Fourth Coast Entertainment -

By John Berbrich
FCE Staff 

Resolution Blues (2015) Chaz DePaolo

CD Review

 

Last updated 7/30/2016 at 7:33am | View PDF

Chaz DePaolo Resolution Blues

I always think of Chaz DePaolo as one of those constantly-on-tour bluesmen, playing slashing electric guitar, singing his heart out, and whipping audiences into a frenzy. Resolution Blues is different, as DePaolo trades in his electrified axe for an acoustic guitar. But he still plays and sings the Blues, although a number of these songs have an improvisational Jazz feel, played in the structure of traditional Blues chord sequences. In regard to the Jazz element, I'm thinking primarily of Robert Chaseman's sweet wailing sax, particularly on the opening number, "A Love So Strong."

DePaolo steps out of the spotlight on this recording, leaving room for his bandmates to shine. That would be Clifford McComas on drums, Hank Kaneshige on bass, Prestine Allen on piano, and David Biondo on harmonica, plus the aforementioned saxman Robert Chaseman. They all know what to do-chugging away on the beat and the rhythm, sprinkling piano and honking harmonica in the gaps. DePaolo himself plays a staccato rapid-fire percussive acoustic guitar-and he sings from the heart. The focus here is not on his guitar virtuosity-dazzling though it is-but rather on the words and the stories behind the lyrics. DePaolo grew up in a tough neighborhood in northern New Jersey. He's been through a lot; in "Scars" he sings, "Scars make us who we are," and there's a lot of truth to that.

Much of the Blues is played up-tempo, none of that liquor-soaked crying stuff. And there's another type of song that I might call Loose-Limbed Texas Highway Music. I'd rank "Broken Tales," "Gunther 414," and "Share" in this category. Each hustles along and each could at any moment break into a ZZ TOP stomp or a Stevie Ray Vaughn guitar blitz. But Chaz plays it cool, strumming that acoustic, spicing it up with sharp little runs. I should mention too that DePaolo wrote all the songs, both words and music, plus the arrangements.

 

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