By Deborah Chatham
Photographs by Stephen Anderson
The Southland Music Line made a recent trip to the Mississippi Songwriters’ Festival – Delta Edition. We gained firsthand access to several blues artists and continued in our quest to explore and photograph blues markers for our Blues Trail series. If there is one thing we took away from this trip, it is that Mississippi may be the birthplace of the blues, but the blues has traveled far and wide to influence many seemingly unlikely artists. The Southland Music Line recently heard this effect in full force when Ghalia Volt performed on October 12, 2023 at Ground Zero Blues Club in Biloxi, Mississippi. The Line’s own Stephen “Andy” Anderson photographed the event and had an opportunity to meet Volt along with her keyboard player.
Ghalia Volt is a blues rock musician and songwriter who hails from Brussels, Belgium. She began her musical odyssey busking on the streets of Brussels, before deciding to trace the roots of the blues in the United States. She began her American blues journey in New Orleans with a stint as the front woman for Mama’s Boys. Volt continued to add to her musical arsenal by learning to play a variety of instruments. In addition to playing guitar, drums, slide guitar, and singing, Volt tried a one-woman approach during the COVID-19 pandemic to continue working on her craft. She started playing a complete drum set along with a tambourine using her feet while singing and playing slide or rhythm guitar. Her album, One Woman Band, was the natural outgrowth of this experience. Ghalia has continued to use this approach and has spent significant time in Mississippi to develop her own style of hill country blues.
Top photo: Ghalia Volt at Ground Zero Blues Club in Biloxi, MS (Oct. 12, 2023); above photo: Ghalia Volt and band at Ground Zero Blues Club in Biloxi, MS (Oct. 12, 2023)
Ghalia Volt has released five albums and one extended play (EP) since 2016. Mississippi Blend (2019) recorded at Cody and Luther Dickinson’s Zebra Ranch studio near Coldwater, Mississippi, resulted in her greatest success to date. Mississippi Blend holds the distinction of having charted at #3 on the Billboard Blues Chart on three different occasions.
Volt’s most recent blues contribution is an album entitled Shout Sister Shout! She recorded this album at David Catching’s legendary studio, Rancho De La Luna in Joshua Tree, California, a famous studio where such artists as Iggy Pop, Arctic Monkeys, and Foo Fighters have recorded albums. Volt’s latest album abandoned her one woman band to include notable musicians Danny Frankel (Lou Reed, Joan Jett, Social Distortion) and keyboardist Ben Alleman (Dr. John). In addition to producing the album, Catching lent his vocals and guitar playing to the album.
The front and back cover of “Shout Sister Shout!,” the latest album by Ghalia Volt.
Music critics have been praising Shout Sister Shout!, Volt’s album that recently debuted at #2 on Billboard’s Blues Chart. Reviewing this album, Henry Yates (NME, Classic Rock, The Guardian) dubbed Volt “a natural-born star.”
Regarding her evolution as an artist, Volt says, “One Woman Band opened lots of doors, let me play the biggest stages yet. But Shout Sister Shout! is my best material so far.”
Shout Sister Shout was recorded just in time to include some of the newer tracks at the Ground Zero show. Volt was accompanied at this show by a full band which included: Jeremy Joyce, vocals and guitar; Daniel Perez Iriondo, drums; Jay Stiles, vocals and keyboards.
The Southland Music Line applauds the performances of newer artists who embrace the blues from our beloved state. As always, Ground Zero Blues Club in Biloxi, Mississippi provides the perfect venue to experience the sights, sounds, and music of the blues, even if it is by way of Belgium. The ambiance and relaxed atmosphere are welcoming to blues fans near and far!
Ghalia Volt at Ground Zero Blues Club in Biloxi, MS (Oct. 12, 2023)
● Have You Seen My Woman – Voodoo Casino & Ghalia (2016)
● Let the Demons Out – Ghalia & Mama’s Boys (2017)
● Mississippi Blend – Ghalia (2019)
● One Woman Band – Ghalia Volt (2021)
● Jam in the Van: Ghalia Volt – Ghalia (2021)
● Shout Sister Shout – Ghalia Volt (2023)
Upcoming U.S. Shows:
● Nov. 11 – Record Release Party at Chickie Wah Wah in New Orleans, LA
● Nov. 14 – Jazz, Blues & Soup in St. Louis, MO
● Nov. 17 – Lafayette Music Room in Memphis, TN
● Nov. 19 – Buddy Guy’s Legends in Chicago, IL
● Dec. 1 – Gracie’s in Salt Lake City, UT
● Dec. 5 – Lake Effect in Salt Lake City, UT
● Dec. 6 – Sapphire Room in Boise, ID
Additional photos taken at event:
Click Here for more information on Ghalia Volt and her latest album.
● Our Mississippi Blues Trail Series Contents Page
● Grayson Capps Band at Ground Zero Blues Club in Biloxi, MS (Fri. Sept. 8, 2023)
● Molly Thomas & Rick Hirsch at Ground Zero Blues Club in Biloxi, MS (Wed. April 5, 2023)
● Maggie Rose with special guest Hubby Jenkins at Ground Zero Blues Club in Biloxi, MS (Thur. June 2, 2022)
● Johnny Sansone with John Fohl at Ground Zero Blues Club in Biloxi, MS (Thur. May 26, 2022)
● Ground Zero Blues Club – Biloxi “Grand Opening” featuring Bobby Rush, Lightnin’ Malcolm & R.L. Boyce and Sharde Thomas & the Rising Star Band (Fri. Feb. 18, 2022) “Two Pages”
● Lucious Spiller at Ground Zero Blues Club in Biloxi, MS (Feb. 11, 2022)
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