Bluesy grit has long been a characteristic of Juno Award-winning Canadian rocker Sass Jordan’s music. It’s evident in the go-for-broke vocal style that landed her the role of Janis Joplin in a 2001 Off-Broadway production of “Love, Janis,” and her recordings, from the slick ’90s rock of “Racine” and “Rats” through the rootsier grooves of 2010’s “From Dusk ’Til Dawn.” But not until “Rebel Moon Blues,” due March 13 from Stony Plain, did she go all in.
When label executives first pitched an all-blues album, Jordan balked; flashing on icons like B.B. King and John Lee Hooker, she feared she couldn’t pull off their material. The concept began to make sense when her husband, guitarist and Guess Who frontman Derek Sharp, framed it with the suggestion that she record Gary Moore’s powerful ballad “Still Got the Blues” (“I can hear you singing that”).
“Rebel Moon Blues” also features Jordan and Sharp’s blues-rocker “The Key,” and chestnuts plucked from the 1950s-’70s catalogues of Willie Dixon, Sleepy John Estes, and Leon Russell (the Freddie King-popularized “Palace of the King”). Jordan and longtime slide guitarist Chris Caddell feed off each other’s phrasing, magnifying the rhythmic stomp of Keb’ Mo’s “Am I Wrong” and J.B. Hutto’s “Too Much Alcohol.” “One Way Out” is rendered in faithful homage to the Allman Brothers: “I pretend I’m Gregg Allman,” Jordan says, laughing, “and get this vibe of being completely stoned and in the middle of the South in the ’70s.”
“You can hear that we’re just having the time of our lives. … It seems to be making people very happy, and of course that makes me very happy because what the hell am I doing this for, really, other than expressing myself? But when you make other people happy at the same time it’s win-win all the way.”
She’s considering making another blues recording live at a show, but what’s bringing her to the Rose Friday isn’t the blues but David Bowie. Jordan is one of three featured singers backed by Bowie’s former sidemen, performing classic albums “Diamond Dogs” and “Ziggy Stardust” for a “Bowie Celebration.” She says response from multigenerational audiences on tour has been “overwhelming”: “People crying, singing at the top of their lungs, completely transported — the power of music never fails to astound me.”
“I was a raging Bowie fan from around age 13,” she enthuses, recalling her band the Pin Ups, named after Bowie’s 1973 album. “Those records were a massive part of my teenage years. I must have listened to ‘David Live: David Bowie at the Tower in Philadelphia’ about 50 billion times. Standing onstage now, singing those songs with Mike Garson, who played keyboards on that record — if my 13-year-old self could see me, it would faint. I can’t even believe this is happening to me. Always be careful what you wish for, because you’re gonna get it!”
A Bowie Celebration featuring Sass Jordan, Corey Glover and Joe Sumner at the Canyon at the Rose, 245 E. Green St., Pasadena, 9 p.m. Friday, March 6; $28-$68. Info: (888) 645-5006. sassjordan.com, wheremusicmeetsthesoul.com, abowiecelebration.com