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Gulf Coast Highway

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Album Review

The third release in four years — this one with 15 tracks, all but three originals — from this blue-eyed soulster shows no drop-off in quality. If anything, his hip-shaking R&B has become more focused, and along with a rollicking band aided by Galactic's rhythm section of bassist Robert Mercurio and drummer Stanton Moore on a handful of tunes, he keeps the bouncy blues and Texas styled groove in the pocket. Lindell has gone from being a promising vocalist to an exciting one, nimbly navigating through breezy funk and upbeat soul without breaking a sweat. There is no denying the gritty vocal influence of the similarly styled Delbert McClinton, a point brought into sharp relief when Lindell covers McClinton's easy swaying "Here Comes the Blues Again." Tenor saxman Jimmy Carpenter is a key contributor this time around, arranging the horn parts on all but one entry and playing tough and tight throughout, often along with fellow saxman Derek Houston. He's especially energized on his King Curtis inspired blowing for "I'll Be Around." As before, the sound falls between New Orleans, Texas, and a West Coast rump shaking fusion. Lindell takes a page from the James Brown playbook on the double time, super bad "The Look," and taps into an Otis Redding vibe on "Love and Compassion." Lindell handles production duties himself and the results prove he could succeed at that profession if he decides to lend his services to others. Nothing exceeds four minutes, and even at 15 selections, the entire disc is just over 45 minutes long. So even though some could, and likely will, be extended when performed live, especially the closing Meters influenced instrumental "Raw Doggin'," Lindell smartly keeps his music lean and mean. A few backing vocalists occasionally add extra dollops of sweet soul as on the swampy "Dirty Bird," but this is clearly Lindell's, and to a lesser extent, Carpenter's, show. It's a non-stop party with sharp songs, crisp backing, and top-notch material that'll make you wonder how deep the singer/songwriter's well is, if Lindell can churn up an album this impressive in only a year.


Born: 1969 in San Mateo, CA

Genre: Rock

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

Born in 1969 in San Mateo, California, blues guitarist Eric Lindell spent much of his youth in nearby Santa Rosa and Forestville. Although he worked as a baker by day, Lindell turned his focus to music in the evenings, honing his chops as a competent vocalist and guitarist by playing in bars around Sonoma County. He produced his debut album, Bring It Back, in 1996, and in 1999 he won the John Lennon Songwriting Competition with his original piece "Kelly Ann." That same year, Lindell decided to move...
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Gulf Coast Highway, Eric Lindell
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