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Donna Herula - " Bang At The Door" - 2022 - Self-Released

Musicians: Donna Herula: guitar, vocals FJ Ventre: upright and electric bass, percussion and background vocals Dana Thalhelmar: drums Doug Hammer and Daryl Davis: piano Tony Pons: trumpet Tony Nardiello: acoustic guitar, vocals Jon Shain: mandolin, acoustic guitar and backing vocals Bill Newton: harmonica Anne Harris: fiddle Rebecca Toon, Katherine Davis, Janie Grandsart and Chris Holda: backing vocals


Produced by Jon Shain at Good Luck Studio.



Donna Herula - Let's be Brief:

· Independent Blues Awards 2022 - Nominated for - Best Acoustic Blues CD - " Bang At The Door " / Best Traditional Blues Song - "Bang At The Door" / Best Female Artist / Best Traditional Blues Band

· Chicago Blues Hall of Fame – 2016

· Blues Blast Magazine - April, 2018 - "Chicago Blues Guitar Woman"

· Celebrated acoustic blues guitarist; acclaimed educator (teaches guitar at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago as well as blues education programs); licensed marriage counselor (!); and a voice for all the women in the blues.


Chicago-born singer-songwriter known world-wide for her deeply passionate performances of Delta, Piedmont, and early Chicago blues; folk; roots and Americana plus her extraordinary, emotional original compositions. Donna’s inspirations include Son House, Fred McDowell, Muddy Waters, Johnny Winter, Lucinda Williams, Lyle Lovett, and Rory Block, to name but a few.


Donna has performed frequently at Buddy Guy's Legends in Chicago, opening for Buddy himself several times. Appearances at major festivals include the Chicago Blues Festival, King Biscuit Blues Festival, Juke Joint Festival as well as headlining the Durban International Blues Festival in South Africa.


In 2019 Donna's mothers’ illness and eventual passing from cancer brought her life to a standstill. Donna and her sisters had helped care for their mother. On top of this, her mother-in-law also died. Donna has dedicated this project, long delayed but finally released, to both her mother and mother-in-law.


Donna Herula and her partner Tony Nardiello, in North Carolina, recorded her third album " Bang At The Door “. Produced by Jon Shain the sessions also include bassist F J Ventre; Doug Hammer on piano; Dana Thalheimer on drums; trumpet player Tony Pons; Bill Newton on harmonica with special guests - Annie Harris, violin; Daryl Davis, piano; Bill Newton, harmonica; Tony Nardiello, vocals, guitar; and backup singers Katherine Davis and Rebecca Toon.


Set includes 14 songs - 11 originals and 3 outstanding covers - 13-page booklet of liner notes by blues writer and reviewer Mark Thompson, photos and lyrics of all of Donna's original songs on the recording.


" The perspective I took when I wrote the album is (I) really wanted to include the woman's voice in the blues. And I wanted to offer a range of emotions. I wanted to offer joy, sorrow, strength, excitement, hope, into all the songs. So, a real range.... I wanted to take people on a journey and experience different styles, different emotions, as they went through this journey on " Band At The Door".


" I wrote a song called " Promise Me" that's about the spouse, or the partner, or the father, or brother, that goes to prison, and what it's like for the woman at home, feeling sad, and worried about the person that they care about".


There is an interesting space between the blues and Donna's work as a marriage counselor - " I really feel the blues is all about emotion. I think I'm just in a good position to be able to write songs because I see things in a different way than I think a lot of people (do), having that background in mental health. Just having some empathy for people and understanding how hard it is, at times in life, with your relationships, things that happen in your life. There could be loss or trauma that happened to you and how difficult that is. That's what made counseling intriguing for me and that's what makes the blues so intriguing for me, is this tapping into that deep well".


From the opening track , " Bang At The Door" , a perfect blending of pop music and the blues ; featuring Donnas resonator , F J on bass , and Donna Thalheimer on drums ; on to " Got What I Deserve " which is a triumphant mix of country , rock , and blues that features Donna singing duet with herself , backing by Anne Harris on fiddle , Jon Shain on acoustic guitar and F J Ventre on bass and tambourine; and straight onward to "Pass The Biscuits" , piano , trumpet , backing vocals alongside Donnas ear-catching slide- which pays tribute to " Sunshine" Sonny Payne from KFFA Radio in Helena , Arkansas - Sonny passed away as Donna was making preparations for this album - Sonny hosted the " King Biscuit Time " program for over 65 years - Donna played live on this program in 2009 when she participated in the International Blues Challenge ; then we twist sideways and run into one of the 3 incredible covers - which is Blind Willie Johnson's " The Soul Of A man " , a tour-de-force that updates the acoustic rock style of Donnas finger-picking , featuring the backings of Katherine Davis , Tony Nardiello , Jon Shain , Rebecca Toon , and F J on bass - you get an amazing range that showcases Donnas extraordinary songwriting and finger-picking skills .


“Bang At The Door " gives a well-deserved voice to the women's part in the realm of the blues. Donna successfully walks that tightrope between the traditional and more contemporary blues traditions. She is certainly making her own way forward. Music led by her heart you can feel Donna's music - and this is where the magic happens. Masterful resonator and bottleneck guitar work, amazing vocals and clever originals dripping with raw emotions, a solid team of stellar musicians, it all adds up to a mighty tasty treat! This project is certainly one of the best acoustic albums out there." Bang At The Door “and wait to enter a world where time stands still - from Piedmont country blues, to Chicago blues-rock, making time on the mysterious Delta, finding your way towards the back alleys of swingin' ragtime and smoky jazz clubs, and in a flash find yourself standing there back in the 21st century - an mesmerizing fusion of uniquely creative styles -and -. What a trip!! Definitely a must - have CD for music fans everywhere! Music worth celebrating about!


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