Some artists get knocked down and never resurface again, save for the few who
get approached by that dude on VH-1’s Bands Reunited. Pop songstress
Alana Davis got knocked down when Elektra Records tried to strip her of creative
input after a very successful debut in 1998 that spawned two Top 40 singles,
including the smash “32 Flavors.” Winning the battle, Alana released her next
album on the label but got no promotional support. But instead of sulking, she
demanded the label release her, freeing her up to do her own thing, and more
importantly, do it her own way.
Fast forward three years, and the new album, Surrender Dorothy, is a
joint release on both Alana’s Tigress record label with the promotional power of
veteran specialty label Telarc. The integrity of Alana Davis comes through loud
and clear on Surrender Dorothy, with the familiar flavors of rock, pop,
R&B, and folk that are the foundation of her music, without a filter on her
Alana has a sultry, soulful voice that dances with the melodies she writes, as
well as with a tight acoustic groove, and the opening track, “Letter” has all of
that. “The Benefit” and “Create” are riff-laden funky songs along the lines of
Jonatha Brooke. “Wide Open” has an Americana flavor but without the twangy
vocal. “Jaded” shows Alana’s precision of infusing jazz chords into funky pop
and creating a unique yet completely addictive piece.
The real gem on here though is an incredible cover of the Blue Oyster Cult
classic, “The Reaper,” quite possibly one of the best remakes I’ve ever heard.
There’s also a bonus Bob Marley cover, “Nice Time.”
It goes without saying that giving artists their, er, artistic freedom is
usually a smart move, even if the big boys don’t agree. Thankfully there are
some artists that stand up for what they believe in, and get to make music the
way nature intended. Alana Davis has her fingerprints all over Surrender
Dorothy, and the result is a celebration of independence as much as it is an
album of really good songs.