One of the most respected and praised guitarists in modern music returns with a monster new album featuring 12 powerhouse blues rock masterpieces! Known for his upside-down left-handed playing as well as his deeply expressive, soulful vocals, Gales draws comparisons to both Jimi Hendrix and blues legend Albert King! Guest appearances by renegade Zakk Wylde (of Ozzy Osbourne and Black Label Society) and master of the Strat, Eric Johnson, make this album Gales most rock oriented release to date!
It is no coincidence that Eric Gales is listed as providing "guitar and vocals" rather than "vocals and guitar" in the credits of The Story of My Life. While Gales is a competent singer, he is an excellent guitarist; what one hears on The Story of My Life and previous Gales releases is really singing in service of guitar playing rather than guitar playing in service of singing. Of course, competent doesn't mean weak or bad – and while Gales' vocal chops aren't in a class with his guitar chops, he has no problem getting his emotional points across on this 2008 release. The Story of My Life finds Gales forming a power trio with bassist Steve Evans and drummer Jeremy Colson; comparisons to the Jimi Hendrix Experience (one of the 1960s' most influential power trios) are inevitable, and there is no getting around the fact that Hendrix is a huge influence throughout this blues-rock/hard rock/psychedelic rock CD.
Middle of the Road is Eric Gales fourth album on Provogue/Mascot label Group after Transformation (2011), Relentless (2010) and The Psychedelic Underground (2007) and it sees him at his most expressive yet; it is a deeply personal and reflective record that echoes where he is in his life right now and he opens himself up and allows himself the chance to really flourish. Middle of the Road is the running theme throughout the record. "It's about being fully focused and centered in the middle of the road. If you’re on the wrong side and in the gravel you're not too good and if you're on the median strip that's not too good either, so being in the middle of the road is the best place to be", according to Eric…
Eric Gales was already guitar wiz at 16 years old in 1991 when his debut album appeared from Elektra Records, and his immense skill and talent have certainly not diminished since. This set, released by Cleopatra Records and produced by Raphael Saadiq, is vintage blues-rock and features guest spots from Eric Johnson and Zakk Wylde.
The blues scene is quite diverse in the 21st century. Some bluesmen are greatly influenced by jazz, some have strong soul and funk leanings, and some are quite mindful of rock. Eric Gales definitely falls into the third category; he has been a skillful representative of muscular blues-rock, drawing heavily on Jimi Hendrix's influence and showing his appreciation of Cream, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Robin Trower as well. The singer/guitarist maintains that outlook on Transformation, which is really more of a continuation than a transformation. The title Transformation implies that Gales is somehow reinventing himself or moving in a different direction, but no, this 2011 release is not a big stylistic departure from his previous recordings.
Eric Gales was hailed as the second coming of Jimi Hendrix when he first hit the blues circuit, an anointment that carries with it impossible pressures, and while Gales is a wonderful guitarist (naturally right-handed, he was taught to play the guitar left-handed, an odd thing, but again, Hendrix-like), he isn't Hendrix, nor will he or anyone ever be. Working out of the power trio format, Gales has more than proven he can play on his many albums, but his voice is average at best, and his songs tend toward the generic, often more like vehicles for guitar leads than actual songs that are crying out to be sung. That's why Ghost Notes is so intriguing, because it's Gales' first all-instrumental album, and therefore it bypasses his weaknesses as a performer and plays to his strengths – the man sure can play guitar.
Eric Gales spent a good portion of his career in the wilderness – chalk it up to a combination of bad breaks and addiction – but he came storming back in 2017 with Middle of the Road, his first album for Provogue/Mascot Records. Peaking at four on the Billboard Blues chart, Middle of the Road brought Gales back in a big way, giving him the confidence to push himself on its 2019 sequel Bookends. Working with producer Matt Wallace – a stalwart of '90s alt-rock who worked with Maroon 5 after spending time with the Replacements and Faith No More – Gales doesn't reinvent the wheel, but he does place a greater emphasis on singing and song than he has in the past. It's a subtle but notable difference, one that helps Bookends feel fuller and sharper than many of Gales' past albums and one that also accentuates the recovery undercurrents that flow through the album.