In 2018 she was the newcomer on the Blues Caravan alongside Mike Zito and Bernard Allison. In the five years since though Vanja Sky has been building a very solid reputation and an excellent band as shown last year in her appearance at Bonn Harmonie on the mighty Rockpalast. There were some very promising songs on that show from the upcoming new disc. That disc is now coming up for release in July, . Titled Reborn and in comparison to her debut Bad Penny the title could not be more apt.
If you haven’t visited Vanja Sky’s music since her RUF records days then you are in for a surprise, and if you are a fan of hard rock music it will be a very pleasant one. The opener ‘Hero’ gives you a whopping big clue as to where the music has headed with its clap-along opening drum beat perfect for big venues at Rock festivals which is where the current band seems destined to triumph. Indeed, There are big rock riffs throughout the disc and the influence on Vanja’s musical direction of guitarist/arranger Gunther Haas cannot be overestimated. Haas gives ‘Devil Woman’ (remember Vanja wearing those devils horns at Rockpalast – see below pic?) and ‘Rusty Fingers’ a perfect ZZ Top vibe as well as a classic feel to the much covered Humble Pie song ‘I don’t need no doctor’.
Many readers will appreciate the contribution of Roger Innis on so many contemporary blues releases and he was with Vanya Sky in the Studio in Hamburg contributing to the lyrics on ‘can you here life knocking’, ‘Riding high’ and Rusty fingers’
Vanja’s rising status is seen in the guest appearances on ‘Reborn’. I remember telling Gerry MacAvoy about a young Croatian girl doing Rory Gallagher’s ‘Bad Penny’ on her debut disc and his promising to check it out – and here Gerry is playing bass on Vanja’s storming rendition of Rory’s live classic ‘I take what I want’. She delivers an excellent version of Ten Years After’s ‘Love to change the world’ too, and there’s Rick Lee from the band on drums.
She may not be the greatest female rock vocalist on the planet, but there’s a quantum leap in Vanya’s voice and confidence here with the songs well calculated to work within her vocal range and kick ass too. Great production work too by Bodo Schulte and Vanya to get a good rock sound from both voice and music.
It’s hard to pick highlights from such a solidly satisfying rock release but certainly ‘Muha’ with the shared vocals of current Nazareth and Don Airey vocalist Carl Sentance is a standout, as is the pop/rock ‘Can you hear life knocking?’. But picking stand-out tracks is literally, well, being picky. Vanja sings on the ballady ‘Runaway’ “I want to fly. Just like Freebird, stay in the sky”, and that tells you where the musical heart of the girl and her band is coming from in 2023 . If you’re a fan of rock heroes like Rory, Thin Lizzy, ZZ Top and co then check out the latest Vanja Sky disc. The cover shows her as a young child on a tv screen next to the lady all grown up in 2022, and, like the lady, the music is all grown up and ready to rock with the best of them.