2023 release. Joshua Tree, California. A place where rock ‘n’ roll mythology is made, for better and worse. It was under these same burnished skies that Gram Parsons’ stolen body was set ablaze. Where U2 announced their bid for global infamy. And as Ghalia Volt reminds us, exactly thirty years ago, it was here that near-mythical producer and Queens of The Stone Age conspirator David Catching founded the fabled Rancho De La Luna studio that would bring a stream of dust-blown musicians to his door like moths to a candle.
“Going to the desert to record Shout Sister Shout! with David,” says the acclaimed Belgian singer-songwriter of her latest album that adds its own thumbprint to the Rancho De La Luna legend, “was something unique.”
Six years have passed since Volt quit the busking circuit of her native Brussels for the heady throb of New Orleans, where she made her first ripples as the livewire frontwoman of local heroes Mama’s Boys. That hook-up led to Volt’s acclaimed debut album Let The Demons Out (declared “an irresistible force” by Classic Rock) and to Volt’s next steppingstone, to the hill country of Coldwater, Mississippi, for sessions with the Southern state’s Cody Dickinson, Watermelon Slim and Cedric Burnside on 2019’s Mississippi Blend. That album saw Volt dubbed “a natural-born star” by Henry Yates (NME, Classic Rock, The Guardian) and broke into the Billboard Blues Chart Top 3 on three separate occasions.
Even Covid couldn’t clip her wings, with the fierce multi-instrumentalist writing songs for her One-Woman Band project on a month-long Amtrak train journey that carved across America, before loading up her van for solo shows. “One Woman Band opened lots of doors, let me play the biggest stages yet,” she says. “But Shout Sister Shout! is my best material so far.”
Every Cloud kicks off like a road movie soundtrack, its jutting lick and battle cry vocal interrupted by a woozy organ freakout worthy of The Doors’ Ray Manzarek. Can’t Afford To Die pairs its propulsive rockabilly rattle with sobering lyrics. Insomnia is a trip, its slow-burn psychedelia swirling from the speakers. The seething Hell Is Not Gonna Deal With You finds Volt spitting venom onto the mic and studio drummer Danny Frankel practically battering holes in his kit, while Po’ Boy John is a cathouse rave-up, Volt imagining the backstory of an old guitar.
With its addictive beat and ghostly alt-gospel vocals, title track Shout Sister Shout! demands to be heard. “It’s a song encouraging women to speak loud for what they deserve,” she says. “Fight back, stare back, scream back.”
Ghalia Volt has done exactly that, returning from the wilderness with the album of her career and the songs that will ignite venues across the globe. “Right now,” she says, “I'm ready to jump back into a band, play these new songs live and run all around the stage…”