compositions are excellent as always, but the gentle touch she instills in such songs such as Janis Ian’s “Jesse” and the oft-covered “To Love Somebody” by the Bee Gees finds these songs sounding like they’re being heard for the very first time. Powers is a soulful singer, an extraordinary interpreter and an artist with a decided folk finesse that can make even original songs --- the Dylanesque duo “Old Shirt” and “Train in the Night” being prime examples -- sound both timeless and telling. At this point in her career, Powers is due for a big breakout, and if justice prevails, this is the album that will provide it. (kerripowers.com)
AFTER A FEW LOWS, BLUES SINGER KERRI POWERS RELAUNCHES HER CAREER
drenched in the emotions of the blues, folk and country, the extraordinary roots singer/songwriter Kerri Powers uses her dramatically dark and beautiful, soul-shattering voice to mine the melancholy depths of romantic heartbreak and broken dreams in the edgy narratives of her songs.
A native of rural Massachusetts, Powers sings the blues with such authentic, downhome heat and grit that you might well think she's from Mississippi. Besides being a consummate chronicler of disappointment and despair, she can also morph into an impishly naughty rebel with a cause, a Mark Twain-like trickster whose wry words, dramatic sense of dynamics and supple phrasing can also celebrate joy and hope.
As part of her high-flying campaign to re-launch her career, Powers, who is also a fluent, natural-sounding guitarist inspired by classic blues pickers, presents her warm, intimate, unaffected style in a solo performance at 8 p.m. Friday, May 1, at Middletown's Buttonwood Tree Performing Arts and Cultural Center.
"I don't think there is anyone out there who could say they never experienced melancholy, or down time," she says of her desire to connect with her audience through universal themes.
"I write about what I know, what I've experienced. I just think there is so much healing in that approach. It's very therapeutic, both for the songwriter as well as the listener. I'm also a big believer in hope and being a rascal, growing old while retaining a devilish spirit. And I've always been that way ever since I was a little girl," she says by phone from her home in central Connecticut.
Right from the time she was a little girl growing up in East Taunton, not far from Plymouth, Mass., she was immersed in music, visual arts and literature, most deeply in her mother's rich record collection. For enchanted hours on end in her childhood, she'd sit in a rocking chair listening to and singing along with her mom's vinyl albums, from Joan Baez to John Prine.
Artistic expression, whether through singing, writing or painting, has always been at the core of her life.
Because her mother is a visual artist, painting was an early expressive outlet for Powers, who has exhibited her abstract works throughout New England. Most recently, she has shown at The Buttonwood Tree and at the Newington Library.
Powers' father, a country music-loving lineman for a local power company, also had a large record collection that she absorbed, mesmerized by titans ranging from Hank Williams to Patsy Cline.
As a blues-struck, free-spirited but shy kid, she began taking guitar lessons from a fiddle-playing friend's father. Guitar in hand, young Kerri walked the railroad tracks from her home to her teacher's house where he unraveled the magical mysteries of slide guitar and the roots playing tradition.
Genetically, Powers' family's DNA pool includes ancestral talents in music and writing. It claims links to Bing Crosby, a distant cousin of her father, and, on the maternal side, the great American novelist Herman Melville. Her paternal grandmother, whom she describes as "a hoot," played accompaniment for silent films back in the day.
Verbally gifted and a voracious reader, young Powers was writing songs by age 9. Reading, writing and reflection are lifetime habits that seem to have sharpened her gift for writing spare, imagistic lyrics and concise narratives with a natural flow.
Early on, she honed her performance skills with gigs at coffee houses locally and throughout New England, making an impression with her searingly soulful sound. As her career was getting underway, she set it aside to get married and have a family.
When the marriage failed, she was deeply hurt, but managed to work her way back into the music scene. As her career was ascending, yet another setback occurred in 2010 when she was scheduled to appear with Lyle Lovett and other big names at the prestigious Strawberry Music Festival. Instead of enjoying a breakthrough, she experienced heart arrhythmia the night before she was to fly to the festival in California. The arrhythmia was corrected medically, and she has enjoyed a full recovery.
Her career, however, was once again sidetracked.
As part of her personal and artistic road to fulfillment after the trauma of divorce and her bout with arrhythmia, Powers moved to Coventry. There she sought peace and quiet in an 18th-century farmhouse, a woodsy retreat where she could write, paint, reflect and regroup.
"I just felt that all that solace would be good for me, and it was the first time I was completely on my own in years," she says. "Coventry was one of the most beautiful places. I loved the woods, and it was peaceful at a time when I really needed that."
"I learned so much about my environment and surroundings," she adds, "as well as a lot of internal, soulful kinds of things. It was an incredible lesson, and that's when I started writing again."
That resurgence of creativity led to her powerful comeback release in 2014, a self-titled, memoir-like CD recorded at Eric Lichter's noted Dirt Floor Recording Studio in Chester. An elegantly spare, well-crafted gem, the 2014 album, her first release in five years, is graced with eight bright originals and two impassioned, imaginative covers--Janis Ian's "Jesse" and the Bee Gees "To Love Somebody."
Besides the triumphant CD, the rebooting of Powers' career includes ambitious touring, plus plans for an encore recording. At the top of her game, she's going full speed ahead, confident, happy and hoping for the best.
The Boston Phoenix
"...Her neo-trad country rock had vision and bite. The original song ''Tallulah Send a Car for Me'' had a Lucinda Williams brilliance, while a cover of Ivory Joe Hunter's ''Since I Met You Baby'' was stunning. Powers has a skilled acoustic-guitar touch...don't miss her next time."
The Boston Globe
"There's an authenticity at work here, a heart-tugging gravity and a lively intelligence to go along with the sass."
"... Her song's landscapes evoke the similar worlds of artists like Bruce Springsteen or Gillian Welch. And like them, her language alternates between the poetic and blue collar."
"...if you have an opportunity to see Kerri Powers live, take advantage of it while she's still playing small venues. I finally had a chance to see her perform earlier this year and was completely blown away."
Country Standard Time
"a collection of songs that owe as much to Raymond Carver and Flannery O'Connor as they do any songwriting muse...presented in a voice part Lucinda Williams and Jimmie Dale Gilmore, that haunts and penetrates."
Ctrl Alt Country
"...extraordinarily sensual and compelling at the same time...a truly great artist."
Rein Van De Berg
"Holy smokes - this is damn good Americana....a standout."
Gilded Palace of Sin, UK
"...Kerri Powers, who’s just released Faith In The Shadows, puts me in mind of nothing less than Jesse Sykes breaking into Lucinda Williams'studio and stealing away with her band. Smokey vocals, big tremulous guitar sweeps: very good indeed."
Country Standard Time
"... What emerged from the music of this obviously intelligent and talented singer/songwriter was that this must have been exactly what was planned when the Americana genre was born."
"Comparisons to Lucinda Williams are easy to make, but Powers’ work also contains broad hints of Patsy Cline, Judy Collins, John Prine, and even Tom Waits. In short, it is thoughtful music, yet possesses its own special musical kick."
One of the most genuine ways to discover a new artist is by having another artist you admire turn you on to their work. It’s a beautiful thing to watch and listen to someone who crafts their art with such precision talk about another artist who they share some common, spiritual bond with. 2013 was a banner year for Connecticut’s Dirt Floor Studios and if the new, self-titled album from CT’s own, Kerri Powers, is a harbinger at all then 2014 could be even better.
Powers is the exact definition of Americana. Her music spans the wide pantheon of almost every style of music that is distinctly American. Country, blues, roots rock, it’s all there for the giving and the taking. The album opens with the track “Old Shirt” which has a distinctive Wilco/Son Volt vibe when both bands are doing their best to channel Neil Young. It’s immediately followed by the slide-guitar wielding excellence of “Buttercup” where Powers is suddenly transformed into the bastard child of Lightnin’ Hopkins. This track is immediately followed by “Train In The Night”, which is a heart-string-tugging acoustic ballad. And so it goes for Powers as she deftly dances back and forth through a truly dizzying array styles. Never once does she sound out of place though, and never once do you question her song choices. She’s got a lot to say and a dozen ways to say them. Whether she’s feeling soft and quiet or rambunctious and gritty, Kerri Powers speaks with a voice that simply must be heard.
Powers is something of an anomaly. She’s like the CT music scene’s version of the protagonist in the film, The Natural, having spent the “prime of her career” out of the spotlight (in her case, tending to her family) only to return from absolutely nowhere to wow and amaze. Where Robert Redford made all the fans sit up and cheer with mammoth home runs, Kerri Powers is going to make people listening to this album do the exact same thing with exceptional songwriting and equally exceptional delivery. Some artists write great songs but don’t know what to do with them. Other artists make up fora lack in songwriting ability with great showmanship. Powers is the total package. Whether it’s a blues-soaked number like “Tallulah Send a Car for Me” or a straight country ballad like, “Come Around”, Powers nails every one of these songs. Her voice is a haunting, yet sweet vessel where words drip with pain and honey-soaked experiences and her backing band on this record play it sparse yet potent. Not to mention that her cover of Janis Ian’s “Jesse” gives the original more than a fair run for its money.
This is the first Kerri Powers album in five years. Let’s hope beyond hope we don’t have to wait another five for the next one. Kerri Powers’ self-titled album is available now for purchase through CDBaby.com. You can preview the entire album as it streams over atAirPlay Direct.com.
The tone is set on the intoxicating blues refrain “Tallulah Send a Car for Me.” Ms. Powers has a powerful country-blues voice with an inimitable timbre, and her compositions display both a groundedness and a refreshing lack of pretension. The brilliant “Old Shirt” is a pedal-steel augmented ballad of remembrance and regret, which is lovely and evocative. The excellent “Train in the Night” is an ineffably sad lament featuring a lilting vocal catch by Ms. Powers that will break your heart. “Buttercup” varies the sound—it is a mean old hoodoo blues; “Ghost” has a similar mysterious hoodoo ambiance, and Ms. Powers does remarkably expressive things with her voice. The halting, ominous “A Little Light” varies the pace with a tolling guitar sound and dreamy pedal steel accompaniment. Judging on the basis of the best of these songs, Ms. Powers is a major talent. This debut is a keeper. (Francis DiMenno)