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Ooh Yea!
Mahalia Barnes & The Soul Mates featuring Joe Bonamassa
Release Date: February 24, 2015
Review Date: February 22, 2015

One of the reasons I love Joe Bonamassa is not only because of his monster guitar talent, it’s also because he’s not afraid to share the stage with other talent. Not only that, he also helps them with their recording and performance careers.

Bonamassa has been a huge help in moving Beth Hart’s career forward in a huge way with their CD, “Don’t Explain,” “See Saw,” “Live In Amsterdam” as well as DVD appearances with the phenomenal talent.

Well, JB has done it again by working with an amazing contestant from “The Voice,” Mahalia Barnes and her band, The Soul Mates.

All I can say is wow, wow, WOW!  And she didn’t sweep The Voice?  I’m biting my tongue.

This girl is flipping amazing!  She’s made the gutsy call to make her new album, “Ooh Yea!,” a treatment of some of the songbook of ‘70’s punk-funk, soul and R&B pioneer, Betty Davis. When you throw in the smokin’ hot guitar work of Bonamassa, you know that you’re in for an incredible, musical treat!

The story of how this album even came about is interesting in its serendipity.  Last year, Ms. Barnes was in the studio with her dad along with Bonamassa’s legendary producer, Kevin Shirley. She played Shirley some cuts from Betty Davis’ work as a point of reference. The idea was born for Mahalia to record what became “Ooh Yea – The Betty Davis Songbook.”

From the opening tune, “If I’m In Luck I Might Get Picked Up,” Mahalia and the Soul Mates makes the listener stand, take notice, and become new, lifelong fans.

The album is high energy funk, R&B and soul.  Bonamassa’s contributions to the album are unmistakable and important. However, the Soul Mates are no slouches, either. Franco Raggatt and Ben Rodgers are amazing on the guitar and bass. Clayton Doley and Lachlan Doley are phenomenal on the keys as are David Hibbard and Yanya Boston on drums and congas. Barnes’ dad, legendary Australian rock legend, Jimmy Barnes, joins his daughter on “Walking Up The Road” for what adds up to a great musical treat.

Pick up or download “Ooh Yea – The Betty Davis Songbook.” I guarantee you that you’ll be hearing a lot more of this amazing, talented young woman for many years to come.