Ida Mae’s debut album, Chasing Lights, is a modern day recall to the British invasion of the 1960’s. Much like their predecessors, they draw on the roots of American blues and Jazz while injecting their Norwich, England roots into each of their songs.
13 tracks of blues, rock and roll, jazz, and dashes of pop create a great first album that should push them into the forefront of the music scene.
Chris Turpin and Stephanie Jean are the husband and wife duo that make up Ida Mae and while not their first musical venture together, this one seems to be the best fit. Deriving their name from the first song that they harmonized on, “Ida Mae” by Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, it seems like everything was meant to be from those first harmonies. While they were on their way with their first band, Kill The Kid, a major record deal going bad was the start of Chris and Stephanie starting over and thankfully for us, they dug in and created the work that would become Chasing Lights.
Recording the album live, at the behest of producer and musician Ethan Johns, it highlights every aspect of why this duo works. Their harmonies are matched perfectly weather tackling gritty rockers like “My Girl Is A Heart Break”, “Reaching”, and “Higher Than the Light” or the subtle ballads with songs “Easily In Love”, “Rightfully Honest”, or my personal favorite “If You Don’t Love Me.” The slide guitar work on the album is masterful and yet blended expertly with a mix of synthesizers and drum machines to offer something for almost any music fan.
Chris draws on musical inspirations like Mississippi Fred McDowell and Robert Johnson while Stephanie is influenced by some of the greats in Bessie Smith, Ella Fitzgerald, and Billie Holiday. Those influences help create a sound that is both timeless and still very modern. Chris says “We didn’t want to go into the studio and rehash old records. Incorporating synths and drum machines and string samples and experimenting with guitar tones was a way for us to offset the traditional roots nature of a lot of the music we were recording.”
Do yourselves a favor and get on the Ida Mae train and grab this album to keep this fantastic duo out touring and making more great music.