John D’Amato – Born Blue:The Sun Sessions | Album Review

johndamatocdJohn D’Amato – Born Blue: The Sun Sessions

TruBlu Records

14 songs time-62:59

John D’Amato is another in the long line of blues-rock guitar hot-shots where the strong suit is not in the singing and song writing departments. Perhaps his confidence in his guitar skills gives him a false sense of his ability as a singer and songwriter. Guys like this would be better off trusting somebody else that is more capable of handling that end. It’s a shame because he is a monster on the strings. To be fair his gruff “singing” does work on occasion. He sounds like a frog with a frog in his throat. His skill on his guitar does tend to make his singing easier to digest. His various drummers and bass players are all very capable of supplying the necessary foundation for his guitar excursions. The two keyboard players add nice touches here and there.

“Two Dollar Dress”, a song about getting by on less shows off his energetic slide guitar work. Everything pretty much gels on this number. The backing of organ and bass on “Soldier Of Love” are almost a direct lift of Edgar Winter’s “Frankenstein”. That’s meant as a compliment. It fits like a glove as John’s guitar skidders all around like a Whirling Dervish. The obvious rhymes do get a bit awkward. In “Blues Man” he states “I’m a blues man”. A blues-rock man, ok. He once again spews forth a plethora from his guitar. At the songs’ end he says “Like Muddy Waters, like Howlin’ Wolf”. Not.

His slide zooms all over the joint on “Helicopter Blues”. The guitar playing on “Same Dog” sounds like a bluesy Albert Lee. “Never let the same dog bite you twice”. The organ playing of Dan Nadasi(?) is a nice foil to John’s meticulous soling on “Lovin’ You”. The tune also features some solid-as-a-rock bass playing. The lyrics on “Chicken Blues” are a bit lame, but after hearing that scorching guitar goodness, all is forgiven.

He recounts being afflicted with a condition called Coarctation of the Aorta at birth, where the lack of oxygen through his body actually caused him to be “Born Blue”. The song is an acoustic change of pace. Gracefully soaring guitar propels a song about his religious faith, about Jesus, “My Only Friend”. The guitar builds to a energetic conclusion. Lauren D’Amato shares vocal duties on “Live Without Me” and does a bang up job. The multi-tracked guitars on “True To The Blues” are actually a close approximation of Les Paul’s guitar style along with John’s personal touch. The guys get funky on “Walk My Way”, the guitar playing owing a debt to Mark Knopfler.

Ok, I know this is an over used cliché, but his voice does grow on you eventually and his guitar playing is a joyful thing to experience. All the songs are original, a little outside assistance could improve the situation. If you are a fan of inventive and energetic guitar playing, there is much to enjoy here.

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