Supersonic Blues Machine returns with their sophomore album Californisoul via Mascot Label Group.
This prestigious blues-rock trio is packed full of talent. The band features bass player and producer extraordinaire Fabrizio Grossi, uber-talented guitarist Lance Lopez and one of the world’s most in-demand drummers Kenny Aronoff at the helm. This is just for starters.
As with the debut Supersonic Blues Machine album West of Flushing, South of Frisco for this the band’s second record, once again they have invited a whole raft of their A-list musical friends.
Speaking of the rationale behind the band’s ongoing and expansive array of collaborations on their records Fabrizio Grossi recently said that, “Lots of people have been saying to me ‘why does Supersonic Blues Machine always bring guests around? You guys can stand your own ground’, and there are three answers to that : 1) we’re all super friends and we’re having a blast, 2) most of them don’t give lessons and for us it’s only way to learn their secret “ways”, and three because the inspiration and the challenge they bring to the table!”
And with this record Supersonic Blues Machine most certainly rise to that challenge. Throughout Californisoul, the band covers a lot of ground as a result of their wide-ranging influences, experiences and the musical stamp laid down by their guest counterparts.
The opening track of the record “I Am Done Missing You”, eases the listener into the album gently with a slow and soulful number which has a nice bluesy undertone – thanks to the addition of some simmering harp playing throughout the song.
As the album progresses tracks like “Somebody’s Fool” featuring Robben Ford and “Hard Times” featuring Steve Lukather moves Californisoul into much more familiar territory with a couple of groove-heavy blues tracks.
With “L.O.V.E” Supersonic Blues Machine delivers an infectious funky blues number, packed full of catchy hooks, which is underpinned by the incredibly tight rhythm of Grossi and Aronoff and layered with some searing guitar licks from Lopez. The funk elements of the band also radiate on both “The Stranger” and “Thank You”. The latter of which is also the only track on the record to feature a soulful horn section, which adds a nice texture to the number.
Being instrumental in bringing this super group together and having performed with the band live several times – ZZ Top legend Billy F. Gibbons makes a return to the fold. Gibbons brings with him in tow his unmistakable hard rocking, southern flavour to the track “Broken Heart”.
Much like Gibbons, guitar virtuoso Eric Gales has been a fundamental part of Supersonic Blues Machine’s live roster for some time. Gales adds a deep groove and some blistering fretwork to the track “Elevate”. Gales’ distinctively Hendrix-esque Fender Strat sound features prominently, before the number winds down and fades with a slow yet funky, soulful outro.
On the other hand, the upbeat number “The One” makes you want to dance with its soulful latin essence. The song is constructed on top of a tight drum groove by Kenny Aronoff.
With “Cry” the band delivers a passionately heartfelt ballad.
In the latter stages of the record, the great Walter Trout features on the slow blues number “What’s Wrong” adding both vocals and an incredible guitar conversation with Lance Lopez. The pair plays off each other both seamlessly and effortlessly before Californisoul is brought to its conclusion with “This Is Love”.
Supersonic Blues Machine’s aim with this album was to transport the listener back to the early seventies, or as Fabrizio Grossi romantically puts it – the album is the “missing soundtrack to a summertime drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 1971”. It’s fair to say that the band has done exactly that, with an album packed full of dynamic and varying big-hitting numbers which encapsulate the essence of the beautiful musical landscape of that time.
Californisoul by Supersonic Blues Machine will be released via Mascot Label Group on Friday 20th October.
Photo: Adam Kennedy