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Exotic Dancer Blues

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Album Review

Hendrix, Clapton, and Page: the holy trinity of blues-influenced rock guitar gods, to whom countless guitarists have returned, hoping to refresh and renew their playing, and to keep themselves grounded and in touch with their roots. That's what '80s shredder David T. Chastain had in mind when he formed the Southern Gentlemen, a bluesy hard rock unit that would allow him to concentrate more on feeling than technique, and to draw especially upon the influence of Jimi Hendrix. The only problem is the relative anonymity of the recorded result, the band's 2000 debut Exotic Dancer Blues. The songs themselves are generally decent — not exceptional, but solidly workmanlike. However, the performances are too mannered for the songs to really catch hold. The songs aren't lacking bite or muscle, because the band certainly rocks hard. And to Chastain's credit, his guitar playing effectively de-emphasizes technical flash in favor of economy and feeling. So, in that sense, the project can be considered a success. But as a vocalist, Chastain doesn't seem to have much of a feel for the blues, and the band doesn't have the loose rhythmic swing that would really project an aura of grit and authenticity. Compounding the problem is that so many artists have drawn from exactly the same influences; it's so difficult to stand out from the pack without bringing a fresh approach to the table. In the end, Exotic Dancer Blues is a competent exercise without much personality of its own.


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Shred-guitar virtuoso David T. Chastain formed the Southern Gentlemen as a vehicle for exploring heavy, Southern-fried blues-rock in the vein of idols, like Jimi Hendrix, Robin Trower, and ZZ Top. The group was rounded out by bassist Kevin Kekes and drummer Dennis Lesh, while Chastain assumed lead vocal duties. Exotic...
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Exotic Dancer Blues, Southern Gentlemen
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