Angelique Francis lays down the law in less than 60 seconds with her new single and video Take Command — showcasing today on Tinnitist.
An empowering 54-second chant lifted and fueled by feminine strength, Take Command puts the multi-talented, multi-tasking blues diva’s dusky, self-assured vocal front and center with her own tight harmonies for the first half — before a kick drum and handclaps propel the cut to a speedy finish.
While the chorus is a demonstrative reminder to take back personal worth, the verse describes the indiscretion that gives fire to that need. Take Command is a moment in time that needs no further explanation or expounding. Anyone and everyone can understand the pain of rejection — and here, Francis frames it in an unadorned and undeniably hypnotic way. The equally hypnotic video features multiple versions of the Ottawa artist on a white background.
Take Command is an interlude that bridges two tracks on Francis’s second album Long River, released in March. Blues traditions are at the heart of all 14 tracks on the album, but there are also intriguing genre bends towards soul, folk, jazz, gospel and rock along the way. Francis’s versatile, soulful and evocative vocals anchor the trip, conjuring up reminiscences of Big Mama Thornton, Koko Taylor, Aretha Franklin, Bessie Smith and more. The mix of genres and influences running through Long River — and the sense that we are all inter-connected — anchors the key concept Francis wants to convey.
“Despite our differences, and the vast variations in our personal histories, we are all floating down this river together,” she explains. “We are all connected in this way. We have all shared the same beginning, and we will all share the same end.”
But few share Francis’s level of technical and musical skills. She plays upright and electric bass, acoustic and electric guitar, keyboards and harmonica on the album. Joining her are four family members: Co-songwriter, producer / drummer Kiran Francis, saxophonist Kharincia Francis, trombonist Kira Francis and vocalist Kayla Francis. Rounding out the band are Dave Williamson on lead guitar and Ed Lister on trumpet.
Francis and her family-based band have performed at the Keeping the Blues Alive at Sea festival, the Sighisoara Blues Festival in Romania, Toronto’s Women’s Blues Revue, the Montreal Jazz Festival, the Mariposa Folk Fest, the Ottawa Jazz Festival, the Ottawa Blues Festival, the Mont-Tremblant Blues Festival, the Ottawa Folk Fest and many more. Francis has shared the stage with and opened for Gary Clark Jr., Joe Bonamassa, Eric Gales, Keb’ Mo’, Jimmy Vivino, Beth Hart, Tom Cochrane, Burton Cummings and Sugar Ray — and the list continues to grow. For her next trick, Francis will host the upcoming 2022 Maple Blues Awards, to be held live and steamed from Toronto’s Koerner Hall on Monday, June 20.