Wednesday , May 29 2024

Chris Duarte Group – Romp

With guitars and their wielding very much on my mind, I tossed the new Chris Duarte Group (Duarte, John Jordan – bass, Ed Miles – drums) CD on the player and let it rip, er romp.

Romp is the hairy, Band O Gypsies-clad, Austin-based fret-feeler’s fourth album, and if you want to hear to what extremes Texas blues-based electric GEEtar can go, this is the disc for you.

The most astonishing track is the very first, Junior Kimbrough’s “Do the Romp,” a distorted, snarling, stomp through Mississippi Delta psycho-blues with Duarte wringing his beloved Strat for every vicious overtone Leo Fender gave it. At what point does juke joint blues become monstrous grunge rock? After Duarte inhales to begin “Romp.” The Black Keys would be proud to claim this one.

Next, Duarte modulates the distortion, emphasizes the percussive, sinewy Fender tonality, and riffs, trills and wah-wah’s his way through an overt instrumental Hendrix tribute, “101.” Frank Marino, Robin Trower, Steve Ray or any of the other Sons-O-Jimi got nothing on Duarte.

With Duarte in a tributary mood, he does an uncanny Eric Johnson, a fellow Austonian on “Like Eric,” complete with closed-wah tone and end-of-measure connecting runs. Duarte would appear to have the ear and the technique to be the Rich Little of electric guitarists (in the manner of Chris Spedding’s “Guitar Jamboree”).

The huge decaying sonics of “Romp” returns for “My, My,” as Duarte grooves slow and hard over a tough trip-hop beat, vocals distorted to match the ominous mood. He busts out unnatural roaring and squealing worthy of Dinosaur Jr. as the track lumbers away. Yowsa.

Making a sharp turn toward the mythic, Duarte, whose smallish, thin voice is the only chink in his armor, tackles Dylan’s “One More Cup of Coffee” (also done brilliantly in the ’70s by an obscure British group, Nutz) gamely in a coiled, brooding shuffle tempo that shows off his mastery of a stinging, clean-toned, reverbed lead style – a brilliant chameleon.

“B-flat Blues” shows off Duarte’s best Vaughan brothers, T-Bone Walker, Texas blues shuffle, and the final three tracks show Duarte in a reflective, bluesy light with the emphasis more on his voice and songcrafting than guitar, a brave but diminished choice.

In all, a bounty for electric guitar fans and a deeply satisfying musical experience.

The band is on tour through the end of the year, check them out live:

9/13 – SHOOTER’S – Lake Jackson, Texas
9/18 – ROMEDIO’S – Dardanelle, Arkansas
9/19 – NATHAN P. MURPHY’S – Springfield, Missouri
9/20 – JUANITA’S – Little Rock, Arkansas
9/21 – BROADWAY ST. OYSTER BAR – St. Louis, Missouri
9/23 – THE MAGIC BAG – Ferndale, Michigan
9/24 – GILLY’S – Dayton, Ohio
9/25 – BLUES STATION – Columbus, Ohio
9/26 – WILBERT’S – Cleveland, Ohio
9/27 – MOONDOG’S – Blawnox, Pennsylvania
9/30 – KC’s RIB SHACK – Manchester, New Hampshire
10/1 – MILESTONES – Rochester, New York
10/3 – STEPHEN TALKHOUSE – Amagansett, New York
10/4 – THEODORE’S – Springfield, Massachusetts
10/5 – B-BAR – Niagara Falls, New York
10/6 – RAM’S HEAD – Annapolis, Maryland
10/7 – KCLINGER’S TAVERN – Hanover, Pennsylvania
10/9 – WILD WING – Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina
10/10 – DOUBLE DOOR – Charlotte, North Carolina
10/11 – DARWIN’S – Marietta, Georgia
10/24 – RICK’S – Tyler, Texas
10/25 – FIESTA GARDENS – Austin, Texas
11/1 – DR. ROCKIT’S BLUES BAR – Corpus Christi, Texas
11/6 – GRAND EMPORIUM – Kansas City, Missouri
11/7 – THE BYPASS – Joplin, Missouri
11/8 – THE LEGACY – Aurora, Missouri
11/10 – ZOO BAR – Lincoln, Nebraska
11/11 – BLUES ON GRANDE – Des Moines, Iowa
11/12 – NORSHOR THEATER – Duluth, Minnesota
11/13 – FAMOUS DAVE’S – Minneapolis, Minnesota
11/14 – THE MUSIC BOX – Omaha, Nebraska
11/15 – ELECTRIC PARK BALLROOM – Waterloo, Iowa
11/17 – SLIPPERY NOODLE – Indianapolis, Indiana
11/20 – SHANK HALL – Milwaukee, Wisconsin
11/21 – LUTHER’S BLUES – Madison, Wisconsin
11/22 – CHORD ON BLUES – St. Charles, Illinois
11/28 – IRON HORSE – Wichita Falls, Texas
12/13 – CACTUS MOON – Humble, Texas
12/31 – GRAND EMPORIUM – Kansas City, Missouri

About Eric Olsen

Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen flung himself into the paranormal world in 2012, creating the America's Most Haunted brand and co-authoring the award-winning America's Most Haunted book, published by Berkley/Penguin in Sept, 2014. Olsen is co-host of the nationally syndicated broadcast and Internet radio talk show After Hours AM; his entertaining and informative America's Most Haunted website and social media outlets are must-reads: Twitter@amhaunted,, Pinterest America's Most Haunted. Olsen is also guitarist/singer for popular and wildly eclectic Cleveland cover band The Props.

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