Joanne Broh Band: Head Full Of Trouble (2023)

As a music fan, and a lover of blues music, “Head Full of Trouble” by the Joanne Broh Band featuring Garry Meziere  did not disappoint. The vibe of this album is straight on classic soul blues with a sassy flair.

Joanne’s vocals carry song after song. She is sassy, she is smooth and she speaks directly to the listener. Cleverly crafted lyrics written by Garry Meziere and Joanne Broh are  well arranged, and very enjoyable.

All of the musicians on this album are amazingly talented. Jon Brand on bass and Ed Pierce on drums are the solid and imaginative rhythm section.Gus Russell and Pat McDougall on keys play exactly what is needed. Horn sections drive “Shakin It” and “I Believe” with a tasty sax solo on “Blues On a Holiday”.

Such an amazing balance of soul blues, roots rock, funk and some downright jazzy smooth ditties. Joanne drives the ship and it’s a fun ride. I can only imagine what a treat this will be for those that get to a jazz or blues club and get to listen to her belt out these tunes live accompanied by her stellar band.

This album is everything you want a blues album to be. It easily gets the 5 out of 5 star score that I grant to it.

Memorable blues ranging from deep gut wrenching and soul searching all the way up to songs you can get up and move to. Thank you Joanne Broh Band featuring Garry Meziere  for your help in keeping the genre fresh and exciting and new, while paying the appropriate respect to its roots.

Jon Sexauer:
CFAB Music Realm, The Grey Eagle Radio Show

“Head Full Of Trouble”

Eugene-based vocalist Joanne Broh and her band enlisted many of their Oregon friends to help complete the three year album project “Head Full Of Trouble” that made is debut last month.

Ten original tracks co-produced and co-written by guitarist Garry Meziere and bolstered by the nimble rhythm section of drummer Ed Pierce and Jon Brand on bass, feature a dozen of the region’s finest musicians.

Energetic jump blues number “Shakin’ It,” opens the set that touches all the bases of classic R&B, soul, and blues genres with an easy listening smooth style. Standouts include the horn driven anthem of optimism “I Believe,” the Latin flavored title track a smoking flat tire shuffle “Late December,” and the sublime jazzy album closer “Blues on a Holiday.”

Rick J Bowen Washington Blues Society

Blues Blast Magazine

What comes to mind when you hear the words “live album?” Shrieking fans? Blistering instrumentation? Vocals reverberating louder than the aftermath of an atom bomb? The newest live release from Oregon’s Joanne Broh offers none of these, which is actually good news. She demonstrates that sheer volume isn’t the most important aspect of music. Not only that, but she presents “blues to lift you up,” as it succinctly states on her website. Her singing is clear and unpretentious, running the gamut of the alto range. Listening to her is like conversing with your favorite next-door neighbor. The warmth in her voice lets you know that you can tell her all your secrets, and she’ll even share a few of her own. Guitarist Garry Meziere, slide/second guitarist Jerry Zybach, bassist Bill Foss, and drummer Ed Pierce provide a rock-solid ensemble, playing real-deal blues without resorting to flashy instrumental tricks or overlong solos. Walter Herleman also guest stars on harmonica.

They please a Live audience with several time-honored blues covers including “Kitchen Man,” “Why Don’t You Do Right,” “Black Cat Bone,” and “I Don’t Care Who Knows.” Even though there’s not a lot of original material, that’s forgivable. Crowds like songs they know. Sing and dance along to your favorites, and enjoy the originals “Wicked Cool” and “Let’s Work on It.”

The following original is catchy and full of energy, certain to get concert-goers on their feet. Track 06: “Let’s Work On It” – No matter what the latest rom-coms say, relationships are hard work. “Let’s work on it baby, figure the whole thing out. Let’s work on it, darling. Let me tell you what it’s all about. You know I’m really going to love you. Don’t make me scream and shout.” Who among us hasn’t heard (or made) such a heartfelt plea? The bouncy beat and fantastic fretwork make number six as refreshing as something out of a six-pack.

“Broh,” give joyful Joanne a listen as she entertains Live!

Reviewer Rainey Wetnight is a 39 year old female Blues fan. She brings the perspective of a younger blues fan to reviews. A child of 1980s music, she was strongly influenced by her father’s blues music collection.

Latest review from the Register Guard

“Joanne Broh ranges between blues and jazz with a soulful approachto her trademark ball-of-fire stage energy. Her band’s fluid musical interplay should only be expected with it’s mix of veterens of the blues community…” Register Guard April 12, 2019

More Reviews

Blues Blast Magazine
August 4, 2016

The Joanne Broh band comes from Oregon and features Joanne on vocals, Jerry Zybach on guitar, Gus Russell on keyboards, Jim Badalich on bass and Dan e. Miller on drums: Mitch Kashmar adds harp to two tracks, Hank Shreve to one; Dana Heitman adds trumpet to one track and a full horn section of Joe McCarthy, Dave Bender, Sean Flannery and Linda Kanter plays on one cut. Several of the songs come from within the band, the rest from fellow West Coast musicians: Jerry had a hand in six songs, Jim four and Joanne two, Gus arranging a song from outside the band.

With a West Coast band you will expect to find some swing and the title track opens the disc with exactly that, an upbeat shuffle, Mitch Kashmar’s harp accents, Gus’ full sounding organ and Jerry’s light touch on guitar offering a solid foundation for Joanne’s clear vocals. “Gettin’ Old Blues” offers the view that you “go to bed young and you wake up old” and things don’t get any more cheerful when Joanne sings of your friends passing on if you last long enough – great piano though to offset the rather depressing lyrics!

The top pick here has to be the fabulous “(Shake ‘Er) Like Josephine Baker” which opens with jungle drums and the horn section riffing away behind Joanne’s expressive vocal that recounts the tale of the great singer who had to seek her fortune in Europe due to racial prejudice in the USA at the time. Another strong song is the funky “Bad Boy” in which Gus’ clavinet gives the tune a 70’s feel to which Jerry adds with some distorted guitar work. Lyrically Joanne does not sound too concerned that the title character has roving eyes as he remains hers at the end of the night; in fact she sounds quite happy that her guy is admired by other women!

Elsewhere the band offers us some late night blues on “Smokin’ Again”, some midpaced blues on “Two Way Street” (with Hank Shreve’s harp to the fore) and uptempo swing on “Let’s Work On It” (Mitch on harp again and fine piano and guitar solos). The band plays in acoustic vein on “Sad Ol’ Heart”, an older song from Jerry whose acoustic guitar is the only accompaniment to Joanne’s vocal on the first verse, the rhythm section joining in later on.

Overall this is a solid disc of mainly original material – worth a listen.

Reviewer John Mitchell is a blues enthusiast based in the UK who enjoys a wide variety of blues and roots music, especially anything in the ‘soul/blues’ category. Favorites include contemporary artists such as Curtis Salgado, Tad Robinson, Albert Castiglia and Doug Deming and classic artists including Bobby Bland, Howling Wolf and the three ‘Kings’. He gets over to the States as often as he can to see live blues.

Cascade Blues Association Review by Greg Johnson, president

The Joanne Broh Band’s latest album, Wicked Cool, has already reaped some mighty fine accolades. Recently receiving the Rainy Day Blues Society’s 2016 Rooster Award for best blues album, the disc is filled with the bluesy arrangements and vocals you’ve come to expect from one of the most beloved artists from the Eugene area.

Joanne’s voice fills many layers befitting the material. Most of the albums’ compositions are original numbers created by Broh, bassist Jim Badalich, and guitarist Jerry Zybach. The band is rounded out with drummer Dan E. Miller and keyboardist Gus Russell.

There are also some hefty guests lending a hand to the selections as well, with harmonica players Mitch Kashmar and Hank Shreve, trumpeters Dana Heitman (The Cherry Poppin’ Daddies) and Dave Bender (The Flying Instruments of Karma, Emerald City Jazz Kings), and saxophonists Sean Flannery (formerly with The Cherry Poppin’ Daddies) and Linda Kanter. Portland’s Joe McCarthy’s produced the horn arrangements for the track Swing ‘Er Like Josephine Baker.

Plenty of emotions spin through Wicked Cool. From the funky beats of Bad Boy,” the tender heartfelt vocals on Sad Ol’ Heart, the biting guitar interludes on Getting’ Old and Let’s Work It Out, the loneliness within love lost in Smokin’ Again, to the closing Reap What You Sow with its R&B piano paced flavor. Overall, the album is a well-crafted sampling by a strong group of musicians with a truly remarkable lead vocalist that takes you on a musical journey that is not only cool, it’s Wicked Cool!

Time: 38:37 Wicked Cool / Getting’ Old Blues / (Shake “Er) Like Josephine Baker / Smokin’ Again / Two way Street / Let’s Work On It / Sad Ol’ Heart / Bad Boy / Reap What You Sow