Gary Cain is more than Abel on Next Stop

Gary Cain is more than Abel on Next Stop

Gary Cain is more than Abel on Next Stop a wonderful guitar-centric album that delivers originality, variation and enviable skill.

Bluesdoodles rating: 4 Doodle Paws – a wonderful guitar-centric album that delivers originality, variation and enviable skill.

Any guitarist that releases an album called Twangadelic Bluesophunk is all right by me and, when it includes genius tracks like the onomatopoeic Twang Strut or the heft of blues in Pipes and Spoons it becomes essential listening….that was in 2017 and he has been a bit quiet since. However, when I received the latest release from Gary Cain I was still geared up for an aural treat.

That first album was billed as The Gary Cain Band, this one is just Gary Cain…literally as he takes on the role of one man power trio by recording the bass and drums too. It’s called Next Stop, and brings again a blend of blues-based rock, funk, soul and blues with heart and humour thrown in.

Canadian born Gary has impressed the blues world as he successfully took part in Lee Ritenour’s Six String Theory guitar competition, judged by such greats as Joe Bonamassa, Ry Cooder, and Joe Satriani.

Inevitably, the pandemic delayed his plans and so he resorted to practicing and writing, and that has resulted in (at least) the ten originals in this very strong set. Beginning with a not so tongue in cheek commentary on the ludicrously rich, Billionaires In Space, takes aim via a rapid-fire riff that has hints of southern rock…he does a damn good job on bass too. The guitar solo is worth the wait as, after a minor widdly bit, then great chord work, we get true fire that doesn’t last long enough. Confusion nods to Hendrix in a neat rolling, rapid, riff with more lovely bass…the solos are a wide-ranging treat and employs all of the runs, bends and sustain you need. The self-seeking politics of so many come under scrutiny on Gatekeeper: funky guitar, slap bass blend with rock, illustrated best by a solo that’s incendiary as it rocks while the backing stays funk. Crazy rings true as Gary laments a world gone mad…a hint of blues behind the masterful rock riff as the bass and guitar counter each other but in perfect union. The vocals and melody do remind a bit of Human League, but the rock song remains intact and the solo is great. Keep On Comin’ has a Mistreated opening and the heavy blues stay with us with Hendrixian flourishes. This is my favourite, at the moment at least, for the rock/blues weight and the thoughtful bridge followed by a varied, original and genius solo. Kitchen Sink is the first of two instrumentals and the title sums it up as the country rhythms flow very fast indeed…reminds me a little of the Marcel Dadi/Steve Morse collaboration from a few years ago. It is fast, fun, exceedingly clever and catchy. It also incorporates some nice rock, prog and jazz touches too. The pace stays high on House On Fire with more Purple-isms in the main riff (a good thing) and sparkling guitar throughout…a proggy bridge leads to a heavy rock solo of pure quality. Back to politics and, one person in particular, I think, on Gone…a laid back simple, recognisable but effective modified melody (think Ian Drury) with neat snare work behind and guitar phrases that reflect the subject matter. Phasing the guitar sound keeps the funk as the song builds more to rock…clever! Ain’t Up To Me starts with frantic funked chords, mixes a bit of soul into the melody and delivers short discordant but fitting solo.

The final track, A Short Furious Goodbye, is the second instrumental and is swelled (pun intended) by a background Hammond (?) as the gently picked intro builds into the best kind of instrumental…a guitar that speaks as loudly as any words could.

All in all, this is a very strong album and a worthy follow up to the lovely Twangadelic Bluesophunk: guitar workouts a plenty but always within a song’s framework so that they compliment rather than overpower…it certainly keeps this guitar geek/freak very happy.

Gary Cain is more than Abel on Next Stop

Track listing:
Heart Attack
Billionaires In Space
Keep On Comin’
Kitchen Sink
House On Fire
Ain’t Up To Me
A Short Furious Goodbye

Gary Cain: everything you hear apart from:
John Lee: organ on A Short Furious Goodbye

Connect with Gary Cain across SOCIAL MEDIA
Official Website

(iTunes moved onto a little known but a quality single by Sweet vocalist, Brian Connolly called Hypnotise but with a ‘z’ as it was written by Fandango guitarist Rick Blakemore (yes, really!)

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