Eric Gales at Antone's
with Jake Andrews
THURSDAY · JANUARY 11, 2018
Doors: 9:00 pm / Show: 9:30 pm
“I feel the most free I’ve ever been in life, even more so than when I was a kid…you gotta help yourself man, once you can help yourself you can genuinely help someone else.”
— Eric Gales
You want the blues? “Unfortunately you have to go through some things to be free”, says Memphis born Eric Gales. “Now, I feel the most free I’ve ever been in life, even more so than when I was a kid”, he opens up. “You gotta help yourself man, once you can help yourself you can genuinely help someone else.”
The title of his new album Middle of the Road is the running theme throughout the record. “It’s about being fully focussed and centred in the middle of the road. If you’re on the wrong side and in the gravel you’re not too good and if you’re on the median strip that’s not too good either, so being in the middle of the road is the best place to be.”
Middle of the Road is Eric Gales fourth album on Provogue/Mascot label Group (Joe Bonamassa, Beth Hart, Black Stone Cherry, Warren Haynes, The Robert Cray Band, Robben Ford, Eric Johnson, The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band) and it sees him at his most expressive yet; it is a deeply personal and reflective record that echoes where he is in his life right now and he opens himself up and allows himself the chance to really flourish.
It’s well documented that Gales was a child prodigy and heralded as the second coming of Jimi Hendrix when he released his debut album The Eric Gales Band in 1991 as a 16 year old on Elektra Records. It was the first of 10 albums on a major label through a blistering career. He has released 14 studio albums in total ahead of Middle of the Road and a host of other collaborations, one of which led him to work with producer Fabrizio Grossi (Alice Cooper, Joe Bonamassa, Billy F. Gibbons, Ice T, Leslie West, Slash, Walter Trout, Steve Lukather, Steve Vai, Paul Stanley, Supersonic Blues Machine).
Talking about working with Eric, Fabrizio Grossi offers; “I’ve been a fan of Eric since I first worked with him 15 years ago on a project with George Clinton & the P.Funk. His tone and his playing was wicked. Personally and musically Eric grew into a ‘monster’, a really good one and he’s set on a path of huge success with a ‘taking no prisoners’ type of attitude! I know a very few musicians with such a musicality and Eric is right there a head of the bunch. I hope fans will dig. There’s lots of love, tears, sweat and “truth” in this record, which is what classics are made of. As far what I think about him: Eric is simply Miles Davis’ and Jimi Hendrix’ love child, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.”
Recent years have seen an array of musicians singing the praises of Eric Gales. Dave Navarro (Jane’s Addiction – Red Hot Chili Peppers) exclaimed that “How Eric Gales isn’t the hugest name in rock guitar is a total mystery”, modern blues icon Joe Bonamassa said he is “One of the best, if not the best guitar player in the world”, whilst Mark Tremonti (Alter Bridge) said in a Classic Rock Magazine interview (Oct 2016) that “me and Myles [Kennedy] were on the bus looking up clips and we ran into some Eric Gales clips and we were just like ‘this guy could be the best player on Earth.'”
Talking about the accolades he is starting to receive he humbly adds;” It’s absolutely great, I’m grateful to see the recognition for the work that God has allowed me to continue to progress with. It’s beautiful to see the recognition to be finally coming and in the proper way, unlike times where I was engaged into heavy addiction, where it wasn’t such good publicity, but to see it be changed around, it’s a great turn of events.”
This refers to the time he spent in jail serving at the Shelby County Correction Center in 2009 for possession of drugs and a weapon. Elaborating he adds; “While I was in there all the officers and guards were like, ‘bro you know this isn’t where you’re supposed to be. When you get out of here, go take the world by the horns and ride it all the way out.’ It took a couple of years after but, I’m here.” Whilst he was incarcerated he was able to play shows, for the Mayor, the city and festivals, his own version of Johnny Cash Walk the Line.
This is where Middle of the Road finds the rebirth of Eric Gales. A new album that has seen him more free than he’s ever been and on the biographic songs you take this journey with him. Along the way he brings in not only a host of guest and collaborators, but also those closest to him; Lauryn Hill, Gary Clark Jr, Eugene Gales, LaDonna Gales, Lance Lopez, Raphael Saadiq and Christone ‘Kingfish’ Ingram.
“When I say the world will hear about it, you’ll see what I mean when you hear the record,” he says. “This record is going to take me everywhere that I’ve never been, and everywhere I’ve ever wanted to go.” Eric Gales
Born and raised in Austin, Texas, Andrews began playing guitar at age 5, taught by his father, John Andrews of the 60's Roots Band Mother Earth. Since the age of 8 he has been trading licks with and opening for such masters as Albert King, B.B. King, Albert Collins, Buddy Guy, Otis Rush, and Jimmie Vaughan, starting at his hometown's legendary club Antone's. By his early teens he was wowing audiences and fellow musicians at such premier blues venues as B.B. King's in Memphis and Los Angeles and Slim's in San Francisco. He has performed at major festivals such as the San Francisco Blues Festival and Madison Blues Festival with Ray Charles. Andrews has been featured on CBS, Austin City Limits, Guitar Player, Texas Monthly and Vintage Guitar among numerous other publications.
By the age of 17, Andrews was signed with Jericho Records, a Warner Brothers/Sire subsidiary, and began working on his debut album in Los Angeles. In 1999, he released 'Time to Burn" with producer John Porter (Los Lonely Boys, BB King). Billboard Magazine stated, «Time to Burn's mix of guitar pyrotechnics, fiery vocals and powerful new songs confirms that Jake Andrews is already blazing new paths with the torch he's been passed.» The first title single scored a Top Ten Rock Radio hit. Andrews earned the award of «Breakout Rock Group» in 1999 by R&R (Radio and Records). The record was supported with a national tour with artists including the Allman Brothers, The Doobie Brothers, Susan Tedeschi, Boz Scaggs and George Thorogood.
Livin' in the Grave, released in 2011, is the new recording and fourth solo release by Andrews. It is a mix of high intensity rock instrumentals, heavy guitar-driven riffs and powerful, soulful vocals. Songs include the hard-hitting title track anthem Livin' in the Grave, the droning epic Solid featuring seven-time Grammy-winning guitar legend Eric Johnson, the melodic ballad Easy to Come By, a high octane instrumental High Flyin' and the Zeppelin-inspired riffs of Love in Me. All of the songs are originals and were recorded in Austin, TX.
Solid is an instrumental track that Johnson first heard when he and Andrews played a show together at the House of Blues in Houston. When Andrews asked Johnson to make a guest appearance on his album, Johnson suggested he play on that track. The 8+ minute song is a hypnotic mix of Jake's driving riffs with Eric's incredible layering of rhythm and lead work on top.
Kelly Donnelly, Johnson's engineer at Saucer, recorded Solid as well as all of Jake's overdubs. He mixed the entire record at his studio, Studio Plush. Donnelly also engineered Eric's latest record Up Close on Capitol Records/EMI and mixed by the legendary engineer and producer Andy Johns (Led Zeppelin, Free, Rolling Stones).
The rhythm section on Livin' in the Grave includes bassist Chris Maresh (bassist with Johnson in his Alien Love Child project), drummer Bryan Austin (Santana, Monica) and keyboardists David Boyle (Bob Schneider, Alejandro Escoveda) and Arlan Oscar. Vocalist Brian Andrew Lee layered background vocals.
Andrews is featured on guitar on the solo album by Paul Jones released 2009. Paul Jones is known to many as the singer of the British Invasion band Manfred Mann. The Jones album also features the legendary Eric Clapton on guitar on two tracks. One reviewer says, «Andrews is going to awe guitar freaks....his mastery of tone is impressive and he easily slides between hard, roadhouse blues to classic funk...to soul». He is also featured on the upcoming follow-up Paul Jones solo release recorded early 2012. Be sure to look for it soon!
In 2006, Andrews joined Guitar Shorty on his Alligator Release «We the People» accompanying the legendary bluesman, and former brother-in-law to Jimi Hendrix, on the album. The album won «Album of the Year» at the WC Handy awards in May 2007. Andrews hit the road with Guitar Shorty in the summer and fall of 2006 for a full US and European tour.
In 2002 Andrews released his second self-titled solo album on the Texas Music Group label produced by Carla Olson (Joe Louis Walker, Otis Rush, Mick Taylor) and recorded at Willie Nelson's Perdernales Studio. In 2008 Andrews released a third solo album «Feelin' Good Again» full of original material and produced by Andrews and bassist Mike Sconce. Andrews enlisted drummer Alvino Bennett (Stevie Wonder, Bryan Ferry, Dave Mason) and Michael Ramos (John Mellencamp, Los Lonely Boys) on keys.