Artur Menezes – Keep Pushing
CD: 10 Songs, 38:21 Minutes
Styles: Contemporary Electric Blues Rock, All Original Songs
Brazil’s Artur Menezes is a delightful digital-age cross between Carlos Santana and Rod Stewart. He’s got the former’s spicy musical style and the latter’s hardworking, down-to-earth vibe. His current self-produced album, Keep Pushing, displays this balance perfectly. He may not be an icon yet, but he’s well on his way. He won the Albert King Award for Best Guitarist and placed third in the Band category at this year’s International Blues Challenge. Artur also shared the stage with Joe Satriani recently, performing at a festival in Brazil for a crowd of twenty thousand. His commanding stage presence is telegraphed on the cover photo of his latest release. It’s pitch-black except for minimal lighting of his face and frame, depicting him in shades of gray. Edgy it is, and so are his ten original songs – fantastic examples of contemporary blues rock. Artur can switch moods as quickly and seamlessly as he switches guitar strings, which I’ll prove later. This CD is perfect for a forty-minute car trip, but it’ll leave listeners craving more.
Not only is Menezes fluent in the ways of music, but technology as well. According to his little corner of the Web, Artur was a speaker at TEDx, an annual convention licensed by TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) in 2013. At this event, personalities share their experiences and knowledge in presentations which are broadcast live on the Internet and later released on video. With the TEDTalks accessible to billions of people worldwide, Artur will never lack for an audience, whether at his concerts, at home, on the road, or in cyberspace.
Performing along with our leading man on vocals and guitars are Daniel Aged on bass; Gary Novak on drums; Carey Frank on Hammond organ and keyboards; Jamelle Adisa on trumpet and flugelhorn; Dan Boisey on tenor and baritone sax, and producer Josh Smith on rhythm guitars.
It’s hard to pick the three tastiest selections in this box of chocolates, but these’ll sate one’s appetite:
Track 02: “Keep Pushing” – Not only is this what we all have to do in life, but it’s one of a touring musician’s key job requirements. A Chicago-style thriller, the title track will make traditional blues fans strum air guitar and sing along if they can. “Now I go breaking the rules. Ain’t nobody’s fool. You’re throwing tips in my hat; I can even buy me a flat. I’ve got to keep pushing, yeah…” Put this on your playlist for getting up in the morning if it starts to be a drag.
Track 03: “Come With Me” – Jimi Hendrix fans will love this. Others might not, because it doesn’t fit the pure definition of our favorite genre. Never fear, because a killer guitar solo appears. The first line is hilarious, familiar to boyfriends and husbands everywhere: “I know I’m wrong, but let me talk.” This is a low-down, throw-down growler for barrooms, not nightclubs.
Track 04: “Any Day, Any Time” – Channeling Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Clapton, and other melodic blues guitarists, Artur presents a slow burner that’s perfect for slow dancing. Carey Frank’s understated Hammond provides an atmospheric glow, as does Menezes’ voice. This may very well be the crown jewel of the album, and it should hit Sirius XM playlists pronto.
Blues fans, are the blazing sun and the boss getting you down? Keep Pushing along with Artur Menezes, who knows what it’s like when the heat is on!