ERIC GALES (produced by Joe Bonamassa) – Crown (2022)

ERIC GALES (produced by Joe Bonamassa) - Crown (2022) full

ERIC GALES is a blues rock firebrand. Over 30 years and 18 albums, his passion for the music and his boundless desire to keep it vital has never waned, even when his own light dimmed due to his substance struggles. Five years sober, creatively rejuvenated, and sagely insightful, Eric is ready for the fight of his career. Aptly, he calls his masterful new album, “Crown“.
And this ‘comeback’ can’t be better. Produced by Joe Bonamassa (a declared Gales’ fan) who also play a solo and co-writes most the songs, “Crown” is a compelling album of blues, hard rock, pop-rock and funk with Gales’ masterful guitar, warm vocals and gutsy emotional songs.
The record is as moving as it is brilliant.

Opening number “Death of Me” is fiery blues/rock, fierce with superb guitar riffs and solos, as you’d expect from Gales. It’s a haunting track, honest and forthright, about Gales looking back to his younger self with insight, accountability and some sorrow. The result is raw power and a statement of truth. His vocals are bold and emotional, better than ever.

“The Storm” finds Gales singing a cappella “How can you love what I do but hate who I am,” a direct question about racism. This album standout is a groove-based R&B tune with horns, guitar and one tight rhythm section. Eric’s vocals are soulful and smooth, his guitar bluesy and just as moving as the lyrics that speak of his experience with the world.

Another standout, “I Want My Crown” features Joe Bonamassa. With a killer rhythm section, this funky tune is about a humorous challenge by Gales to Bonamassa in effort to win the guitarist’s crown. Bonamassa kicks off the guitar battle with these two consummate pros at the top of their game with guitar solos that raise the hair on your arms. Badass. The two of them are having so much fun, you’ll press play time and time again, like I did.

Eric bares his soul on “Stand Up,” a slow beauty. With heartfelt vocals he sings, “People try to treat me like I don’t belong.” His guitar solo is stunning and soulful, but too short! I wanted more. The crack rhythm section locking things down includes Eric Gales (lead guitar, vocals), Joe Bonamassa (rhythm guitar), Josh Smith (rhythm guitar), Michael Rhodes (bass), Greg Morrow (drums), Lemar Carter (drums), J.D. Simo (rhythm guitar), Reese Wynans (keys/B3) and more.

Changing things up is the Hendrix-like “Survivor,” an edgy rocker that urges the need for change. It launches into an uplifting chorus with guitar riffs that are intense, innovative, brilliant. A song of strength and triumph.

Eric Gales makes his guitar cry, shout, and flat out yell with anger, sooth with love and joy. He channels all emotions through his instrument, as if his guitar is a direct line to his soul and spirit. “Too Close To The Fire” is one prime example.
Beautiful and melodic, it’s a mighty track. He fuels palpable anguish into a song that beckons people to understand what it’s like to be in his shoes, walking down the street with ‘the heat’ on his trail because of the color of his skin. With a reference to Mississippi in 1964, this song has tremendous impact, wrapped in blues/rock sinewy riffs and Hendrix-esque rock balladry. A powerful song about racism if there ever was one. And Gales makes it personal. If you’re paying attention, you’ll feel something.

A wonderful surprise arrives with the talented vocalist LaDonna Gales (Eric’s wife) on “Take Me Just As I Am,” a funky soul number with plenty of percussion and horns. Eric talks over the song while introducing his wife.
The album’s last track is the jazzy, slinky “My Own Best Friend.” A perfect way to wrap up the album with an uplifting summary about Eric’s journey from rock bottom to the top with plenty of struggle in between.

Part of what makes ”Crown” so powerful is not just Eric Gales’ virtuosic guitar talents and the album’s supreme production but his openness about his past substance abuse, personal reflections on racism and hope for a positive change. His insights are ultimately moving.

Since 1991, the Memphis-born guitarist has spearheaded a revitalization of the blues with rock swagger mixed with elements of jazz, soul and funk. He was a child prodigy at the age of 16 when he released his debut, The Eric Gales Band on Elektra Records.
Now five years sober, Eric Gales has earned his place among the greatest guitarists in the world. This album is about great songs with meaning. Eric Gales has arrived with Crown.
Highly Recommended


01 – Death of Me
02 – The Storm
03 – Had to Dip
04 – I Want My Crown (feat. Joe Bonamassa)
05 – Stand Up
06 – Survivor
07 – You Don’t Know the Blues
08 – Rattlin’ Change
09 – Too Close To The Fire
10 – Put That Back
11 – Take Me Just As I Am (feat. LaDonna Gales)
12 – Cupcakin’
13 – Let Me Start with This
14 – I Found Her
15 – My Own Best Friend
16 – I Gotta Go

Eric Gales – vocals, guitars
the musicians:
Joe Bonamassa
Tom Hambridge
James House
Keb’ Mo’
LaDonna Gales
Josh Smith
Michael Rhodes
Greg Morrow
Lemar Carter
J.D. Simo
Reese Wynans
and more



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.