The Santa Barbara-based Sally Cats consist of regional vets, professional musicians who have no doubt paid their dues. Although the group is mainly rooted in jazz, folk and blues influences break through the surface, perhaps no more than on their new EP On the Prowl. Here vocalist Sally Barr again casts a mesmerizing presence; her singing brims with real emotion but she is also able to strike different tones and juggle various styles with equal efficiency; she’s a winner.
Covering various rock and jazz classics, the Cats don’t always stay faithful to their original interpretations, which makes their renditions breathtakingly fresh. For example, “These Boots Are Made for Walking” is slowed down; the result is a version that is actually sexier than Nancy Sinatra’s hit. “That Old Black Magic” finds Barr at her most playful, while “I Told Ya I Loved Ya, Now Get Out” is driven by a thumping beat. Those tracks find the Cats mining their jazzy side, but they aren’t afraid to venture into roots-rock territory as well. “Blues Power” sounds exactly as the title suggests, with Barr really giving it a blues kick while Brad Rabuchin rips on the guitar.