The Skills To Pay The Bills

Blues In Technicolor (Urban Electric)
Anthony Gomes Band

By Robert Gruber

Move over Jonny Lang and Kenny Wayne, here comes another young blues contender with the skills to pay the bills. Anthony Gomes comes with stacks of accolades from Chicago's blues aristocracy (named the best unsigned blues band by Buddy Guy's nightclub, Legends) and a band that has performed with the likes of Albert King, Junior Wells, Magic Slim and others.

Of course all that sounds good in a press kit, but where the laser meets the CD, that's what really matters - and while Gomes doesn't exactly expand the blues horizon, he does a pretty good job with the known strata. He's got the gruff vocal thing happening but tempers it with a little bit of soul. Of course he's great on guitar - hey, that's a given (so please don't ask me to break it down into technospeak - riffs, arpeggios, etc., etc. - let's just say he keeps it workin' and he keeps it busy, okay?!).

Lyrically, Gomes (along with Jim Peterik on four tunes) does all originals, exploring the usual five subjects of the blues - bein' happy, bein' sad, cheatin', partyin' and of course, the blues itself - but occasionally he pulls out a hook like "Outta the Cathouse and Into the Doghouse" that hits the mark. The acoustic "Hard Year for the Blues" is a sweet tribute to some of the bluesmen we've lost in the past couple of years, which means that Gomes knows where he comes from. Where he's going will be interesting to see, but for now, Blues In Technicolor is a very good starting point.