Guitar virtuoso Eric Gales returns with the eagerly anticipated follow-up to his critically acclaimed album Middle of the Road.
Eric Gales latest offering was written over a period of nine months before the guitar virtuoso himself laid down the tracks between three studios in California.
The Bookends kicks off with a trio of funky, soulful tracks in the shape of “Somethings Gotta Give”, “Whatcha Gon’ Do” and “It Just Beez That Way” before Gales switches things up with the majestic soulful blues number “How Do I Get To You”.
Widely regarded as one of the best guitarists on the planet, for Eric Gales latest album The Bookends, he wanted to showcase not only his blistering fretwork but also his talents as a vocalist. And that objective is certainly met during the opening segment of the record. This is particularly the case during Gales partnership with award-winning vocalist B-Slade on “Something’s Gotta Give” along with his heartfelt vocal delivery during “How Do I Get To You”. With each of these tracks, the listener is drawn to Gales’ voice with much less space within the songs for extended guitar solos.
One of the standout tracks on the record is “Southpaw Serenade” featuring Doyle Bramhall II. This being Gales nod to left-handed guitarists, of which both artists share the same gift. This beautiful slow blues number is simply a joy to listen to from start to finish. To hear these two contemporary blues greats entwined in an extended guitar conversation is pure magic from the off.
Gales switches gears with the fiery blues rocker “Reaching For A Change”. The track has a heavy groove throughout which is embellished with some passionate playing from the man himself, and a searing guitar solo which emphasises the passion, intensity and unrivalled skill of Eric Gales.
Throughout The Bookends Gales has recruited a whole raft of his esteemed colleagues and friends. During the latter stages of the record, he calls upon friend and label mate Beth Hart as they put their own stamp on Joe Cockers timeless classic “With A Little Help From My Friends”. United by the struggles that both artists have endured throughout their lives, their experiences and kinship create unique chemistry that is perfectly captured during this monumental cover. When you put one of the worlds best guitarists alongside one of the greatest female vocalists of our time the end result is nothing short of spectacular.
As the album reaches its conclusion Gales delivers a tour de force of guitar playing during instrumental piece “Resolution” before calling upon B-Slade for the second time during the funky RnB bonus track “Pedal To The Metal”.
With The Bookends Eric Gales has really pushed his creativity and boundaries and by doing so this record highlights his evolution as an artist. After all, what is the point of standing still, you’ve got to keep on moving forward. Throughout The Bookends Gales traverses the full spectrum of his musical repertoire whilst simultaneously showcasing the many talents of his craft.
Eric Gales new album The Bookends will be released via Provogue/Mascot Label Group on Friday 8th February.