Ana Popovic – Can You Stand The Heat (2013)

FrontCover1Ana Popović (Serbian Cyrillic: Ана Поповић, born May 13, 1976) is a blues guitarist and singer from Serbia who currently resides in the United States.

Popović was born in 1976 in Belgrade. Her father introduced her to the blues, and she started to play the guitar when she was fifteen.

In 1995, she formed the band Hush with Rade Popović (guitar, vocals), Milan Sarić (bass guitar) and Bojan Ivković (drums). Hush performed rhythm and blues, but also incorporated elements of funk and soul into their sound. The band had their first performance in the club Vox in Belgrade. During 1996, Hush performed across Serbia, also performing in Greece. Thanks to their performance at the Marsoni Blues Festival in Senta, Hush got the invitation to perform at the Fifth International Blues, Jazz, Rock and Gastronomic Festival in Hungary.[3] A part of their performance was released on a live album which featured recordings from the festival. In 1996, Popović played slide guitar on Piloti album Dan koji prolazi zauvek (The Day that Is Passing Forever).

During 1998, Hush had over 100 performances, playing in blues clubs and blues festivals.[3] During the same year, they released their debut album, Hometown, through PGP-RTS.[3] The album was produced by Aleksandar Radosavljević, and featured Vojno Dizdar (electric piano and Hammond organ), Petar “Pera Joe” Miladinović (harmonica), Aleksandar Tomić (tenor saxophone) and Predrag Krstić (trumpet) as guests. Beside the band’s own songs, Hometown also featured covers of blues standards.


In 1998, Popović went to Netherlands to study jazz guitar, and Hush disbanded.

In 1999, Popović formed the Ana Popović Band in the Netherlands. In 2000, she appeared, alongside Eric Burdon, Taj Mahal, Buddy Miles, Double Trouble, Eric Gales and others, on the Jimi Hendrix tribute album Blue Haze: Songs of Jimi Hendrix with a cover of the song “Belly Button Window”. In 2001, she released her solo debut, Hush!, through the German label Ruf Records. The album was recorded in Memphis, with the members of Ana Popović Band, as well as studio musicians. It was produced by Jim Gaines, who previously worked with Carlos Santana, John Lee Hooker, Alexis Korner and others. The album featured Bernard Allison as guest. The album saw large success, so Popović left her guitar studies, and dedicated herself to performing.

In 2003, Popović released her second album, Comfort to the Soul. The album, recorded in Memphis and produced by Gaines, featured a fusion of blues, rock, soul and jazz. During the same year, on the Rhythm & Blues Festival in Belgium, she was invited by Solomon Burke to join him on stage, after which she joined him on the rest of the tour as a guest. In 2005, Popović released a live album and DVD entitled Ana! Live in Amsterdam, recorded on January 30, 2005, on her concert in Amsterdam club Melkweg.


In 2007, Popović released the album Still Making History through the American record label Eclecto Groove Records. In 2009, she released the album Blind for Love, and in 2011 the album Unconditional through the same label. Both Still Making History and Unconditional reached number one in the United States Billboard Blues chart. In 2012, Popović moved to Memphis, Tennessee, and a few years later relocated to Los Angeles, California.

Popović’s ninth full-length album, entitled Can You Stand the Heat, was released in April 2013 through ArtisteXclusive records. The album, produced by Tony Coleman, was recorded with John Williams on bass guitar, Harold Smith on rhythm guitar, Frank Ray Jr. on organ and Tony Coleman on drums. Popović performed at the 2013 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, where she introduced a new project: a nine-piece band under the name Ana Popovic & Mo’ Better Love. In September 2013, Popović signed with Monterey International booking agency.

In 2014, she was nominated for a Blues Music Award in the Contemporary Blues Female Artist of the Year category.


Popović released a triple album titled Trilogy on May 20, 2016. The album includes multiple guests, including Joe Bonamassa, Robert Randolph, Cody Dickinson (North Mississippi Allstars), Bernard Purdie, and rapper Al Kapone.

Popović released her next studio album, Like It on Top on September 14, 2018. The album was recorded in Nashville, Tennessee, and produced by Keb’ Mo’.

Can You Stand the Heat is Ana Popović’s sixth studio album, released on March 27, 2013 on ArtisteXclusive records. The album has eleven original songs and three cover songs, and features guest appearances with Grammy Award winner Tommy Sims and Grammy nominee Lucky Peterson, and was produced by B.B. King’s drummer of twenty-five years, Tony Coleman. She met Coleman when she was opening for B.B. King, and they wondered if groovy blues was fading from the scene, so they came up with the idea of making a blues album in the style of Albert Collins and Albert King, using funk and “old-school” soul. Popović relocated her family from Amsterdam to Memphis so that she could record at Ardent Studios and to embrace the music aura that circulates in the city’s perennial juke joints.[8][4] The title track, “Can You Stand the Heat”, was released as single before the album was released, and a video was shot for the song, directed Jonathan Pekar. (wikipedia)


Blues, powerful vocals, and a hint of jazz: Ana Popovic must be back. The three-time 2012 Blues Music Awards nominee returns this spring with Can You Stand the Heat, a project that signals Popovic’s search for an edgier sound with an instrumental range that went largely unexplored on previous records. Originally from Belgrade, Serbia, Popovic first dove into music with the band Hush in the 1990s before electing to work as a solo artist in 1999. In support of her latest release with ArtisteXclusive Records, Popovic is touring as Ana Popovic & Mo’ Better Love, a new collaboration that emanates the full sound achieved on the album.


Can You Stand the Heat kicks off with its title track, a five minute-long jazzy jaunt that taps into gospel-styled background vocals and scaling keys. On “Hot Southern Night” and the fast-paced “Boys Night Out,” Popovic shares the influence of her current Memphis base with American blues-styled licks and vibes. Popovic turns it up one notch further on “Hot Southern Night” as Grammy Awards nominee Lucky Peterson steps in to trade vocals with Popovic and lend his own six-string and organ-playing skills. Grammy winner Tommy Sims also makes a guest appearance to close the album with a remixed version of “Mo’ Better Love,” the original of which is included on the album as well.


For hardcore blues fans, the album’s reigning tracks will likely be “Tribe,” “Ana’s Shuffle” and “Blues for Mrs. Pauline.” The short guitar-lovers-only intro to “Tribe” recalls the mood felt on classic lead-ins like in Led Zeppelin’s “Nobody’s Fault But Mine,” while “Ana’s Shuffle” cuts vocals out of the equation entirely to focus on enthusiastic soloing and technical tenacity. “Blues for Mrs. Pauline” offers a nice contrast to the shuffle as it weaves a warning against cheating in relationships through the lyrics and around a supporting cast of rhythms and harmonies. Popovic’s voice, clear and forceful, gives the lyrics a charge that makes each story shared and each sentiment expressed feel honest and heartfelt.

Though Popovic’s take on the blues sounds similar to much of the jazz-influenced blues music of today and of decades past, it is Popovic’s voice that gives her work its strength. The new musical elements explored in Can You Stand the Heat (including the background singers and keyboard work, as well as the rhythm guitar and horn sections) give Popovic’s latest release a wider range of sounds to choose from. While Popovic’s sampling comes across well on the record, the live feel she strives for has a fair chance of sounding even better live. With her new project Ana Popovic & Mo’ Better Love already on the road, concert and festival attendees are likely discovering that Popovic’s songs reach new levels when performed onstage. (by Meghan Roos)


Tony Coleman (drums)
Ana Popović (vocals, guitar, slide guitar)
Frank Ray, Jr. (keyboards)
Harold Smith (guitar)
John Williams (bass)
Marc Franklin (trumpet)
Felix Hernandez (percussion on 11.)
Lucky Peterson (vocals, guitar, organ on 06.)
Tommy Sims (bass on 13, vocals on 14.)
Kirk Smothers (saxophone)
Tauris Turner (drums on 04.)
Javier Solis (drums, percussion on 13. + 14.)
background vocals:
Sherry Williams & John Williams (on 01., 07. + 13.)
Stephanie Bolton & Sharisse Norman (on 03. – 05.)
John Williams & Frank Ray, Jr (on 11.)
Jerard Woods & Jovaun Woods (on 14.)
Children choir on 13. + 14.:
Jovanni Ramirez – Jerard Woods II – Justin Woods – Sarah-Clayton McBrayer – Emmy Layne Myers – Noelle Jamison – Nori Jamison

01. Can You Stand The Heat (Popović) 5.00
02. Can’t You See What You’re Doing To Me (Turk/Ahlert) 3.53
03. “Mo’ Better Love (Popović/Sims) 3.28
04. Object Of Obsession (Popović/Williams) 4.15
05. Boys’ Night Out (Popović/van Meurs/Coleman) 2.27
6. “Hot Southern Night” (with Lucky Peterson) A. Popović, M. van Meurs 3:39
7. “Every Kind of People” Andy Fraser 4:10
8. “Ana’s Shuffle” A. Popović, Tony Coleman 4:07
9. “Blues for Mrs. Pauline / Leave My Boy Alone” A. Popović, T. Coleman, Buddy Guy 7:11
10. “Leave Well Enough Alone (aka High Maintenance You)” A. Popović, M. van Meurs, T. Coleman 4:11
11. “Tribe” A. Popović, Tony Coleman 5:47
12. “Rain Fall Down” Mick Jagger, Keith Richards 4:07
13. “Growing Up Too Soon” (Bonus track) A. Popović 2:58
14. “Mo’ Better Love” (with Tommy Sims – Bonus track) A. Popović, T. Sims 3:26