Joyann Parker

Out Of The Dark
(Hopeless Romantic Records)

Joyann Parker is a brassy, bluesy belter who wears her heart on her sleeve, tempting devils and angels alike to join the party. Amid the endless twilight zone of COVID, the Minneapolis-based singer/songwriter helps bring us out of the dark with a soulful batch of originals, penned with guitarist Mark Lamoine, that draws deep from the Americana well of blues, gospel, country and roots-rock.

Bridging the traditional God-and-the-devil divide, Parker opens with the lusty “Gone So Long,” a lowdown blues, then segues into the joyous gospel rocker “Carry On,” which promises “the Lord’s gonna carry you through the river/Shield you from the raging storm.” Expanding on the theme, the anthemic title track — from throes of the pandemic — finds strength in the god within us: “Take all you’ve been gifted and be who you’re meant to be.”

In Parker’s case, that means being all the many things a woman can be, good and bad. On “Predator,” she warns girlfriends to swipe left on the “devil with the angel face” who’s clearly up to no good, then switches gears and goes prowling for a “Dirty Rotten Guy.” She’s equally ambivalent about whether she wants to be a “Bad Version Of Myself” to keep her man, and even warns lovers to “get used to it, we lie,” on “What Did You Expect.”

Revved into overdrive by her tight-knit core ensemble, a hot horn section and an entire choir of backup singers, Parker’s follow-up to her 2018 debut Hard To Love is a surefire way to cure the pandemic blues, especially if you take her advice: “Come On Baby (Take Me Dancing).”

On Sale Now
December 2023
Pharoah Sanders
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