New Orleans-via-Belgium garage-blues artist/rock and roller Ghalia Volt made a pilgrimage to Joshua Tree, CA to make new album Shout Sister Shout! (out October 6 via Ruf Records). Producer and Queens of the Stone Age collaborator David Catching welcomed her to Rancho De La Luna, also the site of recordings by Iggy Pop, Arctic Monkeys, Foo Fighters, and PJ Harvey.
First single and music video for the title track are out today: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NGmzJErnmNY
Volt brought her own vibe and impressive credentials to Joshua Tree—and a batch of great songs that she wrote on her eighteen-state One Woman Band tour, done via Amtrak, for which she carried guitars, amps, and foot-drums herself. Her sound on Shout Sister Shout! has been likened to those of garage-rockers and psych-rockers such as Deap Vally, Mr. Airplane Man, Larkin Poe, Holly Golightly, and early music by The Kills. She has taped a video session with tastemaker series Jam In the Van. American Songwriter praised her “skill and savvy” and Guitar World agreed, saying that her music comes from a “scrappy background in punk, garage rock and psychobilly.”
Album opener “Every Cloud” kicks off like a road movie soundtrack, its jutting lick and battle cry vocal interrupted by a woozy organ freakout worthy of The Doors’ Ray Manzarek. “Can’t Afford To Die” pairs its propulsive rockabilly rattle with a sobering lyric about cost-of-living.
With its addictive beat and ghostly alt-gospel vocals, centerpiece “Shout Sister Shout!” demands to be heard. “It’s a song encouraging women to speak loud for what they deserve,” says Volt. “Fight back, stare back, scream back! It takes courage, but it's rewarding and we need this for future generations.”
“Insomnia” is a trip, its slow-burn psychedelia swirling from the speakers. The seething “Hell Is Not Gonna Deal With You” finds Volt spitting venom onto the mic, while “Po’ Boy John” is a cathouse rave-up.
The sounds of Shout Sister Shout! are bolstered by Lou Reed’s long-serving drummer Danny Frankel, who has also recorded with She & Him, Marianne Faithfull, Joan Jett, Social Distortion, Jim White, and Fiona Apple; Dr. John keys man Ben Alleman; and Catching himself grabbing a guitar on some tracks.
As for Volt, her unstoppable motion is palpable on the North Mississippi-flavored “No Happy Home,” which addresses the rambling, unrooted but rewarding life of a musician, and “Hop On A Ride,” co-written with Eddie 9V. The latter subtly name-checks the US music cities and record labels that have touched her musical journey. “It's really my story of young adulthood,” she says, “I visited all those cities, dug all those vinyls from those labels – and definitely hopped on a lot of trains.”
It's a journey that started in Brussels, Belgium, where she began her career as a street performer before moving to the States without a drivers license, traveling by train, bus, and even hitchhiking at times, ultimately settling in New Orleans some six years ago.
Her adopted hometown music mag OffBeat has raved about her “intriguing… charismatic... rebellious energy,” continuing, “When it came time to let her demons out, she made sure there was nothing left for an exorcism [via] Ghalia’s ability to move from an indie rasp to a keening howl in the space of a single phrase.” They characterized her sound by saying, “Ghalia’s secret weapon may be her love of pure rockabilly… Ghalia may have taught herself the blues, but there’s no reason to believe it’ll pin her down.”
Volt’s One Woman Band album placed in the Billboard Blues Chart top ten; collaborated on record with Cody Dickinson (North Mississippi Allstars), GRAMMY-winner Boo Mitchell (Bruno Mars, Valerie June, John Mayer), and Cedric Burnside; become a favorite at festivals like Mississippi’s Juke Joint Fest and New Orleans’ French Quarter Fest; and opened shows for Burnside, Dragon Smoke (consisting of Ian Neville, Eric Lindell, Stanton Moore), Buddy Guy, Bobby Rush, and soon, Eric Gales.
Shout Sister Shout! will be released via Ruf Records, home to albums by Spin Doctors, Luther Allison, his son Bernard Allison, Samantha Fish, Bette Smith, and Canned Heat.
Ghalia Volt Tour Dates:
Oct. 7 - Violet, LA - Blues, Brews & BBQ Festival
Oct. 12 - Biloxi, MS - Ground Zero
Oct. 13 - New Orleans, LA - Chickie Wah Wah
Oct. 14 - New Orleans, LA - Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival
Oct. 21- Nov. 6 - European tour
Nov. 14 - St. Louis, MO - BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups
Nov. 17 - Memphis, TN - Lafayette's
Dec. 6 - Boise, ID - The Sapphire Room
Shout Sister Shout! Track Listing:
1. Every Cloud
3. Can't Afford To Die
5. Shout Sister Shout
6. No Happy Home
7. She's Holdin' Back
8. Can't Have It All
9. Hell Is Not Gonna Deal With You
10. Hop on a Ride
11. Dog Ya Around
12. Po' Boy John