Lance Lopez Tells the Truth in Differing Shades of Blue

Lance Lopez Tells the Truth in Differing Shades of Blue

Lance Lopez is probably best known on these shores as the gravelly voiced guitarist in the band Supersonic Blues Machine. His latest solo album, however, reveals an even wider range of playing styles and abilities than previously demonstrated.

Lopez has been playing the guitar since he was 8 years old (he’s now 40). His early influences were wide; Hendrix and Robert Johnson were key figures. He paid his dues working with the likes of Lucky Peterson and Buddy Miles. Then, after Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top fame, saw him perform and took him under his wing, his career blossomed. He toured with Johnny Winter and had already released six albums when he crossed paths with Fabrizio Grossi and together they put Supersonic Blues Machine together. After two albums with that band, he is now releasing what he admits is an autobiographical collection of songs…hence the title.

All eleven tracks are powerful electric blues and each has its own identity using finely crafted standard guitar, soulful slide, emotional harmonica and, critically, a strong backup band providing solid second guitar, keys, bass and drums. There is a great mix of styles, from Southern Rock through to a distinct British Blues flavour on Tell The Truth.

On the first track here is a scratchy acoustic ‘field recording’ sound to the intro of Never Came Easy, before the bass line and electric piano defy the guitar hero expectations, but then a great slide guitar solo pulls the whole thing together brilliantly. A cover version of John Lee Hooker’s Mr Lucky surprises in that, he hasn’t changed it much, yet it is transformed into a modern blues-rock classic. I think JLH would heartily approve. Down to One Bar is a little disjointed vocally at first, but the backing vocals and piano runs bring it together before another well thought out solo. High Life is gloriously Southern and even has a sing-a-long chorus. Cash My Check is Stones like in its opening bars with a punctuating ‘dirty’ harmonica and a slide that you wish just kept going. The Real Deal has a Blind Faith feel with Claptonesque touches on guitar until the solo that is. Then it’s pure Lopez. Raise Some Hell does just the opposite; acoustic backed intro builds and then the short solo breaks in with a wah, wah feast. Angel Eyes of Blue is a traditional chugging blues and uses a voice box, which mercifully, is used only to vary notes and tones (and no Frampton talky effects). Back on the Highway is a rocker of the highest order with slide once more to the fore. The penultimate track, Blue Moon Rising is my personal favourite. A slow, strummed intro swelled by the keys and subtle rim tap drums. The pace stays slow but the guitar playing is so laid back and thoughtful it makes the song stay with you long after the fade. The lyrics too are the thought-provoking… “I got to love away my blues” no real grammatical sense, but I know what he means. The album’s title track closes the album with a combination of rock and funk and an instrumental section that evokes Deep Purple Mark III.

As with many albums, this is one that deserves to be judged after a few listens. Only then will the nuances in Lopez’s playing be fully heard and appreciated. The same applies to the superb band behind him.  A rewarding album of differing shades of blue and well worth adding to your collection.

EIGHTpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN …

Lance Lopez -Tell The Truth –  Mascot Label Group

Release Date – 2nd March 2018

Tell The Truth Available Formats:
CD & Vinyl – including a code for a complimentary MP3 download of the album.

Tracklisting:
1. Never Came Easy To Me
2. Mr Lucky
3. Down To One Bar
4. High Life
5. Cash My Check
6. The Real Deal
7. Raise Some Hell
8. Angel Eyes Of Blue
9. Back On The Highway
10. Blue Moon Rising
11. Tell The Truth

The Band:
LANCE LOPEZ – Guitar/Vocals
WES JEANS – Guitar/Vocals
ERIC SCORTIA – Keyboards
LANDIS CHISENHALL – Drums
ARIS O’NEIL POUNCEY – Bass

Produced by Fabrizio Grossi

Lance Lopez Tells the Truth in Differing Shades of Blue

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