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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Friday, December 4, 2015

American Showplace Music artist: Chris O'Leary - Gonna Die tryin' - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Gonna Die Tryin', from Chris O'Leary and it's in your face super! Folloing up to last year's Live At Blues Now! this release is long awaited. Opening with Can't Help Yourself, a slinky blues track with a gritty guitar vamp by Chris Vitarello and Chris O'Leary on lead vocal and harp this track is a great opener. Backed by Matt Raymond on bass, Bruce Katz on piano and Jay Devlin on drums, O'Leary hits solid on his harp solo making this one of the best opening tracks of the year! 19 Cents A Day has a strong, SB Williamson vamp behind it but with a fast driving pace really kicks it. Katz on organ really lays it out there with a hot solo with Andy Stahl and Chris Difrancesco joining on sax. Hot! Hook, Line and Sinker has a funky R&B feel Willa Panvini and Libby Cabello adding super backing vocals alone with Stahl and Difrancesco on sax. Vitarello adds some really nice guitar lines over Raymond's driving bass line and the sax men blow out some great riffs. Excellent! Title track, Gonna Die Tryin' has a Latin beat and great guitar tone under the lead vocals. Vitarello steps up with a real nice guitar solo on this track sticking with a blues fuesd latin feel. O'Leary breathes great power into his harp on this track giving it just the right spark. Slow blues track, Letters From Home, opens with a really soulful guitar solo from Vitarello riding on the back of of Katz's subtle organ work. O'Leary shows a variety of different vocal styles throughout this release. His powerful vocals earlier in the release are nicely matched here with super soulful phrasing. This is a powerful track that stands tall on this release of excellent tracks. The Devil Drove To Town In A V8 Ford is a rocking, country style track with flames. Vitarello really strings it out on this one with some lower fret work that hits hard. Nice pick up after the grinding blues number. The Machine has a really cool feel with alternating tom tom beat and double stopped guitar rhythm. Vitarello plays some really stinging guitar riffs under O'Leary's solid vocals with harp accents. Excellent! With it's shuffling lope, Walking Contradiction is the one track that just screams Chicago on this track and O'Leary milks it for all it's worth with his smoking harp work. Harvest Time rolls out a New Orleans style beat by Devlin and rolling piano from Katz. Warm backing vocals by Cabello and McCarthy along with slide guitar give the gumbo real spice. One More Saturday Night has a slick swing led by O'Leary on vocal and harp. Rock n roll riffs into the blues give the track great traction and Katz's organ work fills out the bill. Wrapping the release is funky, Tell It To Me Straight with Albert King like delivery. This is another of my favorite tracks with a slice of the best of everything. O'Leary's vocals are perfect, katz delivers a great organ solo, Vitarello plays it funky, backing vocals a strong and the band is in the groove...seriously! This is an excellent release!

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