Two years on from the success of Countin’ The Blues, which saw her lauded by the international blues and rock media, recording an exclusive session for BBC Radio 4’s flagship magazine programme Loose Ends, Italian musician Elli de Mon returns with a new full-length album.
Hailing from the northeastern city of Vicenza, for more than a decade Elli’s been thrilling blues audiences across Europe with her unique take on the form. To say she’s a blues singer or blues guitarist is a considerable understatement: conservatoire-schooled, her oeuvre encompasses rezophonic guitar, drums, bells, voice and saturated sound – she is, in every sense, a real one woman band.
Strongly influenced by the primordial blues tradition (Bessie Smith, Fred Mc Dowell, Son House) crosshatched with primitive garage punk, Elli’s sound is shaped into a lysergic journey through her soul. Sharing stages with the likes of The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Reverend Beatman, Cedric Burnside and James Leg, she’s released seven albums since 2014.
A labour of love, Countin’ The Blues was recorded to accompany her book Countin’ The Blues: Indomitable Women, celebrating the queens of the blues. Pagan Blues, comprising eight original songs and a cover of Robert Petway’s ‘Catfish Blues’, is something different… Pagan because it seeks to accommodate multiplicity, questions, insecurity, darkness. Pagan because it was born to provoke those that would cage the blues into a devotional, museum object; who claim to talk about real blues, about truth. Elli does not have the truth. And she hopes she won’t ever get it, because that takes her to distant, even uncomfortable, places. Pagan Blues was born of this discomfort.