January 6th, 2011
Artist: Eric Gales
Label: Blues Bureau International
Release date: July 27, 2010
A Memphis native with blues running through his DNA (his grandfather occasionally jammed with Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf), Eric Gales was something of a child prodigy on the guitar, along with his brothers Eugene and Manuel (a.k.a. Little Jimmy King). Though he has released multiple albums since 1991, occasionally with his siblings, he has failed to garner wider name recognition, despite (or perhaps because of) frequent comparisons to Jimi Hendrix.
Gales’ albums tend to alternate between blues and psychedelic rock (his 2007 release was titled Psychedelic Underground), and his latest offering, Relentless, continues this trajectory. Opening with a straight-up electric blues song, “Bad Lawbreaker,” the tracks then swing on a pendulum between blues, blues-rock and hard rock, the latter defined by songs such as “The Spice” and “On the Wings on Rock and Roll.”
All of the music is original, with co-writing credits going to Gales and Mike Varney, the founder of Schrapnel Records, who has also produced black rock guitarists Doug Pinnick and Doug Howe. Varney’s Blues Bureau, a subsidiary of Schrapnel, is dedicated to releasing the best of the blues-rock guitarists, which places Gales at the top of the heap. Overall, Relentless is one of Gales’ best efforts, showing off his incredible guitar chops, though his retro style makes him sound more like a 60-year-old veteran than someone born in 1975.
Following is an interview/performance clip of the Gales Brothers Band in Ardent Studios in Memphis, recorded when Gales was only 15. The clip was given to Gales by Khari from Public Enemy, who claims to have started playing because of the Eric Gales Band:
Reviewed by Brenda Nelson-Strauss