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CHRIS DUARTE GROUP – MY SOUL ALONE – REVIEW BY THE BLUEBIRD

by GFats on May 28, 2013

Chris Duarte Group

My Soul Alone

Blues Bureau Int’L – (B00AX5HGWW)

CHRIS DUARTE GROUP

CHRIS DUARTE GROUP

Chris Duarte- Guitar and Vocals
Steve Evans- Bass
Aaron Haggerty- Drums
Produced by- Mike Varney
Released on Shrapnelrecords 2013
(Blues Bureau International)

Readers should read

The Chris Duarte Group’s biography as a guide before

buying this album. It was (very well) written by Robert Holman, who has followed the evolution of this artist for quite some time. You can read

Mr. Holman’s summary of this record on the band’s website:

http://www.thechrisduartegroup.com/ . The reason I say this is because

Duarte and his obviously talented band, weave in and out of various blues

styles, and altogether stray from straight blues within the same

collection, at times. Each song is different from the other, in phrasing,

blues period and even genre.

 

The opening track, “Show Me That You Want It,” notes jazz influences, which

make this song leap from the music player. Harmonies and repetition in the

chorus give this a top tappin’ 1940’s jumpin jive vibe. “Yes, It’s You”

brings warm country tones to underline this pop diddie that makes the

entire record lots of fun for the listener. Clear tones like the Beatles’

influence this tightly written track. “Take Me Now” was my favorite song

from the record. It isn’t everyone who can nail the groovy vibe of a

Steely Dan-like type of ensemble. Smooth and easy, it is timeless and

contemporary at the same time. Duarte imparts a great deal of catch in

every song to keep you engaged, this one is memorable.

 

“A Dollar Down And Feeling Low” gives the listener a great escape into the

slower side of blues. With Otis Rush influences of long phrases and

streamlined tones, this minor blues tone song is a hidden gem. “I Bucked

It Up” brings the wide reach of various blues styles that Duarte calls

into the mix on the same record. He pushes the fun side of blues on this

song. Almost sounding like a live version of rocker Joe Walsh, this track

would have the audience catching on quickly and shouting along in any

venue. Duarte can bend a note, and the lead shows some skillful technique

in the opening sections. Holman describes some Hubert Sumlin styles in the

lead and Buddy Guy riffs toward the end. Listeners will have to analyze

these for themselves, but there were some classic blues styles to dig into

for sure.

 

Chris’s signature Hendrix influence is well documented. ‘Outta My Way’ is

stated to have “the patented Hendrix 7th chord accents” which you do hear

later in the track. This song has a lot of Hendrix references, but the

pace is faster and less funky. Chris’ voice reaches for every note, which

in some ways distracts from the instruments. He can stay in his range for

a more solid effect, still a good effort, nonetheless.

 

In “Leave My Soul Alone,” Chris is quoted as naming The Black Keys as

influence in this song. “I was first exposed to those guys when I did the

Romp album.” “Our producer at the time, Dennis Herring, brought that song

in, the Romp that is, and it was the Black Keys version of it.” I liked the choppiness of it. This song sounded raw and brought some genuine soul to the blues mix.

In “Sweet Little Girl,” the biography states that Chris wrote this song for his
daughter and there is some heavy influence of Howlin Wolf from the days
where Chris played Howling for My Darkling with Bobby Mack and Night
Train.

Serious pride came through on this track, that’s all I’ll say here.

 

I liked “Lazy Afternoon” for the simple reason that it puts a positive

spin on a cloudy day, blues style. It is a walk through your backyard that

you’d never notice before without Duarte’s fresh perspective, great song.

 

“Can’t Shut Me Out” comes through to show an increase in intensity, as

Duarte pours on the guitar riffs and special effects, expressing more of

his Hendrix influence. “Blue Jean Outlaw” tells a story in the Western

folklore of a “young man that takes up a life of crime to feed his

family.” The guitar blends melodies and vocals, that mirror the narrative

of the tale. The opening drums and guitar was quiet and serene, making a nice intro to the sad story he tells. The vocal tone of this was flatter than some of the change ups in the rest of the album, but the guitar work wove around the lyrics to make an interesting backdrop.

“Carelessness” may take the listener off guard. The song was named after a
lodge in Northern California where Chris Duarte met a violin player and
they jammed out to “Freedom Jazz Dance”. Duarte’s producer, Mike Varney
wanted to get Mads Tolling on one song for My Soul Alone. Duarte is noted
for being inspired by fusion artist, John McGlaughlin, and the blend
between Duarte’s bold confidence as a guitar player and Mads Tolling’s
fiery violin is a great adventure for the listener.

These tracks are so different from each other, Duarte takes risks in being
unpredictable with song choice. For this reason, “My Soul Alone” may end
up being a stand out record for the Chris Duarte Group.

~Bluebird

 

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