Monday, March 3, 2008

Eric Sardinas Revs His Engines With Big Motor

Eric Sardinas And Big Motor
Eric Sardinas And Big Motor
Favored Nations

Review by Nightwatcher

On his 4th album, the long awaited follow-up to 2003's Eddie Kramer produced 'Black Pearls', shows the Los Angeles based guitarist going into more of a southern rock direction while still retaining the elements which have made him one of the most exciting performers on the blues scene today. More organic in nature than the metallic boogie blues which characterized its predecessor, adding elements and refining the sound, it culminates in an album which will satisfy both blues rock fans and classic rock lovers as well.

From the opening picked notes of the dobro which lead into the turbo charged boogie of the Johnny Winter- on steroids like lead off track "All I Need", it's reassuring to know that despite a new lineup Sardinas hasn't changed his method too much. One thing you can expect is plenty of stunning slide guitar, and he delivers it in spades from beginning to end. Adding gospel styled female background vocals here, touches of organ there, it's clear right away that the intention was to expand the overall sound, and in that aspect it succeeds.

In fact, the only misstep throughout to be found is the too slick cover of Elvis Presley's'"Burning Love". Not that it's bad per se, but its polish seems to make it stick out like a sore thumb amongst all the grittiness surrounding it. Most likely this will go over well live, but here it seems too sterile. It's a minor quibble though as the rest of the album remains extremely solid.

Thankfully the album picks up again with the grinding riff rockers "Wonderin' Blues" and "Door To Diamonds" before ending with a quite pleasing southern fried version of Tony Joe White's "As The Crow Flies". Alternating from acoustic passages which wouldn't sound out of place with The Allmans, to slashing Zep like heaviness, you'll leave this one feeling satisfied. Produced and engineered by Matt Gruber, who has previously worked with notables including Yes and Queensryche in an engineering capacity, thankfully the sound is spacious, thereby suiting the performances well.

Down home enough for the blues crowd, heavy hitting for rock fans, this is a release that straddles both camps with ease. Pick this one up, but be sure to go out and check out this mercurial performer live, as Sardinas is without a doubt one of the finest acts touring the circuit these days.

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