A Woman's Soul: A Tribute To Bessie Smith

Kicking it off with a tribute to Bessie Smith, she leads us into the land of jellyrolls, poodles and all that other sexy stuff we never really got as kids wondering what they were singing about. A modern musician as well as a great historian, all Grammy voters within the view of my words ought to make a point of moving down the ballot to the blues category this year and giving Block the sugar that belongs in her bowl. Killer stuff. The mantle has been passed to the new empress of the blues.

Chris Spector - Midwest Record - Chicago

... on this acoustic masterpiece, Block does everything herself... All this proves that Block, like Smith, is an important "Power Woman of the Blues". She is a strong contender for the most influential acoustic artist of our time.

Making A Scene

Rory Block is an interpreter par excellence. Not only is she is more than up to the task of delivering material associated with the greats, she has an uncanny ability to capture the essence of the original while letting her own artistry shine through. Her voice comes with its own, instantly identifiable survivor's rasp, and her guitar work is equally stunning. There is no doubt that someday there will be many a tribute album to the great Rory Block.


... ten gorgeous performances in settings that shine new light on Bessie's songs... a remarkable tribute to Bessie Smith.

John Valenteyn - Toronto Blues Society

... Her voice is so evocative of these songs it's easy to imagine the woman as one of the second-generation originators. These are sensuous stripped-down creations, with Block playing all the instruments, which include hat boxes, plastic storage bins, wooden spoons and whatever else gets the job done... It's one musician and their deep blues, with the courage to express every feeling there is.

Bentley's Bandstand

After a series of stunning tributes to bluesmen that she's encountered in her life, Rory launches her new "power women of the blues" series with this magnificent tribute to Bessie Smith...

The Rock Doctor- Canada

Rory Block now turns her massive talents toward the distaff side with the first of her series entitled "Power Women Of The Blues," with "A Woman's Soul: A Tribute To Bessie Smith". The whole thing is a stone gas from start to finish, likely as Bessie would have wanted. Rory Block has captured the soul and essence of one of the pioneer women of the blues

Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society

This is how I like my blues. Entirely acoustic with multi-tracked accompaniment... gorgeous, masterful guitar playing... fervent passion... relaxed but riveting, powerful performances... Block's execution is stellar... Block plums the emotional depths of these songs so effectively they sound inspirational...

Fervor Coulee - wordpress.com

One of the greatest contemporary acoustic blues artists, guitarist-vocalist Rory Block has paid tribute to many greats... Having her fashion an homage to a female legend- Bessie Smith, "The Empress of The Blues'- was a natural move for Block... Her vibrant vocals do justice to the legend, injecting ample fire, soul and grit into each performance. Block delivers all the spice... she's seductive and sassy... Block's slide guitar throughout is just as impressive as her voice... The artist, a five-time Blues Music Award winner, honors tradition and builds upon it.

Pop Culture Classics - Paul Freeman

Fans of early Blues music are in for a rare treat, with Rory Block- A Woman's Soul- A Tribute To Bessie Smith. For this 10-track release, it's all Rory Block, with no outside distractions and the result is something wonderful.

Luxury Experience

Rory Block has immersed herself in the blues for literally her entire adult life and part of her teenage years as well. Her five decade career, her prowess as a guitarist/vocalist, and her respect for the history and traditions of the blues have propelled her to the forefront of the American blues pantheon... Rory does not try to imitate Smith but rather updates her music... The songs survive in a different form and format and while they are lodged in the past, they remain powerful... It is a wonderful call from the past that should not go unheeded.

David Bowling - CASHBOX

Smith's provocative and bawdy lyrics find new life in Blockís lilting raspy voice, drenched in sass and soul. Block's acoustic arrangements and peerless chops are the perfect combo and deliver a stellar recording... A Woman's Soul sizzles, shakes and satisfies with the passion and conviction that only acoustic blues can evoke... clarity of tone and superlative slide... Every performance is a gem here... she is truly an artist at the zenith of her musical talents in full control of her vision and direction.

James Filkins - Minor 7th

...Block is finally able to realize her creative dream and record this historic material with her own soulful, deeply respectful stamp and acoustic musical skill... She has devised a brilliant, ten-track program of Smith's more familiar work, interspersed with rarely performed gems. Up first is a sassy take on Do Your Duty, featuring some excellent guitar work by Block, as well as her husky, sexy, powerful pipes... On every track, the authentic blues feel, the intricate guitar and percussion work... and Block's multi-textured and irresistible vocal chops, deliver it all. No doubt, Miss Bessie Smith would be proud!

Lesley Mitchell-Clarke - The Whole Note

Do Your Duty
Kitchen Man
Jazzbo Brown from Memphis Town
Gimme a Pigfoot and a Bottle of Beer
Need a Little Sugar in my Bowl
I'm Down in the Dumps
Black Mountain
Weeping Willow Blues
On Revival Day
Empty Bed Blues