Dana Fuchs has built a loyal following in central New York, based on her energetic performances at the New York State Blues Festival and Dinosaur Bar-B-Que over the past half decade. That made her a popular choice for a NYS Blues Festival fundraiser appearance Friday, December 1 at Funk N Waffles in downtown Syracuse.
Her most loyal fans are familiar with Fuchs’ songbook and a few of their requests were granted during the evening. This included a rarely played tune as a tribute to an unnamed member of the Syracuse music community unable to attend due to serious illness. The notion of overcoming hardship or loss is a common theme in Fuchs’ songs as well as in the title of her upcoming release, Love Lives On. Throughout the set, she revealed details about herself and her family’s lives. While doing so in the club setting, it felt as though she was connecting to both old and new fans in a manner that other performers don’t often achieve. During one intro, she spoke of her own astonishing personal loss of both parents and three siblings over a short span, and how that loss was a basis for the captivating “Calling Angels.” This song featured Craig Dreyer on saxophone, in addition to his usual keyboard duties, and was one of the highlights of a memorable night of music.
While Fuchs displayed elements of many different styles, from blues to soul to gospel and even R&B at times, she is most decidedly known for her powerful voice and commanding stage presence during dynamic rock songs. Still, perhaps her best moments this particular evening were during the somewhat quieter pieces, including a poignant duet with her longtime songwriting collaborator Jon Diamond on guitar, “Keep On Rollin,” and the heartfelt “Faithful Sinner.” She and Diamond also displayed resilience in working around some technical difficulties in order to deliver the country blues tune “Nothing On My Mind.” Fuchs will return to touring next year in support of her pending 2018 release, Love Lives On, which can be pre-ordered here.
Fuchs mentioned that the drummer, Santo Rizzolo, was playing his very first show with the band and that the bass player, Brian Gearty, was fairly new to the ensemble as well. She made a point to thank them for stepping in and stepping up in order to help keep things rolling for her and the rest of the band. And roll they did, as Fuchs closed the show with some thunderous vocals on her own “Keep On Walking” and a blistering version of The Beatles’ “Helter Skelter,” much to the appreciation of an attentive and enthusiastic crowd.
Fuchs will return to Syracuse next summer when she and her band perform at the New York State Blues Festival, held in Syracuse’s Clinton Square July 12-14, 2018. You’d be wise to make plans to see Dana Fuchs and her band, whether it be again or for the very first time.
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