Video Premiere: Angela Strehli “Gambler’s Blues” [Live]

Alex H. Krinsky on February 10, 2023
Video Premiere: Angela Strehli “Gambler’s Blues” [Live]

Photo by Paul Moore

On Nov. 18, 2022, Angela Strehli returned with her first album in over 17 years, Ace of Blues, via Antone’s/New West Records. The 12-track project served as a representation of the enduring quality of not only her voice which has graced the music world–specifically the blues scene–for 50 years, but also her connection with the artists who inspired her throughout her life and career.

Through her role as co-founder of Antone’s, the iconic Blues club in Austin, Texas, with the late Clifford Antone, Strehli befriended and performed with Muddy Waters, Otis Rush, Jimmy Reed, Albert King, and many more. It was the vitality of those artists that inspired her to create an homage to their music, comprised of songs written and associated with them.

“With the exception of Chuck Berry, I knew every one of those artists,” Strehli told Relix earlier this year. “I believe I had occasion to be on the same stage with everyone else at Antone’s. That’s where I got to meet a lot of my idols— everybody from Albert King to B.B. King to Eddie Taylor and Jimmy Reed. Otis Rush was another big deal for me.”

Today, we premiere the video of Strehli’s live performance of “Gambler’s Blues,” a song recorded by B.B. King on Nov. 5, 1966, and released in 1967, which became associated with Otis Rush after he released his slow-burning rendition, equipped with guttural and fierce vocals that made it his own in 1969.

In the video, Strehli captures not only the pace but also the cadence of Rush’s version of the song as she and a backing band walk through the dragging reality of luck and love’s entertaining nature. The live performance is lush with admiration and dancing from a full room, shared musical space on stage for guitar and horn players to express and connect to their feelings. At the same time, Strehli gives words to those sentiments, freeing herself, her band and the room from any burdensome truths through an unabashed love of music, what once was, and what is.

“I was happy to record this tune because it truly represents the intensity of the Otis Rush I was fortunate to get to know,” Strehli added.

Listen to Ace of Blues here.

Watch the video premiere of “Gambler’s Blues” below.