Artur Menezes – Fading Away | Album Review

Artur Menezes – Fading Away

VizzTone Label Group

www.arturmenezes.com

8 tracks/46 minutes

Brazilian native Artur Menezes made a name for himself in Mexico, South America and the UK before settling to America in 2016. His band took third place in the 2018 International Blues Challenge and he won the award for best guitar player in the IBC that year too. Menezes combines an in-your-face style and restraint to give the listener guitar playing of a superior nature to enjoy. Mostly rocking but showing some blues and Brazilian influences, Menezes gives the listener a lot of thrills on his guitar.

In addition to Artur on guitar an vocals, we have Gui Bodi on bass, Lemar Carter on drums, and Kesha Shantrell and Revel Day on backing vocals. Carey Frank is on B3 organ and piano. “Free At Last” features Travis Carlton on bass and Matt Mitchell on rhythm guitar. Zé Leal adds percussion on “Northeast” while Gary Nowak (drums) and Chris Chaney (bass) appear on “Fight For Your Love.” Joe Bonamassa and producer Josh Smith make special appearances as noted below. The album was produced in Los Angeles at Flat V Studios.

Menezes opens with “Fading Away,” a blues rock cut that features some hot guitar work by him. It’s a slick cut that bounces along sweetly. He follows that with “Devil’s Own” which is a darker song about murdering his woman. There are all sorts of dark images presented here. Abusing alcohol to remove the memories of worse actions starts us off and things get darker when we find out what he’s done. The guitar here is plays a huge role in setting the emotions here with big but restrained solos. The backing vocals help build the song to a crescendo before we get taken home in desperation.  It’s very dark yet “Come On” is next, a free-wheeling guitar rocker with Joe Bonamassa making a guest appearance. It begins as a whirlwind romp and then settles into a huge guitar solo that is a big trademark Bonamassa production before returning to the frantic pacing of the song. The next cut is “Northeast,” a big instrumental with lots of guitar to listen to.  This one is also not for the faint of heart as the guitar takes one to soaring heights as Menezes makes his guitar sing. Here he blends Brazilian baião rhythm and rock into Artur’s own sound.

“Fight For Your Love” is a mid-tempo rocker with Menezes again showcasing his guitar work. “Free At Last” has producer Josh Smith making an appearance. The song is mostly an instrumental with some ethereal vocals layering the song title sung over the music. The B3 plays a bigger role but it’s really the guitar that is featured here once again. Funky and slick, it’s a nice six minute ride. He follows that with “Until I See,” a thoughtful piece that is the most bluesy of the tracks. Featuring gospel-like harmonies, it’s a cool song that rises to a crescendo of vocal and musical sounds. The biographical “Green Card Blues” describes Menezes’ influences, life and career that brought him to playing blues in the USA. A throbbing, stomping beat drives the song along and about half of the almost 10 minute song is a display of Artur’s guitar virtuosity.

There is not a lot of what purists would call blues here.  Its rock with heavy guitar on each track. Menezes wrote all the songs and lyrics here and displays good craftsmanship in his work.  There’s lots and lots of guitar licks to savor here; nothing is overdone and he never breaks into out and out pure shredding (which in my mind is good), making his notes on guitar count. If you like guitar and blues rock, then this one’s for you!

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