One of the greatest gifts that an artform like Music in its entirety possesses, is that of allowing any listener to romanticize about it, by associating to the power of Music a moment in time in their lives that has a personal meaning. Naturally, a different one to everybody. But whatever said meaning is for any of us, there is something about the intensity of music, any music, no matter the genre. It might be a question of arrangement, uplifting bridges and choruses, the strength and passion emerging from vocal deliveries, fierce guitar solos or an artist's very personal songwriting that resonates with something happening in our personal lives at certain stages.
When it comes to intensity and its application to music, very few artists are able to express their devotion and unconditional dedication to it, that includes also a certain amount of physicality, more than the Texas-born Blues/Rock guitarist and singer/songwriter Chris Duarte, somebody that "feels" music through his own skin, even at the cost to have his fingers bleeding on stage, when he plays guitar, for the strength and athleticism that Duarte puts into his guitar playing.
Chris Duarte is one of those highly skilled artists that has always loved the idea of being not necessarily identified or labeled to one genre, throughout his remarkable career to date but to have instead a total freedom of expression, when it comes to make music. Although coming from one of America's Blues state capital like Texas, Duarte has reversed his love for music not only to the Blues, perhaps his greatest and most loved genre but also to Jazz, Boogie and Rock, as his many collaborations with different artists like Omar And The Howlers, Indigenous and Bobby Mack or his on and off Chris Duarte Group project amply demonstrate.
Now at the age of 60, Duarte might have looked back at a time, in 1994, when a fabulous album like his Texas Sugar/Strat Magik earned him the appreciation of the worldwide press, declaring the American guitarist and singer/songwriter as fourth Best Blues Guitarist in the world, just behind living legends like Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy and B.B. King. In fact, when it comes to play the Blues, Duarte is most certainly second to none, when it comes to guitar playing and his brand new album, called Ain't Giving Up, confirms it beautifully.
Ain't Giving Up is a highly interesting album, which is entirely recorded live in studio as a trio, with the sole addition of a rhythm machine with looped beat on which the American artist layered some really powerful and technically remarkable guitar solos.
Naturally, the Blues runs strongly, within the album's track-list. Songs like Half As Good As Two, Come My Way, the instrumental Can Opener and especially Ain't Giving Up On Us can just start to describe the fabulous artistry of a natural talent like Duarte, a talent that reflects also in the artist's singing skills in songs like Gimme Your Love, Bye, Bye, Bye and in the stratospheric album closer Weak Days.
Duarte's Blues guitar playing style has got tinges of Chicago, Memphis and New Orleans Blues written all over the artist's songs, included in his brand new album. But the San Antonio-born artist shows much more than Blues, on a rather excellent record like Ain't Giving Up. There is the sound of the Louisiana Boogie in songs like Lies Lies Lies, Look What You Made Me Do and Bye, Bye, Bye, there are layers of Funk in the Rock-infused song Big Fight (lyrically, among the best songs of the album too) and snippets of Roots/Rock in songs like Come My Way and The Real Low Down.
Ain't Giving Up marks a very welcomed return to a more Blues-y infused sound, from the American artist, a genre where he most certainly excels and where he is also able to showcase his many talents as a music artist in their full beauty. Another excellent step forward for Duarte towards the peak of the Mount Olympus of Blues and Blues/Rock music of this century.
Ain't Giving Up is out now and it can be purchased via Mascot Label Group / Provogue