David Julia – Inspired
Vizztone Label Group – 2018
11 tracks; 42 minutes
At just 17 years of age David Julia has already been playing guitar for ten years, has competed four times at the IBCs, counts the likes of Bob Margolin as a friend and now has Mike Zito producing this CD. David is based in Florida but this album was recorded in Texas. David wrote six tunes and there are five covers of songs by artists who have inspired him, hence the title of the album. David is on guitar and vocals, Matthew Johnson on drums, Lonnie Trevino Jr on bass, Elliot Keys on B3 and Lewis Stephens on piano; Mike Zito duets on guitar and vocals on one track.
The album opens brightly with “Hey There Sally” which bounds along with a tricky riff over Elliot’s organ work before David cuts loose with a complex but controlled solo, all in just over two minutes. “Sunshine Boogie” is equally short and sweet as David adds some country picking to Matthew’s fast-paced drums, the only instrumental on the album.
The pace drops for a slow blues in which David professes his undying love “If Only” she would be his, Elliot playing some delightful gospel organ and David showing a sure touch on guitar. David’s vocals and edgier guitar style on “Don’t Get Me Goin’” suit the song well. Album closer “You Don’t Need No Shelter” has a laid-back country style with David and Mike Zito on acoustic guitars as they share the verses and harmonize on the chorus. The other original “Throw Me A Rope” is track 2 on the album but to this reviewer’s ears seems inspired by Pink Floyd with its slow pace, heavier feel and dramatic lyrics about drug use and despair.
The covers include songs by guitarists who have played in Florida and influenced David: JP Soars, Albert Castiglia and expat Brit Matt Schofield are all based there. JP’s “Something Ain’t Right” has a theme of needing to help those less fortunate than ourselves. Played over a thumping riff, David adopts a slightly deeper voice for this one, perhaps a nod towards JP’s own vocal style. Albert’s “Keep Her Around Too Long” is excellent with Lewis’ piano featured as David sings this one well over a jagged beat. Matt’s jazzy shuffle follows on lyrically from Albert’s song as David suggests that if the relationship is over it is best to make a “Clean Break” as he plays some really good stuff in the solo.
David is a fine guitarist but, inevitably at such a tender age, his voice is still developing. The other two covers are a case in point as his vocals seem a little too ‘formal’ for Tab Benoit’s “Nice And Warm” though a sympathetic version of the late Michael Burks’ “Empty Promises” works well with some rousing guitar over warm organ support, David double-tracking his solo over his own rhythm work to great effect. Indeed, the biggest compliment is that after hearing David’s version I wanted to get out Michael’s original – inspiration in reverse!
There is plenty to admire on this disc which shows a young man who must surely have a great future in the blues. The CD is therefore well worth a listen.