Review: Lance Lopez – Handmade Music
Posted on: Thursday, Mar 29, 2012
Now firmly at the top of the blues rock tree, here is a superb new album from Louisiana-born, Texas-raised guitarist Lance Lopez, a fine follow-up to the acclaimed “Salvation From Sundown”, and again recorded at the famous Ardent Studios in Memphis, and has legendary producer Jim Gaines at the controls – who has previously worked with Stevie Ray Vaughan, George Thorogood and Santana.
Lopez had road-tested the new songs for about six months whilst touring all over the world, but says that Gaines “took and shaped and moulded the songs even more” – the result being a brilliant 12-track album in the shape of “Handmade Music” that captures his dynamite playing, honed from legends such as Johnny Winter, ZZ Top and Stevie Ray Vaughan . . . basically a blistering Texas guitar blues rock album.
The album gets off to a thunderous start with the ‘hammer down’ “Come Back Home”, reminiscent of classic ZZ Top, from Lopez’s gritty vocal and guitar tone, both recalling Billy Gibbons; the pace is kept up on the grinding rocker “Hard Time”, which rides on a ‘catch as hell’ riff, but with funky undertones. The pace is taken down a little on the more gentle “Let Go”, a mid-tempo rock ballad.
The lengthy “Dream Away” is one of the albums centrepieces, again with some impressive guitar work from Lopez but possibly the best vocal here . . . it’s another in ballad territory, recalling latter-period Aerosmith. Lopez and the band rock hard on “Get Out And Walk” . . . . a pure Texas roadhouse rocker that sorts of blends ZZ Top and The Rolling Stones . . . . telling his lady if she doesn’t like his music and the way he talks to “Get Out And Walk”!
Robert Johnson’s “Travelling Riverside Blues” gets a hard rock treatment here, and is none the worse for it; “Letters” has a somewhat psychedelic West Coast groove to it, with a fearsome wah-wah guitar solo. The album’s sole instrumental, “Vaya Con Dios”, is a showcase for Lance Lopez’s guitar work, but with a Latin edge as the title suggests.
“Can You Feel It?” is another Rolling Stones type rocker that fairly rattles along, with the album highlight left to last . . . . the magnificent slow blues of “Lowdown Ways” as Lopez digs deep with 6:30 of pure class guitar playing that shows he is the equal or better of the opposition in 2012! Highly recommended to anyone unfamiliar with him or for fans of the rockier end of the blues.