Blues Bureau International has played host to serious axe slingers. It is not a traditionalist label for authentic blues. Rather it serves a purpose of putting players in a spotlight who inject fresh blood and shift the music into over-drive.
One of those players is Eric Gales. The Blues Bureau family can't be dissapointed in Eric as he has released three cds in the last couple of years. And the cd's showcase Gales at what he does best: putting the rock into the blues with some layers of soul.
As an Afro-American left handed player, Gales has lived in the shadow of Jimi Hendrix. But what could be a curse is really a blessing. There is no doubt the imprint of the late guitarist is in Gales' DNA. So Gales takes these ingredients and puts his own spin on the music and the results are rewarding.
Serious guitar fans of Hendrix, Stevie Ray, Frank Marino and ZZ Top will want to add Gales' Story Of My Life to their collection. For the money invested, the listener will get 74 minutes of music that will scream to air guitar gremlins to come out and play.
Gales is not without humor. The shuffle like grooves in "I Ain't No Shrink" are the perfect marriage to lyrics of a girlfriend going off the deep end. Opening track "Save Yourself" races like a wild steed incapable of being stopped.
Backing vocalist Jesse Bradman puts a soulful voice on the tracks. But it doesn't make the song "Very Educated" any more funkier. Just an outright rocker full of Hendrix pedal stomp leads.
Pretty much throughout the album Eric's foot seems to stay rooted on the pedals. He can take ZZ Top's "La Grange" riff and make it his own in the John Lee Hooker boogie of "Cut And Run." If you give it a listen, it'll take you back to the classic Fandango album. Of course Eric has to come back to the psychotic girlfriends and "Borderline Personality" stomps with Hendrix vengeance and ends with an effects laden solo that students wishing to capture Jimi's spirit will take note of. Drummer Jeremy Colson and bassist Steve Evans shake the engine room on this tune almost causing the furnace to explode.
Then Gales will slip a little Stevie Ray into "You Ain't The Boss Of Me" that will take you back to the Texas Flood days. It's a slow blues with Gales coaxing the bluesiest of notes from his Strat.
A kaleidoscope of hard rock, heavy metal, soul and blues makes Story Of My Life Eric's best work. It's not for everybody. The purists won't like it. Remember Joe Bonamassa and Walter Trout make their living turning out their rocking style of blues. Eric will do the same. He just needs a booking agent to get him exposure. While he tours Europe quite a bit, the same can't be said for the states. With the right connections, maybe that can change.