I get a lot of CD's to review and most are good but not outstanding. I've had a couple of exceptions lately and this is one of them. It's really enjoyable to hear a professionally produced CD with excellent vocals, and excellent musicianship. Eric Gales has been around since the early 90's when he was promoted as one of the young guitar hero's, newly arriving on the scene. He released a couple of CD's at that time along with a blues based CD with his brothers called "Left Hand Band". This CD, on the House of Blues label is well worth tracking down. There are a few copies out there but it's pretty much out of print at this time. I was lucky enough to catch his live show in 1993 and the guy has plenty of talent and can put out kick assed music live as well as in the studio.
As far as the new CD goes, it's a kick assed ride that covers Hendrix inspired riffs, bits of modern rap/rock and plenty of killer guitar. Eric has not stood still on his music and this CD is at least better than 90% of the CD's being released today. There are twelve cuts on this CD ranging in style from heavy blues/rock to rock/rap to slow
melodic ballads to the required Hendrix cover. The CD's title track 'That's What I Am' opens with a guitar building up feedback and crashing into a heavy beat and vocals that just cry out for a stadium to play it in. It's definitely a strong opening song. 'Blue Misty Morning' has been floating around as a demo track for several years and finally makes it
to an official release. It's a bit hard to describe as it has a medium tempo musical scaler rundown with a infectious chorus in a similar manner to 'She's so Heavy' by the Beatles. 'She Shines' is an electric song but could be done acoustically without losing any of it's flavor. 'Insane' shows a lot of influence from what is currently on the radio. Very heavy, almost metal sounding chord work with rap/rock lyrics and a musical chorus. I am not a fan of rap or rap/rock, but Eric pulls it off and sounds melodic instead of like he is screaming and spitting into a microphone. The rap/rockers could take a lesson from Eric Gales on this song. Everything sounds clean and musical instead of a wall of noise.
'Black Day' takes us back to the classic Eric Gales sound. Solid rock guitar and vocals. 'Can't Go On' is a slow ballad with tasty guitar work and is a perfect slow dance number. 'Foxy Lady' is Eric's take on Hendrix, reasonably traditional but with just enough differences to make it interesting.
Bottom Line: if your familiar with and enjoy Eric Gales, this CD is a must have. If you like solid blues influenced rock, with Hendrix overtones, you should like this CD. The vocals, guitar playing and musicianship are excellent. I give it five stars. It's a keeper.
Eric Gales - guitar, vocals
This review is copyright © 2001 by Robert Murphy, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.
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