Supersonic Blues Machine – West of Flushing South of Frisco

Photo By Alex Solca

Photo By Alex Solca

Not so much a super group but a collective of irresistible talent, Supersonic Blues Machine release their debut album, West of Flushing South of Frisco, this February and a collection of blues fuelled tracks which leave ears glowing with satisfaction. Centred around the trio of bassist/producer Fabrizio Grossi, guitarist/singer Lance Lopez, and drummer Kenny Aronoff, band and release provide a tapestry of craft and heart fuelled enterprise which, even if blues is not the prime source of your musical tastes, simply stirs up an eager appetite with its tenacious rock ‘n’ roll.

The beginnings of the band began in 2012 with Lopez, when planning a visit to Los Angeles to record a new album, arranging to hook up with Grossi, who has worked with some of the finest musicians from Steve Vai to Tina Arena, Nina Hagen to Alice Cooper as well as Glenn Hughes, Dave Navarro, George Clinton, Joe Bonamassa, Leslie West, Zakk Wylde, Ice T, Slash, and Paul Stanley to name a few. Their plan to knock around new ideas led to a trio of tracks which became the foundation of an exciting new project to which ZZ Top’s Billy F. Gibbons added fuel to the creative fire by suggesting the pair, who he both knew, “should seriously consider working on something together.” Aronoff who has worked with the likes of John Mellencamp, Smashing Pumpkins, Meat Loaf, Brandon Flowers, John Fogerty, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Joe Cocker, was then subsequently recruited, thanks to Toto’s Steve Lukather, to complete the heart of the new adventure.

Rushing forward to now and it is fair to say that West of Flushing South of Frisco is already making a stir from the glimpses of tracks offered as teasers and from the band of musical brothers brought in to give each song its individual and impressive character of sound and persuasion. It opens up with Miracle Man and a coaxing caress of acoustic guitar aligned to enticing sonic tendrils around sand textured vocals. Those sultry strands of blues guitar continue to wind around the moodier tones of bass and the great grain textured vocals of Lopez, even as an infectious saunter breaks free from the more reserved start to lead feet and hips into an eager southern spiced jaunt around the dance-floor.

artwork_RingMaster ReviewIt is a great start more than backed by I Ain’t Fallin’ Again with its punchy rhythms and climactic air of wiry grooves and spicy enterprise. As the first, it too develops an infectious canter which easily coaxes involvement in its anthemic funk lined revelry and continues the album’s rousing star before Running Whiskey turns up the heat again with its rock ‘n’ roll blaze. Featuring Billy F. Gibbons, the song aligns shimmering keys with classic rock ‘n’ roll with a very gentle scent of Thin Lizzy to it.

Remedy mellows the adrenaline running through veins next, though the song with Warren Haynes (Gov’t Mule/Allman Bros Band) adding his provocative craft has ears and enjoyment firmly gripped with its smouldering Americana. Fair to say though, it is quickly replaced in the attention of personal tastes by the outstanding Bone Bucket Blues. Gnarly and cantankerous in riffs alone, the track is a liquor scented stomp with the vocals of Lopez as much galvanic bait as the feverish grooves and tenaciously writhing textures around them. It is led by a brooding bassline which reoccurs in a less imposing manner within the emotive croon of Let It Be. Even within is sweltering climate of emotional intensity, the song has a sway and infectious manner that makes easy pickings of ears.

Equally as fiery and expressive in word and sonic invention is next up That’s My Way with Chris Duarte joining the trio for its catchy rock ‘n’ blues persuasion whilst Ain’t No Love (In The Heart Of The City) is a tantalising engaging cover of the Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland classic. Smoky in air, galvanic in a group loaded chorus, it is easy to suspect that the song has an emotional involvement with one or more of the trio such its impassioned rendering, though that kind of potency is fuel to the album as a whole and in evidence within the Eric Gales enhanced Nightmares And Dreams. Inspired by a dream, the song is a haunting yet inviting roar of voice and emotion draped in the guitar imagination which veins the whole of the album in an array of stirring tapestries.

Walter Trout brings his distinct touch to the lingering temptation of Can’t Take It No More where the pairing of Lopez and Trout‘s vocals alone are worth the price if the ticket whilst after Whiskey Time, a spicy track described as the extended ending to earlier proposal Running Whiskey, the mellow charm of Let’s Call It A Day sees Robben Ford helping create a piano led, guitar shaped serenade which provocatively smooches with ears with a gentle and at times more intensive touch.

Closing with the funky throes of Watchagonnado, the Supersonic Blues Machine debut keeps pleasure full and a hope for more of its band of brothers like rock ‘n’ roll to come. It is fair to say that we are no blues experts but we know what we like and West of Flushing South of Frisco easily fits the bill.

West of Flushing South of Frisco is released February 26th via Provogue/Mascot Label Group @ http://www.mascotlabelgroup.com/supersonic-blues-machine-west-of-flushing-cd.html

http://supersonicblues.com/   https://www.facebook.com/SupersonicBluesMachine

Pete RingMaster 25/02/2016

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Robben Ford – Into The Sun

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With over 35 albums under his belt, attention has to be given when Californian guitarist Robben Ford describes his new release as “one of the top recordings I’ve ever done.” It is a statement potently backed up by Into The Sun, a collection of songs entangled in flavours such as blues, rock ‘n’ roll, rock pop, and jazz. The album reveals a fresh diversity to Ford’s songwriting and musical adventure, taking the established potent essences of his renowned prowess into new feel good exploits. Most of all though Into The Sun is simply fun; inventive and as expected technically and creatively superb but most of all it is sheer enjoyment.

With a host of guests across the release, the Provogue Records album opens up with Rose Of Sharon, and an immediate sonic caress across a blues bred gait with slowly strolling rhythms to match. Keys and vocals quickly add to the smouldering tempting of ears and imagination, Ford quickly immersing the listener in the landscape and reflective heart of the song through voice and his already beguiling guitar enterprise. The track is a charming smooch of a song, an evocative sunrise to the album which shines with a brighter smile through Day Of The Planets. There is a great sixties breath to the second song, a rock pop essence with R&B spicing which soon has ears firmly enticed and appetite awake, whilst its classic nostalgic hooks just seals the deal .

     Howlin’ At The Moon brings a dusty blues snarl to its sultry presence, capturing the imagination in a new adventure, whilst the following Rainbow Cover strolls into a creatively scenic rock pop exploit with landmarks as expected sculpted by the resourceful fingers and strings of Ford. Both tracks ignite the senses but are shaded by the excellent Justified featuring with Keb’ Mo’ and pedal steel guitarist Robert Randolph. The track has a gorgeous nostalgic feel to its otherwise vibrant character, a blues tone from decades past bringing rich hues to the mix of vocals and piano led sounds. Harmonies add further flaming whilst the craft of Randolph is a shimmering seduction amidst the excellent proposition.

The magnetic Breath Of Me with ZZ Ward comes next, the twining of Ford and Ward’s vocals alone worth the admission price whilst High Heels And Throwin’ Things which finds Gov’t Mule and Allman Brothers guitarist Warren Haynes guesting, has one of those inventive shuffles and fiery landscapes which even in its subdued air has ears and thoughts gripped. Great vocals and the ever sweltering adventure of guitars has one virtually reaching to wipe a bead of perspiration from the brow such the thick exotic climate of the song, whilst across the album the melodic heat conjured more than lives up to its title.

A delicious heavy and lusty bassline marks out next up The Cause Of War first of all, it’s dark lure perfectly backed by firmly swung rhythms, a rich weave of simmering keys, and the contagiously diverse mesh of guitar textures and enterprise. The track takes favourite song honours, though it is constantly challenged as shown by the captivating So Long 4 U and its quaint stroll of keys. The track needs little time to seduce ears, especially when you add six-string slide legend Sonny Landreth to the line-up, though if I am honest it is that vintage twang of the keys which lights the biggest emotions.

The album comes to a close through firstly the spicy adventure of Same Train and finally the heavily enticing Stone Cold Heaven which features Southern rock musician Tyler Bryant. The song is ablaze with guitar craft and vivacity, bringing a fine album a potent finale.

Into The Sun shows a different aspect and direction to the Robben Ford sound in many ways but has all the heart and glowing essences of his sound, and of course all the technical majesty. For full enjoyment though…do play loud!

Into The Sun is out now via Provogue Records/Mascot Label Group @ http://www.mascotlabelgroup.com/robbenford-intothesun.html

https://www.facebook.com/RobbenFordOfficial   http://robbenford.com/

RingMaster 26/04/2015

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