Zoe Chilco Feme Sole Indie

John Valenteyn
Toronto Blues Society
Maple Blues, November 2002

As Zoe points out in the booklet, "Feme Sole" is a legal term from an era when women did not own property independently and she uses it as a definition of the feminine standing alone. The term rather aptly applies to her musical career in that she has largely chosen to go it alone through seven albums now, writing her own material, hiring and recording musicians when necessary and staying away from labels. This time out though, she sticks mostly to jazz and blues in terms of styles and the album hangs together rather better as a result - no mean achievement in a generous, 76-minute program. Of the sixteen songs, fully nine are blues/R&B: "The Blues is Callin'", "Big Blues", "Remedy", "Bar Blues", "I Wanna Hold You", "Pick-up", "The Game of Love", "Willya" and "Mr. Wrong". They would form a fine blues album by themselves and it would be a longer one than some that have been reviewed here, the fine jazz songs would then be a delightful bonus. As for the songs themselves, Zoe writes and sings about love lost, found (however temporarily) and love needed without the listener having the sense of entering a very personal world as I thought was the case with some of the songs on Mbodeo. There is generally a very upbeat tone to the entire effort, aided and abetted by some of our finest players, Chris Whiteley especially shines on guitar, trumpet and harp. By the time you read this, the CD launch will already have happened so you might want to check out www.chilcostreet.ca/zoe for ordering info, poetry and some nice photos.