Sat March 23, 2013
Marc on the Blues

Nine O'clock Blues: Blues With An International Flavor

The Blues is often thought of as all-American. However, there are more and more international artists who deserve recognition alongside the best the good old USA has to offer.

Purveyors of English Blues have been well-known since the 1960s, but now artists from Europe, Japan and many other areas are earning respect. Or even Serbia.

Ana Popovic (Serbian Cyrillic: Ана Поповић, born May 13, 1976 in Belgrade) is a truly fine Blues guitarist and singer/songwriter.

Ana was introduced to the Blues by her father and she began playing guitar when she was 15. She started the band Hush at age 19. They mixed Rhythm and Blues with Funk and Soul. Hush had 3 successful years after starting their career at Club Vox in Belgrade. During that period Ana also recorded slide guitar on an album by the Serbian Rock band Piloti (The Pilots).

Popovic left Hush in 1998 and moved to Amsterdam to study Jazz guitar and she formed the Ana Popovic Band soon after. In 2000, she got her first real break when she was asked to play "Belly Button Window" on the Jimi Hendrix tribute album Blue Haze: Songs of Jimi Hendrix. It was a major break when you consider that the album also included tracks by Eric Burdon, Taj Mahal, Buddy Miles, Double Trouble, and Eric Gales.

Ana Popovic has been a nominee for numerous Blues awards from around the world, including Living Blues Magazine and W. C. Handy awards and among those awards she has gone on to win are the Award Jazz à Juan Revelation in Juan-les-Pins, France, and Best Blues DVD at the Blues Matters Awards, United Kingdom.

Ana’s first solo album shared the name of her first band, Hush! It was released on the German Ruf label and recorded in Memphis. Since that first recording success Ana has recorded several more album and 2 of them, Still Making History and Unconditional reached number one on the Billboard Blues Chart.

And yes, you read that correctly. Her first solo blues album was on a German blues label.

The independent German recording label Ruf, was founded in 1994 by Thomas Ruf. Ruf (pronounced roof) discovered a love for the Blues when he heard Luther Allison during a tour of Europe. Ruf was so taken with Allison that he became his manager and revitalized Luther’s career through the release of several albums.

Along with Luther Allison and Ana Popovic, Ruf Records has recorded albums by Luther’s son Bernard Allison, Cyril Neville, Louisiana Red, Eric Bibb, Canned Heat, Sue Foley, Larry Garner, Michael Hill's Blues Mob, Candye Kane, Omar & The Howlers, Aynsley Lister, Spooky Tooth, Walter Trout and many others. To date the label has released well over 100 albums and has garnered numerous awards and Grammy and Blues Music Award nominations.

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