Crystal Shawanda is at Bozzini’s Upstairs Lounge on May 21 and 22. (Submitted)

Crystal Shawanda is at Bozzini’s Upstairs Lounge on May 21 and 22. (Submitted)

Juno winner Crystal Shawanda coming to Chilliwack

Canadian-bred blues artist will be at Bozzini’s Upstairs Lounge in Chilliwack

Juno winner Crystal Shawanda will be performing twice in Chilliwack on Victoria Day weekend.

Shawanda is the 2021 Juno winner for best Blues Album and she’ll be at Bozzini’s Upstairs Lounge on May 21 and 22.

Initially signed to RCA Records in 2007, the Canadian-bred, now Nashville-based singer hit her stride as a country singer-songwriter when she scored a top-20 hit with her song “You Can Let Go” and subsequently tallied sales of more than 50,000 copies of her debut album Dawn of a New Day and subsequently debuted in the Billboard Top 20.

Nevertheless, she began to realize that the blues had captured her muse, and with that, she left the label, shifted her stance and began recording albums that reflected her love of blues and her natural affinity for that sound.

Her new album Church House Blues reflects that dedication and devotion and finds her co-writing seven of the 10 songs on the album.

Produced by her husband, collaborator and cowriter Dewayne Strobel, it not only marks her fourth blues effort to date, but one of her most demonstrative as well.

That’s evident at the outset, from the fiery delivery of the title track, the riveting drive of “New Orleans Is Sinking,” and the assertive strains of “Rather Be Alone,” to the quiet, contemplative desire and despair that scorches “Evil Memory,” the radio-ready hooks illuminated in “Hey Love,” and the emotive strains instilled in the bittersweet ballads “When It Comes To Love” and “Bigger Than the Blues.”

Crystal Shawanda is at Bozzini’s Upstairs Lounge on May 21 and 22. (Submitted)

Crystal Shawanda is at Bozzini’s Upstairs Lounge on May 21 and 22. (Submitted)

At the centre of it all is Shawanda’s evocative vocals, a powerful, provocative force of nature that elevates each encounter and sends the album’s entries soaring towards the stratosphere.

“This is the most I’ve ever loved an album out of everything I’ve ever done,” she said. “This is really who I am. It’s my most definitive album yet. All these songs reflect different aspects of who I am. It’s putting a finger on that definitively. I’m not trying to prove anything. I’m just being me. I’m done with trying to fit in.”

She followed her stint at RCA with an independent effort Just Like You, garnering Canada’s prestigious Juno Award in the process. She also had the distinction of performing at President Barrack Obama’s inauguration festivities in 2013. She’s since made her name as a motivational speaker and currently serves as board member of the not-for-profit Nike 7 charitable foundation.

“I veered towards the blues because that’s the music I love to sing,” she said. “It feels so natural, the kind of music I was meant to sing. It’s a beautiful release. It’s like letting a bird out of a cage. This is what I’m supposed to do. This is how I fly.”

Crystal Shawanda is at Bozzini’s (4-45739 Hocking Ave.) on Saturday, May 21 at 9 p.m. (doors at 8 p.m.) and Sunday, May 22 at 6 p.m. (doors at 4 p.m.). Tickets $32.50 and available at Bozzini’s or call 604-792-0744 to reserve by phone. For more, go to www.bozzinisrestaurant.ca.

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