“The Queen of Pittsburgh” by Tedi Brunetti
With her latest release The Queen of Pittsburgh, Tedi Brunetti is more than doubling down on the love for her hometown, and why shouldn’t she? Having begun a career in music back in New York City circa the 1970s, it was easy to experience a lot yet gain very little in the sense of an emotional arc, one can assume, and attaching yourself to a hometown would certainly give you something to cling to; after experiencing the new LP, it’s clear the clinging is mutual between Brunetti and Pittsburgh, and the sentiment is something that will undoubtedly extend towards audience members as they’re invited into Brunetti’s rose-tinted world with nothing but open arms.
Beginning the album with funky slow-burn “Eat, Sleep, Repeat,” greatly establishes the tone for the songs to follow; it functions as a gradual dip into the city mindset as its lyrics paint a clear picture of the endless hustle and bustle, the title bearing repetition in regards to the cycle that inevitably plagues anyone stuck in that grind-like groove. “Evil Woman,” the first single off of The Queen of Pittsburgh, earns its position as such as it delivers on a rhythmic, bluesy track with a great bassline that complements Brunetti’s signature rasp. “When You’re From Pittsburgh” invites listeners into the warm home of Brunetti as it further develops the bond shared between the singer-drummer and Pittsburgh; the structure of the album unfolds in a meticulous fashion that feels almost out of a concept album in its pacing. “Same Old Blues” makes its title proud by giving the album its blues anthem; the song almost deconstructs the blues genre first and foremost but it also does the double task of fleshing out Brunetti’s influences and digs deeper into her portfolio of eclectic sounds.
“Seduce You” gives Brunetti the chance to put on a slightly more risqué performance, its hot and heavy lyrics doubling down on the rocking attitude that permeates the entire album — the guitar work on this particular track stands out due to its strumming pattern and layering, and it goes along well with the rhythm of Brunetti’s drumming. “White Man Dancing” gave me a good chuckle with its tongue-in-cheek lyrics starting with “I’m gonna tell you a story, it’s sad but it’s true; when it’s time to get down, he don’t know what to do — white man hasn’t found the footwork all this way, his two left feet get in the way.” The ironic rhythm of the song is infectious and will certainly make listeners wanna dance, even if they have two left feet. “My True Story” offers a fun piece of storytelling with its songwriting structure and is given an even greater amount of depth with two fun saxophone solos.
Title track “The Queen of Pittsburgh” rightfully shares its name with the album, acting as the sole standout of the album for my money; the instrumentation feels leveled up, and the attitude brought by Brunetti is unparalleled. The final track comes in “Something’s Cooking,” which feels like a victorious celebration shaped up to be an album closer. The song offers up enough space for the entire band to display their skills and will translate into a live music setting flawlessly.
The Queen of Pittsburgh feels like a well-earned victory lap and legacy project for Brunetti, with its heart positively bursting for every second of the project. The history and positive attitude contained within The Queen of Pittsburgh feel like something unique in the scope of modern music, and Brunetti leaves listeners wanting more but still entirely satisfied.