Imelda May, ‘Tribal’

Stand back: There’s a new queen of sass in town. Imelda May has built her audience gradually, helped by a tour with Jeff Beck and a performance with him at the Grammys, but she’s ready to bust out on her own now. This album debuted at No. 1 in her native Ireland, and it has the muscle to catch on here. May’s retro rockabilly is more punked up this time, as when she blasts into the edgy title track with her twangmeister husband, guitarist Darrel Higham. He lacks the sheer brilliance of rockabilly axmen like James Burton and Danny Gatton, but gets the job done with the right riffs on every song. May writes most of the tunes, and lets fly on the blistering “Wild Woman,” the high-velocity “Hellfire Club,” and the self-explanatory “I Wanna Dance.” The album includes a couple of slower, jazzy tracks for variety, as well as some lyrics not heard in Jerry Lee Lewis’s heyday: “I love you even though you’re always on eBay,” for example. Go, Imelda! (Out Tuesday)


Essential “Wild Woman”


Steve Morse can be reached at spmorse@gmail.com.