Raw-edge authenticity

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Score one for the butt-rockin’ blues.

Guitarist-vocalist Gary Moore has been stirring up big blue waves for a while now, and this, his most recent release, makes clear why. Moore has just enough raw edge in his voice to make you believe he knows a bit about what he’s singing. It’s not the kind of raw that sounds forced in the attempt to sound authentic. I don’t know him, so I can’t swear to whether that edge is the real thing or whether he’s good at faking it. But if he’s faking it, then he needs to be in Hollywood.

As for the guitar, Moore produces the type of screaming, raw tones that match his voice perfectly. Since some of the best guitarists I’ve heard tend to model their solos after a voice, making their guitar talk rather than just spit out notes, this is a compliment. When Moore’s fingers squeeze out the notes, you can hear that he’s thinking about what he’s trying to communicate rather than just trying to thrill and amaze with technical wizardry, even though his technical skills are impressive.

Furthermore, Moore wrote most of the songs on this CD himself, and they tend to be the best pieces. Moore demonstrates an ability to stretch from the electric growl that characterizes most modern-day blues to the beautiful “Picture of the Moon,” a gentle number that has great love song lyrics to match the heartfelt moan that characterizes the rest of the song. The man is good.

Keith A. Owens is a Detroit-based freelance writer and musician. E-mail him at [email protected].

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