Trilogy is a 23-track road of heartache and inner power, a look into aging and personal strength.
It’s a great time for fans of guitar virtuoso Ana Popovic, who has just released her long-awaited album, Trilogy. The album comes in the form of three discs, subtitled “Morning,” “Midday,” and “Midnight.” Each disc pays tribute to a different genre of music, most notably jazz, R&B, and good old rock ’n’ roll, which is what Popovic does best. While most artists have trouble writing one entire album, Popovic has given us three.
Born in Belgrade yet based in Memphis, Popovic displays a musical diversity that is quite astounding, vocally an elegant mixture of the late Janis Joplin and Melissa Etheridge. Popovic readily draws you in with her raspy vocals. As a songwriter, she creates her own world in different colors and tones—a world one can easily get lost in.
Starting with Volume One: Morning, the album opens with “Love You Tonight,” a sassy, horn-touched tune that instantly pulls the listener in, making them want more. The guitar work here is both eloquent and blistering. The R&B flavored tunes on “Valona” follow a loose groove, allowing her style to stand out in grand fashion. There’s nothing fake here; every note is heartfelt and on point.
The eclectic blend of genres has rarely been done with such panache. Popovic scores with a level of talent that is almost genius. Trilogy shows this artist has nothing left to prove. She can harness and master any genre, any style, with grace and a touch of brashness, as is shown on a track like “Show You How Strong You Are,” an anthemic song about bringing out the strength in others.
On to Volume Two: Midday, which starts off with the upbeat, riff-laden tune “You Got the Love.” This CD sports more of a rock feel and approach. The solo work here is rawer and overstated, more of the rock ’n’ roll style behind the album. It is bound to get your energy pumping. This album shows why Popovic was the only female guitarist asked to tour with the Experience Hendrix Tour, alongside legends like Dweezil Zappa and Zack Wylde.
Closing the trilogy is CD number three, entitled Midnight. Sultry and subdued, the jazz-infused, seven-track winddown opens with a blistering cover of Tom Waits’ “New Coat of Paint.” The R&B groove here is a perfect end to the album. A track like the sassy “Old Country,” with its use of a wailing trumpet, is sure to get at your heart strings, and make you think about your own life.
For an artist to create one quality album is quite a feat; to make three at once is almost unreal. There’s no filler here, either. Each song stands on its own merit, creating its own world. To achieve such a product, an artist must push herself further than ever before, and that is precisely what Popovic has done here. She takes the day and spins it into a musical journey. Trilogy is a 23-track road of heartache and inner power, a look into aging and personal strength. Quite a feat, indeed. A | Marc Farr