There aren't many blues guitarists who step onto the stage wearing skin-tight jeans, midriff-baring tops, and knee-high leather boots, but for Ana Popovic it's as natural as striking an E chord.
Popovic, who will be in concert tomorrow at Mickey Finn's Pub, is an award-winning blues musician from Belgrade who, judging by her publicity photos, doesn't mind using feminine charms to attract a little attention.
Once audiences hear Popovic start wailing on her Fender Stratocaster guitar and cutting loose with her gritty vocals, they're hip to the fact that this European blueswoman's talents are more than skin deep.
"Being a musician is the best job in the world! You just got to love being on stage, playing loud guitar with a strong band backing you up," Popovic says on her Web site (www.anapopovic.com).
The 30-year-old singer-guitarist grew up in the former Yugoslavia in a musical family. Her father plays guitar and bass and hosts neighborhood jam sessions in the garage on a regular basis.
The only music she ever heard around the house was the blues, and that's what inspired her to pick up a guitar.
She didn't start playing music until she was 15, but learning the guitar came easily to her. She went to the Netherlands to study at the Utrecht Conservatory, but dropped out when her side jobs in a blues band led to a recording contract with German label Ruf Records in 1999.
Popovic went to Memphis to record her debut disc, "Hush," in October, 2000, and the next year she was featured in an all-star blues tribute to Jimi Hendrix, "Blue Haze," along with Taj Mahal, Buddy Miles, Eric Burdon, Walter Trout, and Jimmy Thackery.
In 2002, Popovic performed with Trout across Europe on the Jimi Hendrix Tribute Tour, and in 2003 was nominated for a prestigious W.C. Handy Award as best new artist - the first European musician ever nominated for that honor.
Her latest disc, "Ana!" was recorded live at the Melkweg in Amsterdam, and Popovic is on her seventh U.S. tour.
Rolly Hough, president of the Black Swamp Blues Society, called Popovic a "must see" artist who could easily be playing the larger concert halls the next time she tours the United States.
Ana Popovic will be in concert at 8 p.m. tomorrow, with Simon Carter opening, at Mickey Finn's Pub, 602 Lagrange St. Tickets are $15. Information: 419-246-3466 or 419-478-2539.
Contact David Yonke at