Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Tony Campanella Takes It To The Street With Some Tasty Guitar Driven Blues

Tony Campanella is a guy who's paid his dues playing the blues. For decades he's played the music he learned as a young child. The blues scene in St. Louis has truly been blessed to have Tony as one of their standard bearers over the past two decades. Tony is an artist who can easily reach a larger audience. And thanks to his debut album via Gulf Coast Records, he's about to do just that.

The title track to the album, "Taking It To The Street", is the first song you'll encounter on this robust collection of blues rockers. The vocals and playing are reminiscent of Robin Trower, Walter Trout and even Stevie Ray Vaughan. "One Foot In The Blues" sets a dark powerful tone with deep, rich guitar fills that will jolt your speakers with fluent, melodic energy. This is an album that is for the fan of a more muscular blues sound. Again, if you had a rock format that valued this kind of music, Tony would be the perfect invader.

His soloing on "Pack It Up" will have you bobbing your head in approval. "Those Are The Times" keeps the mojo running with a slowed down burner ballad and another sweet guitar solo. Tony's band is up to the task without cluttering or obscuring what is some mighty satisfying guitar work. "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl" is one of the oldest blues songs in the traditional canon and has been covered by countless artists. Tony does some nice contemporary remodeling on the track and again scorches the strings and sings with swagger. "Texas Chainsaw" might be the most experimental track on this album. A greasy, swampy, and at times psychedelic showcase for Campanella's guitar canvas.

"Checking On My Baby" brings the set back to a more contemporary sound and certainly would be a great song to release as a single. "Mr. Cleanhead" is a comical tale of how Tony lost his hair. The song has some meat to it as the guitar work is stellar and gets more intense as the song rolls along. "My Motor's Running" is a sweet little number which fits perfectly on any blues rock playlist. "You Don't Know" has a great funky guitar riff that is augmented by these magical solo fills and then a big bold string bending rampage drenched with Walter Trout emotional intensity. Just awesome.

The collection ends as it started with a straight forward blues rocker called "Finger On The Trigger". Overall this is a nearly perfect blues record. It rocks. The playing is seasoned and confident. The vocals elevate the music and certainly compliment some of the finest guitar playing you will encounter on any record this year. Tony Campanella has broken through with one of the strongest blues records of 2019 thus far.

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