What happens when guitar prodigies grow up? They lapse into mediocrity, like everyone else. But not Eric Gales. After being signed by Elektra records at the tender age of 15, completing two LPs with The Eric Gales Band, and a third (Left-Hand Brand) on House Of Blues Records, Gales returns with That’s What I Am.
At 25, Gales has redefined himself as a singer, songwriter, and guitarist with depth, intensity, and fresh ideas. The title track erupts with the words, “I am the voice of my generation.” The in-your-face guitar riffs and in-the-pocket grooves signal something novel and inspired. Yes, the blues is here, but it has evolved. Leaving the music different than when you came upon it was supposed to be the plan. Gales follows this tradition where others fail.
That’s What I Am is a stylistic gumbo of modern influences and old school blues funk rock. Ferocious solos up the yin yang, with gospel-inflected vocals throughout. The songs are strong, and tell us that Gales has had some heavy experiences worth writing about. This is evident on the radio-friendly “She Shines,” while “Down Low” and “Blue Misty Morning” explore a darker side.
In a time when much contemporary music sounds trite and vacuous, Eric Gales serves up something hip, heavy, and meaningful on this enjoyable musical package. He may have even created his own subgenre – hip blues rock.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Nov. ’01 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.