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Eric Gales Live

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Eric Gales

First some background plus detail of his latest LP release:

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The New CROWN LP

Eric Gales is a blues firebrand. Over 30 years and 18 albums, his passion for the music and his boundless desire to keep it vital has never waned, even when his own light dimmed due to his substance struggles. Throughout it all, he continued to reinvigorate the art form with personal revelation in his lyrics and bold stylistic twists in his guitar playing and song-writing.

Five years sober, creatively rejuvenated, and sagely insightful, Eric is ready for the fight of his career. Aptly, he calls his masterful new album, CROWN out now, on Provogue/Mascot label Group. Here, Eric opens like never before, sharing his struggles with substance abuse, his hopes about a new era of sobriety and unbridled creativity, and his personal reflections on racism. The songs are delivered with clarity and feature Eric’s personal experiences and hope for positive change. In addition, the 16-track collection boasts his finest singing, song-writing, and his signature guitar playing that burns throughout. Produced by Joe Bonamassa and Josh Smith, this is Eric at his most boldly vulnerable, uncompromisingly political, and unflinchingly confident.

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The CROWN album journey is exhilarating, and, much like Eric’s life, winds through moments of victory and vulnerability. Along the way, Eric shares his story and his feelings through the majesty of the blues. He says: “When I play, the core is always the blues, and on this album, we go through a theme park of the blues, exploring all kinds of blues. We visit the carousel, the bumper cars, the water rides, the concession stands, and we all come out with smiles.”

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Biography

Gales picked up the guitar at age four. His older siblings, Eugene and Manuel (Little Jimmy King), taught him songs and licks when he was young, in the style of Jimi Hendrix, Albert King, B.B. King and others. In 1985, the young Gales began to play at blues competitions with his brother Eugene backing him on bass. Although Gales plays a right-handed guitar “upside-down” (with the bass E string on the bottom), he is not naturally left-handed; he was taught by his brother, who is left-handed, and never second-guessed the untraditional technique.

In late 1990, Eric and Eugene Gales signed with Elektra Records, and together with the drummer Hubert Crawford released THE ERIC GALES BAND (1991) and PICTURE OF A THOUSAND FACES (1993). Guitar World magazine’s Reader’s Poll named Eric the “Best New Talent”, in 1991. During this time he had two rock radio hits, ‘Sign of the Storm’ (number 9, U.S. Mainstream Rock) and ‘Paralyzed’ (number 31, U.S. Mainstream Rock)[2] and had spots on television programs such as The Arsenio Hall Show.

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In 1994, Gales performed with Carlos Santana at Woodstock ‘94. In 1995, Gales teamed up with both of his brothers to record an album, LEFT HAND BRAND (released in 1996), as the Gales Brothers. In 2001 Gales released his album THAT’S WHAT I AM on MCA Records. Gales has released the albums CRYSTAL VISION, THE PSYCHEDELIC UNDERGROUND, THE STORY OF MY LIFE and LAYIN’ DOWN THE BLUES on the Shrapnel Records label. RELENTLESS (2010) was followed by TRANSFORMATION (2011) and LIVE (2012).

In 2004, he contributed a cover of ‘May This Be Love’ to the album POWER OF SOUL: A TRIBUTE TO JIMI HENDRIX. In 2008, he and other guitarists participated in the touring tribute to Jimi Hendrix, Experience Hendrix. The touring group of musicians included Billy Cox, Eric Johnson, Chris Layton, Doyle Bramhall II, Brad Whitford and Mitch Mitchell (it was the last tour that Mitchell played on).

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In the winter of 2010, Gales returned to the touring circuit in Europe with TM Stevens on bass guitar and Keith LeBlanc on drums. The tour was billed as VooDoo Chile and featured works of Jimi Hendrix as well as original material from both Gales and Stevens.

In February 2013, Magna Carta Records released the album PINNICK GALES PRIDGEN, produced by Mike Varney and featuring Gales on guitar and vocals, Doug Pinnick on bass and vocals, and Thomas Pridgen on drums. The 13-track album featured one cover song, ‘Sunshine of Your Love’, originally by Cream, one short instrumental based on Ludwig van Beethoven’s ‘Für Elise’, and the remaining songs written by some combination of Pinnick, Gales, Pridgen and Varney. The follow-up album, PGP2, was released in July 2014.

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In 2017, Gales released his fifteenth studio effort, MIDDLE OF THE ROAD, featuring numerous artists, including Gary Clark Jr., Lauryn Hill and others, as well as his own brother and mother. The album became his first to chart on Billboard’s Top Blues Album chart, peaking at No. 4, while Gales’ following album, THE BOOKENDS, topped the chart at No. 1. On May 9, 2019, he won the Blues Music Award for “Blues Rock Artist of the Year”. In his acceptance speech, he said he was celebrating three years of sobriety. In May 2020, Gales won his second consecutive Blues Music Award as the “Blues Rock Artist of the Year.”

On October 21, 2021, Gales released the single ‘I Want My Crown’, featuring Joe Bonamassa. The song serves as the lead single from his latest album CROWN. Produced by Bonamassa and Josh Smith, the album was released on January 28, 2022. The album highlights Gales’ “struggles with substance abuse, his hopes about a new era of sobriety and unbridled creativity, and his personal reflections on racism.” Upon release, it debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Blues Album chart chart, his second to do so.

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Review

Gales is my name, Blues is my game…Hell, it was all here tonight and in front of a packed crowd whose eager anticipation one could sense. He even looked the part with his bright and descriptive T-shirt, brightly patterned guitar and the regulatory heavy gold metalwork. He looked aggressive as he greeted his audience with his name and “any questions?” Alongside are LaDonna Gales on percussion and vocals, J. Lovett on keyboards, with Nick Heyes on drums and Smoke Face (and yes, his masked face did smoke!) on bass.

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https://youtu.be/2Y1Vh4zo88s

An intro instrumental opens the show and accompanies Gales as he joins the band with the loudest welcome you can imagine that almost lifts the roof of this small venue. ‘Smokestack Lightning’ provides the first evidence in vocals and guitar that Gales is a leader in his field. ‘You Don’t Know The Blues’ sees the man in confessional mode and its notable that his vocal is way better sound-managed as he plunders every emotional musical moment before introducing ‘Survivor’ with his sorrowful take on recent mass-murder events in the USA. It’s a hard rocker of a song that generates extra response from his audience.

He continues this sad theme with ‘Thunder (The Storm)’: “How can you love what I do but hate who I am?”. The message is made even more poignant with his wonderful, virtuoso guitar-playing and the powerful but sympathetic backup from his band. LaDonna beautifully fronts a funky sounding ‘Just Take Me As I Am’ while ‘Too Close To The Fire’ from Gales provides another highly emotive musical journey.

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With so many songs from CROWN, it’s fitting that the show should close on its title track, ‘I Want My Crown’ with its explosive rhythm section and introspective message. This was one very special show from one of the blues genre greats who appears to be getting stronger with each album. Live, he generates real audience connection while displaying awesome guitar skills and a voice that travels deep into one’s head. For me, this has to be the performance of the year.

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Setlist

Intro
Smokestack Lightning
You Don’t Know The Blues
Survivor
Thunder (The Storm)
Put That Back
Stand Up
Just Take Me As I Am - Sung By LaDonna Gales
My Own Best Friend
Sea Of Bad Blood
Too Close To The Fire
I Want My Crown

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https://www.ericgales.com/

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