Rick Galusha's Pacific St. Blues and Americana

Since inception (1989), Pacific St. Blues & Americana strives to be a discerning voice helping roots fans sift through the mountains of music released every year. We are not for everyone; we want to engage active, critical listeners that hear beyond d'jour. Interviews include: Johnny Winter, Bill Wyman (Rolling Stones), Jerry Wexler, Tommy Shannon & Chris Layton, B.B. King, Dr. John, Robin Trower, Robben Ford, Mato Nanji, Joe Bonamassa, Harry Manx, Sue Foley, Marshall Chess, Billy Lee Riley, Charlie Louvin, Kim Richey, Radney Foster, Eric Johnson, David Clayton Thomas, Al Kooper, Phil Chen (Wired, Blow By Blow), Ian McLagan, Art Neville, Southside Johnny, Miami Steve Van Zant, Nils Lofgren, Bruce Iglauer, Charlie Musselwhite, Studebaker John, Chris Duarte, Smokin' Joe Kubeck, Hamilton Loomis, Peter Karp, Roomful of Blues, James Harman, Hadden Sayers, Malford Milligan, Melvin Taylor, Otis Taylor, Dave Alvin, Coco Montoya, Jimmy Thackery, Marsha Ball, Maria Muldaur, Shelby Lynne, Magic Dick & J. Geils, Lil' Milton, BuddyGuy, Aynsley Lister, Matt Schofield, Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks, Guy Clark, Joe Ely, James Cotton, Robin & Jesse Davey, Hugh Coltman (Hoax), Sean Kelly (Samples), John Entwistle (The Who), Mark Olson (Jayhawks), Walter Wolfman Washington, Anthony Gomes, Bob Malone, Chubby Carrier, Buckwheat Zydeco, Murali Coryell, David Jacob Strain, DeAnna Bogart, Michael Lee Firkins, Guy Davis, Jason Ricci, John Doe, Little Feat, Matt Woods, MikeZito, Peter Buffett, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Corky Siegel, Todd Park Mohr, Watermelon Slim, Magic Slim, Corey Harris,- - - - - - ------------------------Radio archives: http://www.kiwrblues.podomatic.com/. Playlists: http://www.omahablues.com/ Reviews featured in http://www.blueswax.com/. Email: KIWRblues@gmail.com Live online; Sundays 9 a.m. (-6 GMT) http://www.897theriver.com/

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Album Review: Anthony Gomes, Live

Artist: Anthony Gomes
Title: Live

Writer: Rick Galusha

Rock is dead – long live ‘the blues.’ Perhaps since the guitar was plugged into an amplifier or maybe it was when Nirvana signed to a major label, either way “rock” has been sliding into the obscurity of numerous niches categories and “the blues” has become a codeword for screaming guitars and loud drums. To some degree you have to know the code in order to fully understand the nuisance of the statement. Yes, there are still Blues records being put out but many of the ‘the blues’ records being released are actually “rock” records. So what? Indeed, so what. Really it only matters when you consider Blues to be a traditional American artform – after than, it’s just music and the affixed genre label is little more than a marketing effort.

Anthony Gomes is the Pete Rose of ‘the blues;’ a fighter that just is not going to give up. The latest effort by showman Anthony Gomes is a live album recorded at Seattle’s Triple Door venue in February 2007. It is a high energy ruckus affair that showcases Gomes’ aptitude toward abandoned ‘twang bar king’ playing. And it has absolutely no connection to Blues but will be readily identified as ‘the blues.’ Much like Joe Bonamassa before him, Gomes ties in Classic Rock licks that sharp ears and sober minds will pick up on. For example, on the track, ‘Bluebird’ keyboardist Todd Hamric melds in an organ line by The Doors’ Ray Manzerak’s from the famed song, ‘Riders on the Storm.’ Again, it’s a fun, tasty gesture.

By the fourth track the band jumps into Led Zeppelin’s ‘Heartbreaker’ including a bombastic extended guitar solo. What’s not fun about a well played cover? After all, some Blues artists are anchored to playing songs thirty years their senior.

The sixth track, ‘When the Right Woman Does You Wrong’ is a slow bluesy number that bear up to crescendo after crescendo giving Gomes a slow burning simmer that explodes amid a cliché warning the he is, “about to lose control.” And so the platform for yet another guitar solo is set and like a lemming to the sea Gomes knows that it is pyrotechniques that butters the bread on his roadshow.

“Falling” is a U2-like track that pulls in sentimental mood as Gomes’ sings “At this moment I am humble and I surrender to your voice. I’m falling. You know its hard to walk on water with broken bones and worn out shoes, I’ve thrown every punch, I’ve run every road, I’ve got nothing else to lose.” Clearly a contemporary radio friendly track that end with the sound of Helicopter’s and John F. Kennedy saying, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country” before melding into the anti-conflict track from his previous album, ‘War on War.’ “Talk about a revolution, a soul solution, something worth fighting for…My name is Anthony Gomes Ladies and Gentlemen and I believe in Love.”

Gomes’ band rocks and, as his career progresses, his playing becomes finer and more nuisanced. That said, it is unlikely he’ll cut any new ground or create a school of protégées. His albums are readily apparent. None-the-less he is a personable barroom brawler that can write a good song, play a mean guitar and put together a well constructed album that will stand up to repeated listens and bring the fan enjoyment. He is an entertainer first and foremost and there is absolutely nothing wrong with giving folks what they came to hear.

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