Every track on Rebekah Meldrum's self-titled debut is steeped in the love and the passion she has for the genre. It's almost a religious reverence, which makes perfect sense considering she's a preacher's daughter who grew up singing gospel in church. "Gospel and blues have always been so closely related," she opines. "It's like there's a fork in the musical road, one way, it's the gospel, and the other is the blues. I was exposed to Koko Taylor when I was eight years old, and right then, I knew which road I was going to take." But her precision is by no means cut and dried or predictable; she is methodical, if not hypnotic, weaving a spell across seven songs that reflect the multi-decade journey it's taken for her to get here as much as the destination itself. From the way the very first notes drop you right into the delta, through excursions that go from the backcountry to steamy, inner-city grooves and all the way through to New Orleans-inspired horns that wind the album down, she is in firm command of every aspect of the songwriting process. "Everything took a big turn when I stopped writing on guitar and started singing the melodies in my head," she relates, " even the guitar riffs and the solos. Then Paul (longtime collaborator, guitarist/singer Paul Holdman) translates it all and embellishes it with his own nuances—when we put it together like that, the magic happens." It is magic, but it's no illusion. Rebekah Meldrum is a master magician who's just beginning to reveal her bag of tricks.