Lea McIntosh is on the money with Blood Cash

Lea McIntosh is on the money with Blood Cash

Lea McIntosh is on the money with Blood Cash a great listen with variation and skill pouring out of the speakers. Only seven tracks but plenty of positives and an exciting promise for the next album.

Here’s a name that may well be new to non-USA dwellers or to those who haven’t seen Lea McIntosh on TV, the interweb or at numerous marketing extravaganzas…for this lady has a CV as long as my arm and takes in successful chef, designer, marketing and multimedia businesswoman but who always had a deep love for music and, on the evidence of her debut album, Blood Cash, she has an instinctive and capable ability to compose and perform too.

Taking the brave decision to put all of her entrepreneurial businesses aside, she returned the moment in time

“I was thirteen years old, sitting in my dad’s truck listening to the radio while he was loading it up and a song called “Where’ve You Been” by Kathy Mattea came on. When the song ended, I was in tears and remember saying to myself, ‘Someday I want to do that.  I want to sing and tell my story through music.’” 


That inspiration, (Kathy Mattea is an established country and bluegrass singer with many US hits to her name and won a Grammy for her bluegrassy, gospel-y, country-y album, Good News in 1994), backed by an innate ability to play instruments including fiddle, bass and mandolin, has led to this album with seven original songs co-written with guitarist Travis Cruse.

The opening song is a brave and heartbreaking true story…Lea’s own words say it best:

“Blood Cash is just the first song of others I’ve written that tells the story of my mother’s murder. I was only 11 when she was shot and killed by a hired gunman. Several months after her murder, a man who was picked up for a traffic violation turned himself in and gave a detailed testimony recounting her last day. It’s a story for another song, and it’s on the next album, which we finished writing and have begun recording. Losing my mother to violence was life-altering, devastating, and completely rewrote the code in my heart”.

With that inconceivable message, all I will say is that Lea has a great voice and the band are first class and combine well in this slightly field structured blues-rock song…the intro is fabulous acoustic and the vocal and percussion make it even better and then an electric solo of real quality plays cleverly with the melody, as does the restrained and melodic harp solo. A very good start.

Next up is the funked blues of Blue Stoned Heart with a touch of soul on the choruses; the many-layered backing supports the emotional vocals and a subtle and crafted, picked guitar solo is the icing on the cake…for which Lea probably has the recipe. Tennessee Hurricane is about a whisk(e)y loving man with the weather an analogy that fits well…musically Cruse again excels with some sterling guitar work as the vocals show Lea’s versatility. Not so much blues as a pop/rock/blues meld with the phased guitar solo expanding the sound almost into prog…it works though.

Fantasy Woman is blues with a tiny bit of funk underlying the complex, yet sparse backing as Lea competes with her man’s mental images, I think, at the, erm, climax. This is a song of the kind that grows with a few listens and that spearing through the darkness guitar solo is outstanding. (Bluesdoodles was delighted to premiere the video for this track.)

Purple Suede Boots has a touch of Latin about it but the band are obviously having a ball as each member plays a blinder while Lea paints interesting pictures across the lovely melody. A rattling harp solo and a cracking picked guitar solo with added Hammond on the outro make this irresistible. (Incidentally, the cover and PR photos show Lea strutting down the railroad track (disused going by the growth of weeds and so no health and safety breaches!) in just such footwear (and calf and knee-wear says a man with no sense of fashion (since the 70s anyway)).

Soul Stripper is a languid soul-tinged song with a powerful chorus and more delicious guitar and Hammond…the guitar solo is totally in keeping and an object lesson in bends to best effect. The final track, The Fire Is Coming, brings a faster-paced, funky guitar intro before it evolves (via great bass/Hammond) into a classy Stax like blues-rock song: the guitar solo is also paced, but slower than expected and picked to perfection.

This is a very solid album that shows the skill of every member of this strong ensemble and bodes very well for the next one.

By the way, the new compositions Lea mentions in the Blood Cash explanation is with the iconic blues maestro J.P. Soars, so that is something to look forward to as the thirty-two and a half minutes of the current release just isn’t enough!

Bluesdoodles rating: 3 Doodle Paws – a great listen with variation and skill pouring out of the speakers. Only seven tracks (the length of an LP, so shouldn’t grumble) but plenty of positives and an exciting promise for the next album.

Lea McIntosh is on the money with Blood Cash

Track listing:
Blood Cash
Blue Stoned Heart
Tennessee Hurricane
Fantasy Woman
Purple Suede Boots
Soul Stripper
The Fire Is Coming

Blood Cash is out on August 20th via Shark Park Records 

Lea McIntosh: vocals
Travis Cruse: guitars
Myron Dove: bass
Deszon Claiborne: drums
Eamonn Flynn: keyboards
Andy Just: harmonica
Tammi Brown and Will Bell: backing vocals

Blood Cash is out on August 20th via Shark Park Records 

(iTunes, bless it, moved on to my extensive Leadbelly collection and I went for Gallis Pole, which a certain band renamed Gallows Pole, but this is the definitive and best.)

Newsletter Updates

Enter your email address below to subscribe to our newsletter

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.