Miss Lady Blues
Moe Betta Blues
Miss Lady Blues, also known as, Tikesha McMullen Boyd, grabs you, almost immediately, with her voice and her music, which is Motown-inspired blues. Her album, Moe Betta Blues relies on a tried-and-true concept: strong songs that are well-performed.
The model, and album, are interesting because Boyd comes from the business side of the music industry, which one might incorrectly assume to mean a certain commercial crassness. Moe Betta Blues is fun and accessible, but it's also not mainstream, fusing bluesy undercurrents to vintage 60s grooves, all of it held together by Boyd's strong, rhythmic voice and classic song styles.
Classic doesn't mean old, though. "Baby" has a killer beat and organ riff, with Boyd slaloming through the vocals, a groove within a groove, as she sings, "This may not be Burger King / But you can sure have it your way." It's a funny line that roots the song in the present, because while the fast food tag line has been around since the 1970s, quoting it as Boyd does feels 2022.
There's something very Gladys Knight about Boyd's voice and the way she's able to play off of Joey Robinson's brilliant drums (Robinson also provides the piano and organ). On "She Ain't Me," Boyd builds a slither of a groove within an explosive arrangement that features drums, horns, and Dexter Allen's almost salacious background vocals. Robinson lays back on his beat, and Boyd lays back even more, but the result isn't low-key, instead creating a bluesy seriousness.
"Being in Love" is as close as Boyd comes to a ballad, crafting something that sounds like a lost '60s classic, and allowing Boyd to show off her powerful pipes. The track is a nice change in that it's not about the rhythm so much as it's about Boyd's vocal timbre.
The Atlanta-based Boyd isn't a household name yet, and is beginning her musical journey (although she was the Alabama Music Awards 2021 best female blues artist), but her talent is undeniable. She doesn't identify as a pure blues artist, but her blues credentials are impossible to miss. Her songwriting is retro but not derivative and she has a voice you can listen to all day. Moe Betta Blues is a complete album that's ready for your ears, but I'm also incredibly curious what future releases will reveal.