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Transformation

Eric Gales

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Album Review

The blues scene is quite diverse in the 21st century. Some bluesmen are greatly influenced by jazz, some have strong soul and funk leanings, and some are quite mindful of rock. Eric Gales definitely falls into the third category; he has been a skillful representative of muscular blues-rock, drawing heavily on Jimi Hendrix's influence and showing his appreciation of Cream, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Robin Trower as well. The singer/guitarist maintains that outlook on Transformation, which is really more of a continuation than a transformation. The title Transformation implies that Gales is somehow reinventing himself or moving in a different direction, but no, this 2011 release is not a big stylistic departure from his previous recordings. And that is a good thing because Gales handles himself enjoyably well on Transformation. His guitar solos absolutely burn, his writing is undeniably solid, and his vocals say what they need to say emotionally. On a technical level, Gales isn't a fantastic singer, but that doesn't mean that he isn't expressive. And for those who like their blues-rock on the aggressive side, it's very easy to appreciate all the passion that Gales brings to 1960s/1970s-minded tracks such as "Too Late to Cry," "Sometimes Wrong Feels Right," "Double Dippin'," and "I Pity the Fool" (not to be confused with the song by Don Robey, aka Deadric Malone, that Bobby "Blue" Bland recorded in 1961). Gales was born in 1974, but stylistically, this is an album that gets much of its inspiration from the blues-rockers of his parents' generation — and Transformation is full of songs that would have easily been contenders for airplay on the FM rock stations of the '60s and '70s. But what was cutting-edge when Gales was born is now considered classic or old-school; Gales is a master of psychedelic-influenced blues-rock/hard rock classicism, and lovers of that approach should have no problem getting into the passionate Transformation.

Biography

Born: 1975 in Memphis, TN

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Blues guitar phenom Eric Gales was born and raised in Memphis, learning to play at age four from older brothers Eugene and Manuel in imitation of their upside-down, left-handed style (a tradition actually passed down from their grandfather, Dempsey Garrett Sr., who was known to jam with the likes of Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf). Winning his first blues contest at 11, four years later Eric signed to Elektra to issue his 1991 debut LP, recorded with Eugene on bass; Picture of a Thousand Faces followed...
Full bio
Transformation, Eric Gales
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