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Doņa Oxford / Step Up

Passion – a word that takes many meanings and forms. Passion is the catchword that describes Doña Oxford’s first album of all new material in nearly four years.

From her first album “Rowena Said…” and particularly her live followup, “Raw,” Doña Oxford has always projected a dynamic and exuberant personality and serious chops. With this long awaited collection, “Step Up,” Doña digs deeper than she ever has before, showcasing her powerful voice and the R&B and Gospel roots that she only previously hinted at.

Starting with “Together,” a mid-tempo romp with echoes of Carol King, Doña states that this album is way different than her previous efforts. Confident vocals, polished production, strong writing and performances are the hallmark of  “Step Up,” as well as a political bent that is meant to persuade as opposed to harangue. This is best exercised in the title track, which owes a debt to the Staples Singers. Further into the album, “For The Children,” shows Doña ruminating on child abuse and its consequences. On the lighter side are tracks like “Here We Go Again,” and “Sweet Memories,” and the outright rocker, “Don’t Go.” Doña has always had a way with a torch song and “Step Up” has its share; “Between The Sheets” and “He’s My Baby,” showcase a woman done wrong, but ultimately strong.

Produced by Carla Olson (The Textones, Gene Clark) and featuring some of LA’s best musicians, “Step Up” is indeed a giant step up for Doña Oxford, who continues to grow as an artist and bring something passionately new and different to her audience.