Los Angeles Weekly

 

ZOLA MOON: Wildcats under My Skin

Postmodern Music

Zola Moon is a powerhouse blues vocalist in the fiery tradition of her idols Big Mama Thornton and Janis Joplin, but she also brings some unusual twists to what she calls her “postmodern blues.” As much as she’s inspired by the past, Moon’s songs on her latest CD, Wildcats Under My Skin, are firmly grounded in the here and now. “I hear those lying sound bites/They say they’ll stay the course,” she warns on “A Paycheck Away,” as guitarist Michael “Monster” Carter unreels some swampy licks. “They think they’re pretty slick, those fat-cat chicken hawks/but it’s always someone else dying.” On previous albums, Moon has occasionally put her sassy, brassy vocals to distinctively styled versions of such standards as “St. James Infirmary” and “House of the Rising Sun,” but Wildcats is all original, ranging from the evocative walking blues“Hot Texas Sun” to the slowly smoldering, psychedelically febrile eight-minute epic “Tequila Dreams.” Even though this self-described “dowager empress/worm commissioner of the world” tackles heavy subjects like war, poverty and the uselessness of “The Human Brain,” she still likes to cut loose and have fun: “You want to have a good time? I’m down with that.”

--Falling James