Weds 24 May – Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh UK TICKETS Thurs 25 May – The Ferry, Glasgow UKTICKETS Fri 26 May – Arlington Arts, Newbury UK TICKETS Sat 27 May – Worthing Pier South Pavillion, Worthing UK TICKETS Sun 28 May – Mr Kyps, Bournemouth UK TICKETS Mon 29 May – Sage, Gateshead UK – Weds 31 May – Robin 2, Wolverhampton UK TICKETS Fri 2 Jun – Nell’s Jazz & Blues, London UK w/special guest Gary Hoey TICKETS Sat 3 Jun – Grolsch Festival – Shoppingen, GERMANY – TICKETS Weds 7 Jun – Tonelades – Valencia, SPAIN – TICKETS Fri 9 Jun – Leganes Blues Festival South Side – Leganes, SPAIN – TICKETS Sun 30 Jul – Ramblin’ Man Fair UK w/ Supersonic Blues Machine TICKETS
Bluesdoodles reviewedMiddle Of The Road – No doubting that Eric Gales is back producing the best music yet. Blues guitar with attitude, lyrics with a heartfelt understanding of the myriad emotions this album lays bare for the listener to explore and understand ….. Read the rest HERE
“One of the best, if not the best guitar player in the world” Joe Bonamassa “He is absolutely incredible” Carlos Santana “How Eric Gales isn’t the hugest name in rock guitar is a total mystery”Dave Navarro “This guy could be the best player on Earth” Mark Tremonti “Sounds like ZZ Top covering Stevie Wonder…If you’re looking for the blues album of 2017. This is going to be very hard to beat” Total Guitar 5/5 “The injection of danger and unpredictability that the blues-rock scene desperately needs…some of his best songs yet” Guitar & Bass 8/10 “The more you listen to it the more the brilliance of Eric Gales becomes apparent” Powerplay
With Eric Gales sitting in the middle of the tracks we know we are stepping aboard a musical experience that is anything but Middle of the Road. The eleven tracks do not take the middle ground they are assertive, full of intent and the energy is boundless from the vocals, stinging guitar and a rhythm section that rocks. In fact, the title reflects where Eric Gales a child prodigy who has experienced the good life and the bad as he says, “It’s about being fully focused and centred in the middle of the road. If you’re on the wrong side and in the gravel, you’re not too good and if you’re on the median strip that’s not too good either, so being in the middle of the road is the best place to be.”
Eric Gales is a renowned guitarist, his fans are many including Carlos Santana, Joe Bonamassa, Mark Tremonti from across the spectrum of music that rocks your socks.
Opening with a riff that just connects you to man and guitar as Eric says, ‘Now that’s how you start a record’ then the backing vocals picking up the chorus Good Time is the intention here with a gospel-fueled blues opener. The guitar sings with Change In Me (rebirth), and is a statement this is the new Eric Gales full of music and the drive to deliver blues that has a freedom as we all join him on a new road. The track is the anthem that holds the album together and a motto for many who want to or have changed something in their own lives.
Nestled among the originals is Boogie Man featuring Gary Clark Jnr; keeping the form of the classic whilst adding his own twist in Freddie King’s Blues. The interpretation of the cover fits in with the vibe of Middle Of The Road, with the inspiration drawn from the idea that whatever is happing the bad man is coming round the corner and you have to be on your toes.
The beat and tone changes with Been So Long; the guitar riffs are structured, tight with truncated phrasing with a reggae feel underneath the blues and the lyrics. Picking up the feel of the songs about giving yourself space and freedom to find yourself and be true to your own destiny. Free from the demons that have been holding you back. Half way through and the lynch-pin of the album takes us to a pinnacle of sound that is infectious and meaningful.
The blues now picks up the heat and drive of Texas co-written with Lance Lopez (Supersonic Blues Machine) and featuring Christone ‘Kingfisher’ Ingram a young guitarist that is setting Mississippi aflame. Reflecting that Eric has helped himself and now is in a good place to help others. As the song says Help Yourself first then reach out. Another song full of blues hooks that are about self-awareness. The album is reflective as Eric explores his past experience, but never self-indulgent it reaches out to the listener who connects with many of the subjects explored throughout Middle of The Road, I’ve Been Deceived is exactly that, who hasn’t been deceived by people they love and trust. When truths as you see them become lies. The meanings of the song are endless and the guitar is sharp with lead breaks that encapsulate the pain of deception.
His brother Eugene joins in the journey through the Middle of The Road on Repetition displaying his songwriting skills. The bass opens giving a darker deeper tone when combined with the drums and vocal delivery that has a feeling of Prince’s Sign o’ The Times in timing and phrasing but words and delivery totally Gales’ way.
The penultimate track again is blues re-shaped with a modern beat, is a song about when you have the confidence of liking yourself, being happy where you are the journey is nearly complete when you can say I Don’t Know when you do not know something. There is nothing to fear someone will know and be able to help and give you the answer you are looking forward as rap tips into the blues before the magnificence that is Eric Gales’ guitar takes over and we are back on familiar territory that we do know and understand.
Closing the album full of confidence and style with an instrumental Swamp, we are definitely heading for clear waters with an album that leaves you delighted with the music. No doubting that Eric Gales is back producing the best music yet. Blues guitar with attitude, lyrics with a heartfelt understanding of the myriad emotions this album lays bare for the listener to explore and understand.
Check out the brand new track ‘Carry Yourself’ here:
“One of the best, if not the best guitar player in the world” Joe Bonamassa
“He is absolutely incredible” Carlos Santana
“How Eric Gales isn’t the hugest name in rock guitar is a total mystery” Dave Navarro
“This guy could be the best player on Earth” Mark Tremonti
“Unfortunately you have to go through some things to be free”, says Memphis born Eric Gales. “Now, I feel the most free I’ve ever been in life, even more so than when I was a kid”, he opens up. “You gotta help yourself man, once you can help yourself you can genuinely help someone else.”
The title of his new album Middle of the Road will be released on 24 February 2017 and is the running theme throughout the record. “It’s about being fully focussed and centred in the middle of the road. If you’re on the wrong side and in the gravel you’re not too good and if you’re on the median strip that’s not too good either, so being in the middle of the road is the best place to be.”
Middle of the Road is Eric Gales fourth album on Provogue/Mascot label Group (Joe Bonamassa, Beth Hart, Black Stone Cherry, Warren Haynes, The Robert Cray Band, Robben Ford, Eric Johnson, The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band) after Transformation (2011), Relentless (2010) and The Psychedelic Underground (2007) and it sees him at his most expressive yet; it is a deeply personal and reflective record that echoes where he is in his life right now and he opens himself up and allows himself the chance to really flourish.
Recorded in several locations; Room A Studio and Fab’s Lab in North Hollywood as well as Cuz Studio and Sound in Cleveland, MS and ‘Cotton Row Studios in Memphis, TN. With Aaron Haggerty (drums), Dylan Wiggins (B3 Organ), LaDonna Gales (All backing vocals), Maxwell ‘Wizard’ Drummey (Mellotron on Repetition) and Eric Gales providing all lead vocals, guitar and bass. It’s a beautiful snapshot of life right here, right now. “I played bass on the entire record, it was beautiful” he beams. “I’m a bass player at heart so Fabrizio was like ‘bro you need to be playing the bass’. It was something that was very natural for me to too, I loved it.”
Talking about the accolades he is starting to receive he humbly adds;” It’s absolutely great, I’m grateful to see the recognition for the work that God has allowed me to continue to progress with. It’s beautiful to see the recognition to be finally coming and in the proper way, unlike times where I was engaged into heavy addiction, where it wasn’t such good publicity, but to see it be changed around, it’s a great turn of events.”
This refers to the time he spent in jail serving at the Shelby County Correction Center in 2009 for possession of drugs and a weapon. Elaborating he adds; “While I was in there all the officers and guards were like, ‘bro you know this isn’t where you’re supposed to be. When you get out of here, go take the world by the horns and ride it all the way out.’ It took a couple of years after but, I’m here.” Whilst he was incarcerated he was able to play shows, for the Mayor, the city and festivals, his own version of Johnny Cash Walk the Line.
This is where Middle of the Road finds the rebirth of Eric Gales. A new album that has seen him more free than he’s ever been and on the biographic songs you take this journey with him. Along the way he brings in not only a host of guest and collaborators, but also those closest to him: Lauryn Hill, Gary Clark Jr, Eugene Gales, LaDonna Gales, Lance Lopez, Raphael Saadiq and Christone ‘Kingfish’ Ingram.
Much of the album is achingly heart on its sleeve and Change in Me [The Rebirth]is one of those moments, it’s about a new change in life. “I changed up some things in life and decided to go a new route”. “I wrote Carry Yourself with Raphael Saadiq and strangely enough, as I sit here looking at her that song is about LaDonna actually. It’s about how we met and how we grew to get to know each other through life and how she’s always carried herself. It has always been something I’m fascinated with. The only cover is the mesmerising interpretation of Boogie Man featuring Gary Clark Jr is something to behold. “I’m a fan of Freddie King anyway and I like that song. I just enjoyed the original version and I just put a little twist on it and music wise.” “Basically”, Gales adds, “The Boogie Man is about, so watch out cos there’s a bad guy on the way and you know, I’m coming! I think me and Gary did a really good job on that song.” Continuing the rebirth is Help Yourself, features 16 year old guitar sensation Christone ‘Kingsfish’ Ingram. I’ve Been Deceived has a multi-layered meaning to it. “Personally, I was talking about how I was deceived by addiction” he confesses and on Repetition, he goes back to the very beginning and where it started by collaborating with his ‘mentor’ and older brother Eugene Gales
“When I say the world will hear about it, you’ll see what I mean when you hear the record,” he says. “This record is going to take me everywhere that I’ve never been, and everywhere I’ve ever wanted to go.” Eric Gales
Releases in first quarter 2017 are looking exciting and this is top of the pile when measure against the Bluesdoodles excitement meter!
This debut album crammed with a mix of approaches to the blues; it is accomplished and a joy to listen to from the first to the last note. Dr Z Presents Super Sonic Blues Machine has a core of three musicians who understand making great music. Bassist/Producer Fabrizio Grossi is joined by Lance Lopez on guitar and vocals and drummer Kenny Aronoff. Added to this powerful hub are guests that all bring a special style and interpretation to the blues.
The first two tracks introduce the heart of Dr Z, opening with Miracle Man with its blues infused opening and a burst of harp the vocals then kick in as the tempo builds and you just have to join in with the clapping. With its opening chant you are taken deep into the roots of America’s history raw hot and swampy southern rock I Ain’t Fallin Again is both melodic and hypnotic. Throughout the album the trio that is the backbone of the album deliver songs that work in context of the guest they have on board the Dr Z journey taking us West Of Flushing South of Frisco.
Third track Running Whiskey ringing with guest Billy Gibbons’ vibe, a vitality that pours into your ears with the heat and intensity of hot whiskey. The combo of stinging guitars and vocals from Billy adds the feel of ZZ Top to the Party that Is Dr Z Presents Super Sonic Blues Machine. Tempo changes along with the signature style of Warren Haynes steps in with his delicious Southern Rock guitar playing, he is and always will be the Remedy. Recognize the name, you should as he is at the heart of the Gov’t Mule sound, and longtime guitarist with The Allman Brothers Band and his solo work. Who else puts in an appearance with their guitars? Chris Duarte changes the tonal texture with his Texan blues-rock guitar playing – That’s My Way, this is a track that is done Chris’s way with guitar so sharp you can hear the strings vibrate as they cut through the musical backdrop. Next up on the guest roster is Eric Gales, with Nightmares and Dreams as a child prodigy I am positive his musical career has been both, this is a track that is guitar-led and driven with the power of the six-string searing through and dominates. The domination is not about noise and speed it is the subtle mixing of vocals and guitar and layers of sound and variation in tempo as the track develops and as the urgency becomes heightened the guitar follows. Then there is the wailing, howling blues guitar that is the spirit that drives Walter Trout on Can’t Take It Anymore with the accompaniment of keyboard playing that winds itself around the guitar and Walter’s vocals this is a track that is dripping in emotions. The notes are wrung out, stretched out as the lead breaks augment the lyrics with raw open emotions. The last of the guest guitarist plays a slower number full of reflection as Robben Ford sings Let’s Call It A Day a gentle beat as the lyrics explore the ending of a relationship. The guitar work is spot on every time blues with swashbuckling style.
West of Flushing South of Frisco an exploration of the emotive power of the guitar, vocals and the working of the instruments to create an array of tonal textures, emotional shapes. This is blues that rocks gently in the breeze and then howls like a hurricane. Sometimes in a rush other times laid back exploring the power of the six-strings. This album keeps on giving no wonder with so many special guests at the party.
Bluesdoodles gives this CD NINE doodle paws out of TEN ….
Dr Z Presents Super Sonic Blues Machine – West Of Flushing South of Frisco – out 26th February on Mascot Label Group
1. Miracle Man
2. I Ain’t Falling Again
3. Running Whiskey (Feat Billy F Gibbons)
4. Remedy (Feat Warren Haynes)
5. Bone Bucket Blues
6. Let It Be
7. That’s My Way (Feat. Chris Duarte)
8. Ain’t No Love (In The Heart of The City)
9. Nightmares and Dreams (Feat Eric Gales)
10. Can’t Take It No More (Feat Walter Trout)
11. Whiskey Time (Running Whiskey’s extended ending)
12. Let’s Call It A Day (Feat Robben Ford)
Supersonic Blues Machine – The Remedy (Lyric video) feat. Warren Haynes
‘West of Flushing South of Frisco’
Out via Provogue/Mascot Label Group
on 26th February 2016
Featuring: Billy F. Gibbons, Warren Haynes, Chris Duarte, Eric Gales,
Walter Trout & Robben Ford
At the heart of it is Bassist/Producer Fabrizio Grossi, Guitarist/singer Lance Lopez and drummer Kenny Aronoff as well as a host of guest of the highest calibre; ZZ Top’s Billy F. Gibbons, Warren Haynes (Gov’t Mule/Allman Bros Band), Chris Duarte, Eric Gales, Walter Trout and Robben Ford.
Listen and enjoy – ‘I Ain’t Falling Again’ here:
It happened in 2012, Texan guitarist-singer-songwriter Lance Lopez was planning a visit to Los Angeles to record a new album and producer Fabrizio Grossi suggested they hook up and work on some ideas. The following whirlwind day and a half in the studio resulted in three songs which became the foundation of an exciting new project before they knew it. With a prolific career as a producer, mixer and bass player Fabrizio has worked with some of the finest musicians around today pulling into an array of eclectic styles, from Steve Vai to Tina Arena, Nina Hagen to Alice Cooper as well as Glenn Hughes, Joe Bonamassa, Leslie West, Zakk Wylde, the list is endless.
Supersonic Blues Machine isn’t just a band; it’s a mood, a comradeship, a melting pot of ideas with like-minded people bringing their own unique talents to create something with feeling that is very organic. “I was thinking of all the people we know and thought, how about putting together something like The Who or The Rolling Stones used to do in the early 70s” he adds, “they would put together a record and bring all of their friends on board, I thought that would be cool. Bringing back the spirit of camaraderie between musicians.”
Before the name, before the album, entwined circles of friendship and respect began cooking up the music storm that was to become Supersonic Blues Machine.
Before Supersonic Blues Machine even existed as it is, the seeds began to be sewn from a hook up with Billy F. Gibbons, “I was telling Billy about my work with Lance” explains Fabrizio before excitedly adding the ZZ Top legends response was “‘Oh, you know Lance? He’s fantastic, I’ve known him since he was a little kid, you two should seriously consider working on something together.’” Add into the mix drummer Kenny Aronoff thanks to Toto’s Steve Lukather. Aronoff brought with him the experience of working with a huge collection of artists such as John Mellencamp, Smashing Pumpkins, Meat Loaf, Brandon Flowers, John Fogerty, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Joe Cocker amongst a host of others.
Debut album West of Flushing, South of Frisco is a sprawling and emotional journey that has an emphasis on peace, hope, forgiveness and empowerment. Grossi said, “We could have done a record that was jam-packed of famously random guests, but we didn’t want to do that that’s not the idea.”
Sneak a peak with this album trailer…
More friends started to feel the vibe; with tracks being added featuring the wealth of talent among friends. Warren Haynes, Gov’t Mule main man and former Allman Brothers Band, features on Remedy. , and next up was guitarist Warren Haynes. Then joining the mix Tennessee guitar virtuoso Eric Gales can turn his hand to dazzling effect to a number of genres and the pair first worked together with funk father George Clinton on a cover of Hendrix Voodoo Child back in 2001. Playing on the album Nightmares And Dreams.
Eric long time fan of Walter Trout contacted Marie after his liver transplant and was back playing guitar do you fancy joining in the fun. I said ‘hey Marie, I’m doing this thing, and I would really like to see if we could get Walter to play with us.’” Within 5 mins, Walter called back and said “are you fucking shitting me, I’ll bring the guitar.” A few months later they were in the studio recording Can’t Take it No More.
Chris Duarte has been friends with Lance with a long time and started to show interest in working with the Supersonic family and immediately started sending ideas to and forth with the others which became That’s My Way. When it came to subtle jazz-rock maestro Robben Ford, who collaborated on Let’s Call It A Day the final piece slotted it magnificently.
The winding exploration through the album takes you through different emotions, themes and tones and when Lance himself takes on the lead vocals some of those are profound and some are pure foot to the floor stomp from the bar room rocking of Bone Bucket Blues to the opener Miracle Man which is a twist on the theme from Beyoncé’s Single Ladies and the even more sad “Gold-digger/Free loaders” attitude fortified by Reality trends TV shows. “If you read between the lines, the stereotype: the guy is the dog and the girl gets the short end of the stick, but that isn’t always the case, especially in LA, where there’s a lot of great decent guys out there where but, one has ever given these guys a voice…well we just did, in our “gospelly” type of way.”
The album has moments that come from a dark place and a very personal part of Fabrizio life, he lost his birth mother aged 11 and was growing resentful of God and all related to him. “Around 15-16, I got curious and involved with readings about Aleister Crowley ,The Golden Dawn , Magic or sort, he offers, “then weird things started happening which affected me quite a bit. Even though the whole “dark” infatuation, phased out by the time I was 18/19, it took me a really long time to get rid of the negative vision of matters” and it was this that fed into I Ain’t Falling. Let It Be is about the power of forgiveness and regardless of what an individuals’ background is.
Album closer Whatchagonnado is about what Jesus would say if he came back around and talked to people right now. “We’re not a Christian band, we don’t endorse any specific belief, other than what works for you” asserts Fabrizio, “but it seems that everybody embraces this figure and builds his own agenda with it, but how would Jesus really react if he would come back and see all of his teaching twisted around? And we did that with our funky mould.”
West of Flushing, South of Frisco is a reminder of an era that embraced collaborations, one that shared a vision and shared moments, both good and hard, one that put every ounce of their experiences into it, its bleeds emotion but is an uplifting and powerful listen. Now that the Supersonic Blues Machine has begun its journey, there’s a lot more to experience from it.
West of Flushing, South of Frisco – Track Listing
1. Miracle Man
2. I Ain’t Fallin’ Again
3. Running Whiskey (Feat. Billy F. Gibbons)
4. Remedy (Feat. Warren Haynes)
5. Bone Bucket Blues
6. Let It Be
7. That’s My Way (Feat. Chris Duarte)
8. Ain’t No Love (In The Heart Of The City)
9. Nightmares And Dreams (Feat. Eric Gales)
10. Can’t Take It No More (Feat. Walter Trout)
11. Whiskey Time (Running Whiskey’s extended ending)
12. Let’s Call It A Day (Feat. Robben Ford)