Blues guitarist Ana Popovic performing at Jim Thorpe’s Penn’s Peak Feb. 20
Jim Thorpe — Ana Popovic’s musical journey took her from her birth in the former Yugoslavia to a musical conservatory in the Netherlands then, in 2000, to Memphis, Tennessee to record her first solo record. She called the record “Hush,” but Popovic has done anything but; she’s since released more than a handful of studio albums and two live albums. In May, the blues guitarist will release the “Trilogy,” a three-disc set of new songs in the blues, funk and jazz genres, and fans attending Popovic’s Feb. 20, performance at Penn’s Peak may be treated to a few songs from the release.
“It’s gonna be probably a mix of songs off ‘Can’t Stand the Heat’ and ‘Unconditional,’ it’s going to be a very powerful show with a lot of guitar for guitar lovers,” Popovic said. “We might put in something off the new record, it’s coming out in may and its a very large project that ‘ve been working on for the past year.”
Popovic said her albums touch on all three styles recorded for “Trilogy,” but she wanted to dive deep into each one and give her fans with a preference something to really sink their ears into. She did this by seeking out specific studio musicians for each disc that were familiar with the style she wanted to convey.
“Every single record that I’ve put out so far was a big mix; I always do real deep blues on it for a song or two and some funk stuff so you can dance to it and I love writing jazzy songs, but I thought I’m just gonna make a full jazz record for jazz people and a funk record. I never thought of releasing blues at all at the same time but I thought I’m just going to bring out all three and they can mix and match and listen to what they like.”
The guitarist said the six-string has always been her instrument; she watched her blues-loving father play with his friends when she was younger and started taking lessons when she turned 12. She recalls her family as a record and radio household that hardly watched television and hardly ever passed up an opportunity to jam together. She learned to appreciate artists like Stevie Ray Vaughn and BB King, and her sphere of influences expanded further with the introduction of rockers like Jimi Hendrix. Popovic and her skills on the guitar are featured on the Experience Hendrix Tour, a tribute to the latter.
“It’s an incredible experience,” Popovic said. “We all play a few songs (and) there is no time for warming up, you’ve got to come out and put on your A-game and that’s just so challenging and so beautiful to me. I love those kinds of challenges; I see the stage and all those incredible people playing and I’m thinking this is just the place for me.”
Whether it’s with the Experience Hendrix Tour (which Popovic will join on Feb. 24) or playing her own original compositions, Popovic brings years of blues guitar knowledge to the stage with her, and on Feb. 20, she’ll bring that knowledge to the stage at Jim Thorpe’s Penn’s Peak.
Reach Gene Axton at 570-991-6121 or on Twitter @TLArts
IF YOU GO:
When: 8 p.m. Feb. 20
Where: Penn’s Peak, 325 Maury Road, Jim Thorpe
How Much: $22, $27 day of show. Purchase tickets in advance at Ticketmaster.com, Ticketmaster outlets or from Penn’s Peak at 866-605-7325.