Texas is known for a lot of things, but the one of which we're likely most proud (from a musical standpoint) is our wealth of great blues players - enough to have our own subgenre like Chicago, or [Mississippi] Delta blues. Legends such as Lightnin' Hopkins, Albert Collins, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Billy Gibbons are just a few that come to mind, but the list goes on, with new bluesmen steadily coming along.
Enter Lance Lopez. Technically, he's not from Texas, but his sound is well-grounded in the kind of blues that Texas is known for; traditional blues themes and progressions covered in a thick layer of fiery rock bravado. When you see him, he's a formidible person, but hearing him is even more impressive, as his blues chops are undeniable, and they come with an equally energizing voice and personality - seriously, you could power a dozen Chevy Volts on this guy's energy. And being that his strength is as a live performer, it's natural that the production on the album tried to capture that feeling to reasonable success.
But the guitar work on the album is what a lot of people are likely to be drawn to, and while it's good, when it comes to legends like Stevie Ray Vaughan, there is a restraint that adds to the performance that Lopez doesn't always manage here. The album actually starts out with the most blistering solo work on the ZZ Top-flavored Come Back Home (1:21) that's simply too much too fast (particularly for a guy that's been playing live since he was 14), followed by the Eric Gales-ish Hard Time where it seems to fit better. As the album goes on, the soloing becomes more tasteful in places and it's then that you can tell this guy could be the next big thing for Texas blues. If Lance can contain himself a bit - something that perhaps comes with age - he could really be a star.
The Bottom Line: Lance Lopez is poised to be another in a long, proud line of estimable Texas bluesmen with more talent than the state has highways. If you haven't heard of him by now, you need to check out this album and get on the bandwagon.
Tracks to Enjoy While Ordering a Few Ice-cold Longnecks: Get Out and Walk, Your Love, Black Cat Moan, Lowdown Ways
- Genghis really wants to plug in to his Stratocaster and let 'er rip...