Tedi Brunetti – The Queen of Pittsburgh
Written by Kevin Tanza on February 24, 2022
Tedi Brunetti is a name that might ring a bell or two for the Blues fans out there. She started out as a drummer for groups such as Eolise Laws, Isis’ Carol MacDonald and Witch, and The B-Girls, produced by Debbie Harry and Mick Jones, among many other groups. At this point of her career, she is a very established entity and her drumming and singing has been widely regarded by people in the industry.
Now, after so many years as a touring musician, she decided to start her own solo career and her sophomore effort, 2021’s The Queen of Pittsburgh, is another testament to her qualities not only as a singer and as a drummer, but also as a songwriter. It is also worth pointing out that this record was produced by Dean Sargent, who has worked with the likes of Blue Oyster Cult and Public Enemy.
We start the album with one of the lead singles, Eat, Sleep, Repeat. You hear the delicate guitar parts, flowing like a peaceful river along with the Hammond organ carrying the weight of the composition, and you have a very special piece that Tedi manages to deliver quite well with her vocal performance.
It is always important for the first song to really sell what the album is going to be like and this track does a very good job in that regard. It has a soft, nice groove and it shows you Tedi’s main musical influences from the get-go, which is something always worth taking into account.
The second song is also the second single, Evil Woman. You can hear Tedi’s soulful and powerful vocals having a lot of layers and feeling as she sings and tells you the story of this evil woman. It has a lot of atmosphere and it truly sells you the song; it has a lot of swagger and calm, which is something that highlights her experience as a musician. It is a nice, thoughtful song that takes its sweet time to grow and develop, especially in terms of the drums and the guitar.
When You’re From Pittsburgh is a bit more upbeat and lighthearted, which fits with the overall theme of the album. You have a horn section in this song and I personally think that it works with what we have heard so far. This album does have a lot of common themes and song structures, but there are some nice little changes here and there that work quite well.
I have heard people say that Same Old Blues is one of the finest songs of the album and while I think Tedi’s vocal performance is quite good and she truly gives you a lot of feeling and passion while delivering every vocal line, I feel that the track as a whole leaves a bit to be desired. But I can understand if other people think that this song is good because it does have some interesting bits here and there. Nice guitar solo, too.
We get what I consider the first big musical departure with Seduce You, but I mean that in a positive way. I don’t know why, but this song reminds me to the groove of what Deep Purple were doing in the Come Taste the Band album, although I understand that might be reaching too much. I really like the guitar work here, which might not be very flashy, but it does serve the song. Tedi is equally active on drums and vocals, which is yet another highlight of the entire album.
We slow down a bit with White Man Dancing. It has a slow buildup, but it works well because Tedi can focus on her singing and I think that is the big selling point of the album; you’re here to hear her play and sing and she does that wonderfully in spades. That is something that always needs to be taken into account because the whole album is focused on getting the most out of her.
My True Story has some nice Funk touches and that groove is quite addictive, I have to say! The guitar work deserves a lot of praise and it plays well off Tedi’s vocals. I think this is the finest song of the entire album, although I admit that could be a very personal opinion because I’m just a big fan of grooves like this one. The vocal harmonies are also a bit haunting and it adds another layer of musicality to the song. Definitely one of the highlights of the record.
I always say that a title track has to be one of the best songs on the album. I might be old fashioned in that regard, but I still maintain that opinion. And fortunately, the title track on this album doesn’t fail to deliver the goods and I like that mix of powerful, charismatic singing with the horn section. It’s interesting because those two elements seem to generate different feelings, but they combine so well and if you add those little guitar details, you have a song rich in dynamics.
I’m not the biggest fan of the album ending with Something’s Cooking because I consider it a very simple song, but I guess it can be viewed as a nice, little tune for people to dance to. It has good groove and the singing is alright, although I wish the album would have ended in stronger fashion.
Regardless of the ending, The Queen of Pittsburgh is a really good album. Tedi Brunetti not only knows what she is doing but she also knows what she wants to do as a solo artist and does so with confidence and charm. The production is crystal clear, you can hear every instrument and the songwriting is on point, focusing on making great melodies and keeping up a certain musical spirit.
Certainly one of the finest releases of 2021 and a great reminder of how it is never too late to break away on your own. Tedi certainly did!