9 tracks/38:51 minutes
Adrian Galysh brings a lifetime of experience to his new album. He first started grinding his axe when he was twelve-years old, and his influences range from Randy Rhoads, Peter Gabriel, and Eddie Van Halen to classical composers such as Arvo Part and Carl Orff, as well as the new Age music of Vangelis. An in-demand session player, he’s performed or recorded with, among others, Rob Beach, Robben Ford, Dweezil Zappa, and Carlton.
Joining Galysh on Into the Blue are Kacee Clanton on vocals—on six of the nine tracks—Joey Heredia on drums, and Paul Loranger on bass; Andy Najera lends saxophone on “Messin’ with the Kid,” and Alan Okuya delivers organ, Wurlitzer, and piano on five tracks; Carl Verheyen serves up some tasty lead riffs on “Messin’ with the Kid,” while Johnny Hiland does much the same on the classic “Further On Up the Road.”
The album’s opening song gives us a taste of the forceful musical power to follow. “Let Your Hammer Ring” may as well be called “let your guitar sing,” as Galysh delivers his powerful lead riffs and commanding vocals. He’s firmly carving a blazing rock and roll path with his stinging leads, and he follows heads with authority down this path on the songs that follow.
“Messin’ with the Kid” is a delightful, tongue-in-cheek, throw-down-the-gauntlet tune that features a Steve Miller Band-like chorus punctuated by Galysh’s lightning riffs. “Unloveable Me”—penned by Galysh and Clanton—delivers a slow burn of regret over a lost, or impossible, love. The structure recalls “Nobody Knows You (When You’re Down and Out),” the song that follows this one on the album. Clanton’s smoky, sultry, sad vocals can’t hide their power, and Galysh’s aching lead runs on the bridge reply to Clanton’s plaintive vocals. It’s a perfect call-and response song, and in many ways it’s the best song on the album. Galysh and Clanton’s version of “Nobody Knows You” can’t rival the Derek and the Dominoes version, but Clanton’s vocals provide the highlight of this song and this entire album; it’s hard to imagine some of these songs without her throaty pipes.
What would it sound like if Black Sabbath played the blues? “The War,” another Galysh-Clanton tune, gives us our answer. Yet, the Black Sabbath would never be able to equal Galysh’s crisp, burning, clean guitar, and Clanton’s soaring and soul-stirring vocals. If we had only these two songs from the pair, we’d have an almost perfect EP; they make a magic here that’s hard to match. Galysh moves toward the close of the album with the classic “Further on up the Road,” and he showcases his ability to run the frets in the service of the song. It might have been nice if Clanton had added her voice to this one, too.
Into the Blue carries us across the great divide and into the stratosphere with Galysh’s never-waste-a-note guitar playing and Clanton’s passionate and robust vocals.