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Listen to Annie Mack’s 2017 EP “Tell It Like It Is” and you might find her des­ignation as “blues artist” to be confining. Yes, she sings the blues—very well—but there are times on the four-song album when Mack slides seam­lessly into folk or Motown or country-soul.

Annie Mack Testify AlbumThis genre-shifting might be a product of her musical educa­tion, informal though it was. Mack was born and raised in North Minneapolis, listening to funk, jazz, bluegrass and “everything in between.” She speaks nostalgically about her formative years: about community, summer and the music scene. However, she had a tumul­tuous childhood. Family life was particularly difficult. Throughout it all, her experiences taught her that in every painful situation, there is something to be learned and that “sometimes you can find hope in the craziest, darkest, least likely of places.”

When she moved to Rochester for college, Mack finally had the time and space to process that childhood trauma and transform those experiences into music. In 2013, she released “Baptized in the Blues.” Then came her EP “Tell It Like It Is,” and she has plans for more music in the future. Her voice is powerful, and she is unapologetic about the events of her youth, her race, her age and her womanhood.

Macks’ newest EP, a New Americana release in 2021, Testify, mixes folk, rock and country gospel into her unique soulful sound.

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