As her bio proclaims, Ndidi Onukwulu is first and foremost a blues singer. It’s certainly clear from her second album that the Toronto-?based BC native’s not operating under false pretences. There are tinges of funk, soul and rock ’n’ roll, but with a voice like Onukwulu’s, there’s no fooling – this is raw, earth-?shaking blues.
Honing her songwriting, Onukwulu takes on the role of soothsayer, wronged woman and defiant siren in the course of these dozen tracks, from the surprisingly jaunty lament Forever SZ to the rocky Boogie, co-?written with guitarist Paul Pigat. But the album’s ender, Harry Nilsson’s oft-?covered He Needs Me, is a reminder that her writing has a way to go before it becomes a match for that voice.
Ndidi Onukwulu plays Hugh’s Room Wednesday (June 11).