Janis Joplin. Joan Jett. Bonnie Raitt.
After watching Ottawa-born singer/songwriter Becky Abbott, you cant help but draw comparisons to these iconic female vocalists. Naming her brand of blues-rock Southern Rock, its easy to see how Abbott got to her unique brand of hard-edged power-pop with influences as diverse as Raitt, The Rolling Stones, and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
Abbott, whose soulful voice has massive range, commands the stage and performs each song with an intensity that harkens back to a time when female singers were more focused on rocking out rather than lamenting through sappy power-ballads. Her signature 3 octave range allows her to really take her songs to another level, where emotion drips off from every note.
Her set at the Hard Rock was a non-stop succession of powerful pop-tunes, all written by singer herself. Despite opening the nights showcase, Abbott impressed every A&R representative in the room. Her songs were almost as strong as her performance, but despite her raw vocal power there was something missing.
Abbotts How Strong Do You Think I Am and Just for Today lacked lyrical potency. The songs, while having melodies, dont really mean much. There is no connection between the audience and what shes singing about. The lyrics left a few listeners wondering how one actually finds redemption in the rain?
Sure Abbotts sexy-songstress image makes up for some of the useless lyrics, but what about all those listening to her on a CD? If she wants to get signed, shes going to have to start developing a distinct lyrical voice.
A gem in Abbotts set, Louisiana Quicksand, is an original up-beat rock nroll number that showcased some impressive harmonies. The songs hook will inevitably get caught in anyones head and allows for her to let loose and really show how incredible her voice really is.
Abbotts band manages to walk a very fine line between being impressive and elusive. Rather than scene-stealing, they are scene-setting as the ideal backdrop for the vocalists talent. This may be the result of ample experience in the business, as the band is, for the most part, older than her.
Becky Abbott has a bright future ahead of her. She has the presence of a retro-rocker and a voice that hits all the right notes. Her impressive set at Canadian Music Week gave everyone in attendance a sample of her red-hot sultry sound.
Abbot needs to continue to establish herself as an original and focus on her image and incredible voice. The bottom line here is that this girls got talent. But you have to wonder if having the it factor is sometimes enough.