Stefan Hillesheim – When I’m Gone | Album Review

Stefan Hillesheim – When I’m Gone

self release

13 songs time – 52:07

German transplant Stefan Hillesheim has a firm and refreshing grip on guitar blues, and a good voice to go with it. He originally came to Los Angeles and now resides in Chicago. He truly shines on slide guitar as well as regular lead. He pays debt to Robert Johnson and Elmore James in four cover songs and his own compositions are strong in the blues tradition. His band of Darryl Wright on bass and Dionte Skinner on drums are important pieces in the sound. Sumito Ariyo Ariyoshi from Billy Branch & The S.O.B.s contributes his piano skills.

The three Elmore James songs-“Done Somebody Wrong”, “The Sky Is Crying” and “It Hurts Me Too” do justice to James while at the same time breathing new life into them. Much the same can be said for his version of Robert Johnson’s “Dust My Broom”.

They hit an infectious groove on the title track “When I’m Gone”, punctuated by his sinuous slide guitar. The funky “My Poor Heart” goes for straight ahead jazzy chording and single string soloing. Their versatility is displayed on the slow, slide infused “The Love I Had For You”. The slow and deliberate “Better Man” concludes with a brief burst of guitar pyrotechnics. A reflection on a domineering significant other is covered in “Always Get To Hear From You” with its’ witty lyrics.

Daryl Wright’s bass interplay with the guitar is a second lead on “Worries, Worries”. His wandering bass lines throughout the recording are intriguing. He rips out stinging blues notes against Daryl’s mighty bass lines on “To Be Loved By You”. Stefan reverts back to his trusty slide for the energetic “On Down The Highway”. His guitar is always superb, but once again the bass gives him a run for his money on “Sick Of Your Love”.

This does an ol’ Bluesdog good. Guy’s such as this truly revitalize the blues and gives hope for the future. His guitar is all over the place. It doesn’t hurt one bit that he employs a sturdy drummer and an octopus of a bass player. If this guy doesn’t achieve greater recognition there is definitely something wrong in the Cosmos. Don’t pass up this shot of crazy blues energy!!!

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