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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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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Ken Valdez - Soul Renegade - New Release review

I just received the newest release (April 5, 2016), Soul Renegade, from Ken Valdez and it's adventurous. Opening with title track, Soul Renegade, Ken Valdez quickly establishes his notoriety as a singer songwriter and guitar player with a nicely crafted and executed blues rock ballad. Paul Peterson on bass, Mario Dawson on drums, Ricky Peterson on B3 and Jason Petersen Delaine on backing vocals round out the force giving Valdez a solid platform for a brief but tense guitar solo. Rio Grande Blues has a strong blues rock posture along the lines of Mountain or Mahogany Rush. With a solid bass line and cocky vocals, this is one of my favorite tracks on the release. Sugar Shakin' Boogaloo has strong Jimmy Reed lines and with super player Chris Duarte adding his fluid riffs, this track rocks! Make It has a super underlying bottom riff that gives the track real traction. Kevin B.F. Burt adds tasty harp riffs but the super balance between Valdez and Hazel Miller's vocals and the heavy bottom makes for a great track with some hot guitar flash. Sometimes has an almost Alan Parson's poppy funk feel but the raw edge of Valdez's vocals and stinging guitar riffs from guitar monster Eric Gales take it light years away. Far From Gone has a hi stepping R&B style and nicely the blended vocals featuring Valdez and Miller. Detroit Iron is an uptempo rocker featuring Tucker Sterling Jensen on bass and Joe Diaz on drums. Valdez takes his most aggressive solo on the release on this track, really letting it loose. With R Peterson on B3 this track cooks. Funky, Final Season, is a tight rocker featuring Adam Daniel on keys and B3. This track has a great groove giving Valdez some nice space to lay out some really nice guitar riffs. Hot! Whiskey and Water is a quiet country style ballad with Valdez singing some of his most serious vocals. Backed by Shalo Lee on vocals and with Greg Jennings on slide, this track has solid radio potential. Angels retains a bit of that country feel with a strong swatch of gospel. With Miller, Valdez, Jensen and Mary Cutrufello on backing vocals and a real nice piano solo from Brian Leeper this track is another of my favorites. Pulling from Willie Dixon's library, Wang Dang Doodle gets a heavy rock twist on an already solid blues base. This is a nicely stylized redo of a classic track and a great closer.

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