Anything but ordinary, Tasha Valentine’s live album outshines expectations

It was a Wednesday night in early August, and I was on my way to East Nashville.

This may not seem like much to you, but being a confirmed non-driver, I rarely leave the West End/Sylvan Park area of Music City. A trip to the East Side of the Cumberland River was a special occasion indeed. The occasion in question was the CD release party for the immensely talented local vocalist Tasha Valentine.

I first saw Tasha perform in a hole-in-the-wall dive bar on Nolensville Road where a good friend of mine dragged me (Nolensville Road is yet another place in Nashville I almost never have occasion to visit) to see her perform. Despite my doubts as to the dubious nature of the venue, I soon found myself entranced by the barefoot goddess that took the stage.

She soon proceeded to tear a blue streak through a number of songs from Billie Holiday to Bill Withers without breaking a sweat. Then, with the spotlight full on her the stage siren closed the show with her signature “Slow Rollin’ Tears”. Suddenly, I felt like a heroin addict coming down. I needed more! Alas! There were no recordings to be found except a Nashville Star compilation from the first season, which featured the curvaceous crooner on a single track.

Finally, two years hence Tasha Valentine was releasing her first album and I would be damned if I was going to miss it! When I arrived at the 5 Spot, the room was packed with people pouring in by the minute.

By the end of the night, I and everyone else there have been treated with nothing less that an incredible performance by Valentine and her girlfriend and opening act folk-rocker Steph Callahan (who will be releasing her own new album in January).  Besides that, I can now get my Tasha Valentine fix any time I want!

"Live. Less Ordinary" is a pure joy to listen to. Recorded live at the Lipstick Lounge, the album perfectly captures Valentine’s dexterous vocal abilities allowing her to go from sultry growl to big mama wail with seemingly little effort and hit every note in between on the way with pin-point precision. When Tasha Valentine takes the stage, she owns every inch of it with a compelling presence that dominates the space serving only to set you up to be knocked flat by that dynamite voice when she grabs the microphone.

Seemingly transfixed on the dark beasts in human nature creeping always at the periphery of the shadows, the album opens with a creepy version of Ray Ungar’s paean to murder and insanity “4 Blue Walls”—echoed later in the album with an equally creepy version of the traditional “In the Pines” —then launches straight into a funky traditional blues version of “I Can’t Stand the Rain” before switching gears entirely with soulfully sublime interpretations of traditional Kentucky death reels “In My Time of Dying” and “Death Came a Knockin”. Other standouts on the album include a melancholy take on John Prine’s “Angel from Montgomery”, a powerful roadhouse blues tinged take on T-Bone Walker’s “Stormy Monday” and of course her own signature—and my own personal anthem—“Slow Rollin Tears”.

The worse thing I can say about this album is that at 11 tracks it’s about five tracks too short. I need more. Go out and buy her album so she can afford to do another one very, very soon.

Tasha Valentine’s “Live. Less Ordinary.” is available from i-tunes, and at Tasha’s shows around town. By all means buy the album, but you have to make a point of seeing this powerful young woman tear up the stage at least once. It is an experience you won’t soon forget and when she’s famous—because she will be—you can say you knew her when. 

For more information on Tasha Valentine please visit

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