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Issue 1088

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Review

Lance Lopez: Handmade Music (String Commander/MIG Music GmbH)

Lance Lopez CD Handmade Music

6

6.1

Rate this Album

UK release date 25.11.2011

A new name to me. But when you can play blues guitar like this man, he really should not be. An album that came out end of last year, but got sucked into the CD Bermuda Triangle at Blues & Soul Towers down Eclectic Avenue, and only recently found its way to my desk. Better late than never.

A Texas native and he plays like that too. Former sideman with Johnnie Taylor and with Lucky Peterson, he has also toured with Johnnie Winter and hit Europe with Steve Vai and Jeff Beck. BB King invited him to perform as his special guest, and in 2011 he won blues band of the year at the Dallas Music Awards. Lance has mega Memphis producer Jim Gaines working the desk here.

He is a fast player in the main, on the rock side of the blues. Some of the dozen here are on the heavier side too. His vocal does not quite match the standard of the guitar playing, but is mostly acceptable. But it is the material that lets him down, for me.
Mostly forgettable songs and tunes. Melody is lacking overall. It is all a bit samey. His playing saves it. The axe heads will love it, but I need songs,songs, songs.

The best track of the bunch is the only slow blues on here, which is actually one of two bonus tracks, and closes the album. "Lowdown Ways.â Some gorgeous licks here.

Recorded at famous Ardent Studio, Memphis where ZZ Top and Led Zep cut discs. Jim Gaines has produced John Lee Hooker, Steve Miller Band, ZZ Top, Santana and one of my favourite ever blues albums, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brownâs âStanding My Ground,â which features the best ever version of âGot My Mojo Working.â

But it is Jimâs work with Stevie Ray Vaughan and the double platinum "In Step," that guitar and blues fans will know. Lance is backed admirably throughout by bassist Chris Gipson and drummer Jimmy Dereta. A solid power trio format. Lance is a class act on that geetar, and with better songs to provide a stronger vehicle for his playing and vocals, there'd be no stopping him.
Words SIMON REDLEY

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