Troy Gonyea began studying blues seriously only a short time after growing out of short pants, and in the past few years, has turned some heads in the right direction. Getting a call from James Harman to hold the guitar chair in his band is no small feat, but joining the ranks of Kim Wilson goes a step or two further. This debut baker's dozen is a stripped down affair, featuring a few guests, but focusing squarely on Troy's maturity as a guitarist and vocalist, both years ahead of their time. Mixing a small showcase of four originals with some well-picked covers, Gonyea stretches out with some spine-crushing skills on the six-string, while his vocals are far too seasoned for a man his age. Considering that he's still in his early twenties, his talents cannot be understated. Whether crunching through Magic Sam's "What Have I Done Wrong," Freddy King's "Some Other Day, Some Other Time," or Frankie Lee Sims' rustling "What Will Lucy Mae Do" (Lucy Mae Blues), or his own Elmore-spiced "Realize It," the rocking "Mary Ann," or the riveting "This Can't Go On," Troy tackles everything here with graceful grit, determination, and respect. Rhythm chores are handled by journeymen, Jon Ross on upright and Fender bass, and Steve Ramsey's in-the-pocket drumming. Mark Stevens manages some fine piano, while Doug James and 'Sax' Gordon add superb horn lines to a few, and Dave Armstrong holds the drum throne for a couple. Jay Miller's Louisiana ballad "Irene" is a tour-de-force, but the hands-down winner is the Tommy Johnson gem, "Canned Heat Blues," reworked with amazing soulfulness by Gonyea, Ross, and Ramsey. Young blues guitar slingers seem to be a dime-a-dozen these days, but while most feature histrionics over dedication to an art form, this is the real deal, laced with enthusiasm!
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