Blues Underground Network
Ginger St. James & The Grinders "Spank, Sparkle & Growl"
Ginger St. James is the second Artist I have come across in as many weeks that simply exudes not only a powerful and unique vocal quality but also offers us a fresh new take on the often to neglected art of Smoky Room Piano Style Blues. Now with her new debut release "Spank, Sparkle & Growl", which she brings to us with the backing of her exceptional group, "The Grinders", a name you will understand shortly, Ginger St. James has started to branch out in a big way, leaving her past behind, but not without taking the best parts with her.
When it comes to singing the style of music Ginger St. James sings, their are some qualities which certainly help to get across the point in a more believable manner, such as good looks, a great voice, and that certain stage presence that melds altogether and clicks perfectly with the audience. Ginger St. James has all that and more. Her good looks are undeniable, and the red streak she sports in her hair lets you know she is not shy about drawing attention, something that she was more than able to prove in here previous incarnation as a Burlesque Entertainer, where she sang in one of Canada's "first burlesque troupes in Canada to revive the old vaudeville tradition, led her to form her own group in her hometown, the Steeltown Sirens". Various other gigs including a stint with the well known mentalist "Mysterion the Mind Reader", led her to finally form her own group, which of course could have no more appropriate name then being called "The Grinders" consisting of Snow-Heel Slim, Greg Brisco, Tyrone Ramsey, and Andre Tellier.
Ginger St. James light is starting to shine very bright and has quickly become one of the more exciting new artists in Ontario, especially after being picked Best Female Artist two years in a row via a very prominent magazine called View Magazine. All of this and more is what comes shining through on "Spank, Sparkle & Growl".
"Spank, Sparkle & Growl" consists of 6 Tracks, all written by Ginger St. James, except for "Don't Deceive Me" which is a Chuck Willis song and one, by the way, that she covers exceptionally well, almost as if she was born for that song. Clocking in at a little over 20 minutes, you would think that wouldn't be enough time to get a good idea of whether Ginger was worth her salt or not as a artist, but don't be fooled by the length of the Album, because all doubts about her being a fabulous singer, songwriter, and performer are quickly shoved aside moments after you start listening to the opening track. Lets not also forget her band, whom back her up to perfection and makes for an extremely well rounded and enjoyable listening experience.
I found "Spank, Sparkle & Growl" to be filled with a lot of musical treasures and a very good range of style that showed off her and the band in their best light. "Spank, Sparkle & Growl" is also very well produced, with songs that nicely fall into logical fashion, one after the other, all coming to a wonderful ending with the last track, "Lullaby", one of my favorites.
"Spank, Sparkle & Growl" is one of the more refreshing offering so far for 2011, by an Artist whom will be getting much more of our attention, now that she has this great Album out showing us all what she can do.
For good honest the goodness blues done up sexy and appropriately "Spank, Sparkle & Growl" is a must have Album.
very glad to have been introduced to Ginger St. James & The Grinders music and really look forward to following, what I am sure will be a long and productive career.
Review by John Vermilyea (Blues Underground Network)
1.Swing About You
Listen To Samples Here...
Ginger St. James Bio
WHAT MAKES GINGER ST. JAMES SO DAMNED HOT? THIS HAMILTON ARTIST MAKES HER MOVE ; AS A BURLESQUE ENTERTAINER BECOMES A SERIOUS SINGER The first thing you remember is her hair; what IS that wild streak of fuscia colouring in the middle of her brunette hair? Heck, her name is GINGER St. James, right? Right indeed. A tiny firecracker of a woman, raised on a farm near Hamilton, full of piss and vinegar, has become a serious artist who cleverly mixes vaudeville, cabaret, rock and roll and tease like a bartender mixing a million dollar drink, night after night. You CAN take the girl out of the farm, and you CAN take the farm out of the girl. Seriously, people, there’s a smart and sassy sophistication that’s part of the private and public persona of this woman that certainly belies a childhood of bailing hay, mucking out the cowshed, and feeding the animals.
St. James found her way into the entertainment business the way most kids do — a guitar at 13, a cheerful streak of exhibitionism (“ I’m on stage; look at me!”), talent contests, and — a defining moment — a guest appearance with a burlesque troupe in a little theatre. A challenge, she says now, looking back: “I was a little nervous backstage, and then it’s like "bring it on!’” In 2002, she first appeared on the Toronto scene as a member of Les Coquettes as a sultry singer; her affection for good old rock and roll and the lure of footlights led her to Broadway songs. And Les Coquettes, one of the first burlesque troupes in Canada to revive the old vaudeville tradition, led her to form her own group in her hometown, the Steeltown Sirens . St. James also toured the variety circuit with famed Canadian mentalist Mysterion the Mind Reader and a host of other macabre performers. Eighty shows later, St. James had emerged as a singer as well as a saucy soubrette with slithery moves, legs to die for and a smile to melt the ice in your gin and tonic. Along the way, she worked as an artists’ model, took the femme fatale role in Lucky 7, an indie film feature (and she’s currently involved in two other independent movie productions) and performed as a guest with many well known Hamilton bands.
In 2009 she formed her pedal-to-the- metal backup group, which she named — of course! — The Grinders. Backed by her band, (Snow-Heel Slim, Greg Brisco, Tyrone Ramsey, and Andre Tellier) it was her voice, sultry and surprisingly strong, that took her to her present level as one of Ontario’s most exciting new artists. This was, after all, an artist who could handle show tunes, swing, rockabilly, country and good ol’ rock and roll; from her gut-wrenching version of ‘Tennessee Waltz’ to the originals ‘Boom Boom Room’, and ‘Lonely Cryin’ Blues’. Most of all, though, she developed a taste for the blues — which she vivaciously mixes with the rest of the musical genres she loves.
Like burlesque, the blues is as American as the Fourth of July, grape jelly, and deep-fried chicken. The blues are tough, raunchy, have an undercurrent of humour and speak to the concerns of the folk who drink, dance, work two jobs and need to unwind at the first possible opportunity. The first folk to take notice were the editors of View Magazine, Hamilton’s guide to what matters in Steeltown — in 2008 she was picked Best Female Artist, and the honour was repeated last year as well (along, it must be added, with a citation as “Sexiest Hamiltonian”).
Ginger St. James has now well and truly broken out of her role as a Hamilton phenomenon; the rest of us are discovering her. She’s just released her first recording, aptly titled Spank, Sparkle and Growl — launched with much enthusiastic support at key clubs in Toronto as well as in her hometown. Now, with the confidence and smarts she’s acquired since she shed most of her clothes at her first burlesque shows eight years ago, she has become a singer with the heart and soul and sexiness of the blues. And an entertainer who demands that her audience laughs and dances their asses off. This hotrod and hootenanny loving gal is the real deal.