Producer Jim Gaines will become known as the man responsible for putting Anthony Gomes on the roots music map. His production of Unity is as phenomenal as his work for Santana, Walter Trout and Luther Allison and will surely have similar career results for Gomes. Jim captures the experience of all 12 original numbers. Part of the magical chemistry must be due to the recordings taking place in Chicago, Memphis and Nashville. A born and bred Canadian, Anthony Gomes relocated to Chicago and trained at the hand of the Windy City's blues greats and contemporary artists. Most recently he has been tried and true at Nashville's Congo Square. It was there that he experienced the sounds of an extended band that included horns and backing vocals. That full sound is captured here thanks to an expansive band featuring Roger Femali drums, Biscuit Miller bass, and Roosevelt Purifoy keyboards. On his first release for Tower Records' 33rd Street label, Anthony brings together brass-blasting funk, soul, R&B, gospel and blues.
If for some strange reason Gomes doesn't leave a mark on contemporary blues (as a performer) surely his songs will. While being loud and proud, "When The Walls Come Down" hits you hard. Then he switches gears to the blues of a new generation on "Upside (To The Downside)". Listeners will celebrate and dance to these blues which deviate from stereotypical down in the dumps blues. The title track is also a booty-shaking bopper. Here, the pulsating horns of Vinnie Ciesielski, Jimmy Bowland and Chris Rose provide a driving force for Anthony's hot rocking contemporary guitar playing. You may think Otis Redding has been reincarnated when you hear "Darkest Before The Dawn". At least you will know what Redding would have sounded like in 2002.
"Going Down Slow" is gospel flavored with choir-like backing vocals from Joan Collaso and Yvonne Gage. These crooners sound as sexy as they sound righteous. The song's moderate tempo crescendos (via a Gomes guitar solo) to a lively, Pentecostal celebration. Even a fade out can't stop the worshipping. Anthony breaks away from the wired sounds and goes acoustic for a couple tunes. "If You Could Rule The World" simply features Gomes on guitar and vocals with a little percussion. The words are philosophically deep. On this number, Gomes comes across as a man using his music in an attempt to change the world.
If you didn't look at the cover, nothing about this disc would reveal Anthony's youth. Without a doubt, he is vocally and musically ahead of his time. Throughout 54 progressive minutes, he delivers powerful and harsh vocals in the vein of Delbert McClinton. His guitar work is stellar and on each pumping track he exudes the fact that he feels his music in his soul. Gomes isn't one to simply go though the motions. Want to enjoy tomorrow's blues today? Then unite with the steamy, hip-grindin', funkified blues of Anthony Gomes.
For booking and information, contact: www.anthonygomes.com
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This review is copyright © 2002 by Tim Holek, and Blues On Stage at: www.mnblues.com, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission.
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