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Ana Popovic

Friday, June 29, at Wilbert's.

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A great performer, Ana Popovic is arguably the most exciting female guitarist on the blues circuit today. She began playing in her teens but progressed quickly, showing great natural talent. In her early 20s, Popovic attended a music conservatory in the Netherlands. There, she started a blues band to help pay tuition. But the band took off, so Popovic dropped out and inked a deal with a German label.

Popovic's voice is dully sweet, breathy, and a little low. She can shift from a sultry strut to a deep, despairing wail. Informed by Stevie Ray's quick runs and the long, expressive phrasing of Hendrix, her unique playing skips between brute force and delicate grace, like a stone skimming the water's surface.

Last week Popovic released her third album, Still Making History, which demonstrates her growing confidence and eclecticism. It ranges from "Hold On," a loose and funky number featuring great horns and keyboards, to the Latin rhythms of "Is This Everything There Is?" Although there are more originals than ever before, the best cuts are the covers, including "Big Mama" Thornton's "You Don't Move Me No More" and "Hungry," a sizzling gospel-tinged tune penned by Marcy Levy and Dick Sims, both of whom backed Slowhand.

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