Before Twitter, before Facebook, even before MySpace, singer/guitarist Daisy Blue Groff was one of Edmonton’s highest-profile musicians, winning CBC TV’s reality contest, Great Canadian Music Dream, with her band, Painting Daisies, in early 2003. The foursome broke up a few years later, never realizing their potential, with Groff and co-vocalist/slide guitarist/songwriter Rachelle van Zanten pursuing their own solo projects and eventually leaving Edmonton.
Daisy Blue, as she is now called, is back in the ol’ hometown and gigging around — at the airport, local pubs and cafes — prepping for the release of her self-titled album, available Tuesday, March 22 via cdbaby.com. The 11-song collection, produced by Joby Baker, is an eclectic offering of blues, funk, world rhythms and folk, sometimes wrapped in a ’90s alt-rock sheen. Remember The Soup Dragons? The Scottish one-hit wonders might come to mind as you listen to a few of Blue’s groovier (and swirlier) tunes, particularly Give Up The Ghost and the harmonica-infused Gunslinger. “He is your ageless stranger / The one who broke up my band,” she sings.
Blue’s lyrics — with references to mysterious/mythical figures, New York, and the realities of being a musician — are intriguing without being incomprehensible, a cut above the usual singer-songwriter wordplay. Her guitar hooks are even better, ranging from the scorching riffs of Forever, Slowly to the plaintive Tex-Mex strums of Electric Love Song.
Truth be told, only one tune on this album is new: Chorus of Sighs, a hushed yet fiery blues-rock number. The other 10 appeared on Blue’s two previous efforts, Sparrow In A Cyclone (2011) and Buried In The Sky (2015), an odd mix of live and studio cuts. Her self-titled release incorporates the best of both and arranges them into one cohesive whole.