The new solo album from Lance Lopez has been three years in the making, but it's built on a lifetime's worth of experience. Lopez's gravelly vocal opens the album with the declaration that “nothing' worth having, ever came easy to me.” The
record is forged from semi-autobiographical trials and tribulations of a life in music: the highs, the lows, the pain, the joy stretched out on a dusty highway with us sticking our thumb out to join the ride. Lopez has grown into his sound over his raspy tenor and smooth guitar playing allowing him to carve his own identity. His masterful cover of Mr Lucky elevates Lopez to Godlike status, rightfully standing shoulder to shoulder with the giant's of the genre: Hubert Sumlins, Johnny Winter, John Lee Hooker, Buddy Guy, BB. King, all of whom play a part in his sound.
Down To One Bar is an addictive anthem about life on the road and wounded pride. It's hard and heavy blues-rock, layered with southern blues tones, and plenty of heart and soul. Cash My Check brings up some traditional blues swagger Rolling Stones style. Blue Moon Rising takes things down with a sweet nod to Hendrix and offering a softer side to Lopez's onstage bravado. The Real Deal is a suave yet upfront track about being honest and true to yourself – a theme which underpins the album. Angel Eyes of Blue is a gutsy Dear Jane letter to love gone bad. It's sassy and raw, gutsy and soulful and communication of emotion this is something that Lopez always delivers in his music.
Produced by fellow Supersonic Blues Machine member Fabrizio Grossi the album may be straightforward blues, but just like their side project, it's executed with such precision that it never gets dull. The thunderous rock arrangements, soaring guitar work and tasteful harmonica honking, acts as vital supporting players to the blistering vocal that leads the show.
The album may have taken three years, and lots of blood, sweat and tears to get there, but as a body of work that sets out Lance Lopez's roadmap to a destination of blues glory; by the quality of this work he has well and truly arrived.
Groupie Rating 4/5