Guitar Shorty has quietly become a legend in his own time. But recently, he’s been building a buzz with new fans. It’s nice to see he’s finally getting the recognition he deserves.
While most of the songs on his previous albums have showcased this bluesmaster’s guitar artistry, his latest release, Bare Kuckle, has something for everyone.
Guitar Shorty recently said: “There are only seven blues songs” Well, he’s come up with an eighth! All the tracks on Bare Knuckle showcase Guitar Shorty’s blues-y guitar, backed by excellent studio musicians, but the album branches out with more than just blues. Maybe that’s why it immediately shot up to #3 on the blues chart.
Shorty seems very focused on this album. And, each song offers a different sensibility, from blues to bluesrock, to blue-abilly rock, to other styles, all showing what Guitar Shorty can do at his versatile best.
The lead track: “Please Mr. President” (Lay Some Stimulus on Me) is slated to be a modern anthem, with lyrics that will resonate with people struggling to make ends meet(but done with Shorty’s typical sense of humor).
The album doesn’t just focus on trendy topics, however. Bare Knuckle includes a number of classic blues songs, such as : “You Done Me Wrong” (…you just want money….I just can’t make enough money for you) and “Betrayed.” And Shorty softens to a sexy, blues-a-billy beat for the love song, Texas Woman and steps up the pace on “Get Off.” Bad Memory, showcases Guitar Shorty’s emotional and raw, guitar artistry. “Neverland” shows off a syncopated, Santana-ish vibe. There is so much more to discover on this Alligator Records album, nicely produced by veteran Los Angeles-based songwriter and bassist Wyzard, who also contributes lyrics on some of the tracks.
Guitar Shorty doesn’t just play the guitar, it becomes an extension of him. He makes the instrument bend to his will: making it cry, sing, wail, scream, and talk. And he cries, sings, wails, screams and talks right along with his favorite guitar (“Red”), adding snippets of rap, and chat, and sometimes using his body to play the guitar. When Shorty sings, he’s doing it with every molecule of his body. You can’t mistake his bold, raw, intense, personal, and hard driving style. When you’ve heard Guitar Shorty you will remember his unique sound, forever.
It has been said that no album can capture the raw energy and intensity of Guitar Shorty in person, but this video clip of Guitar Shorty in action, jamming with his new band, at Terra Blues a few weeks ago, is a good start. You see Shorty starting out slow, and by the end of the vid he’s rocking the stage!
Alison Blackman video of Guitar Shorty at Terra Blues, April 2010
Terra Blues in NYC’s Greenwich Village is a fairly intimate place to hear a blues band. At the performance I attended this April 8th, Shorty played a few songs from Bare Knuckle, mixed in with lots of his fan’s, favorites. He did his signature walk around the audience, delighting people by stopping right in front of them and playing…for a bit…before walking to the next table. He manages to do this without missing a bit, while chatting with fans, posing for photos, sometimes dancing, and now and then leaving the venue, altogether (see my photos and reports from the Turning Point on April 17, 2009 and February 28, 2008 . The new band, minus a keyboard player, needs a bit of practice with Shorty and with each other, but they did a credible job and will only get better and better.
Will Bare Knuckle be another award-winning album for Guitar Shorty? My guess is…YES! Visit Guitar Shorty’s web site to learn more, hear more, and get sales points for the songs! Also check out Alligator Record’s Web Site. And visit Alison Blackman’s You Tube Channel to see more Guitar Shorty Videos, live from Terra Blues, plus Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, The Dempseys, and more!