Eric Gales: Crown (CD)(Released: 2022)
Today, with the release of his new album’s title track featuring Joe Bonamassa, blues legend and guitarist Eric Gales takes his rightful place at the head of the blues-rock table as he announces ‘Crown,’ his career-defining new album, out January 28th via Provogue Records/Mascot Label Group. Produced by Joe Bonamassa and Josh Smith, ‘Crown’ finds Eric opening up like never before, sharing his struggles with substance abuse, his hopes about a new era of sobriety and unbridled creativity, and his personal reflections on racism. Five years sober, creatively rejuvenated, and sagely insightful, the songs on ‘Crown’ are delivered with clarity and feature Eric's personal experiences and hope for positive change. This is Eric at his most boldly vulnerable, uncompromisingly political, and unflinchingly confident.
The first single off the album, the slinky “I Want My Crown,’ opens with a fanfare of elegant lead guitar virtuosity before slipping into a funky groove. Here, with playful bravado, Eric sings about finally getting his due while also admitting his self-sabotaging past. Clean and focused with guitar in hand, he eyes the crown and goes for it, battling powerhouse blues warrior Joe Bonamassa in a Rocky-like epic fight. Triumphant horns spur on the excitement as the pair unleash barrages of jaw-dropping blues-shred with each player’s passages feeling like the final fury of a July 4th fireworks explosion.
Eric Gales is a blues firebrand. Over 30 years and 18 albums, his passion for the music and his boundless desire to keep it vital has never waned, even when his own light dimmed due to his substance struggles. Since 1991, the Memphis-born guitarist has blazed a path reinvigorating the blues with a virtuosity and rock swagger that have him being heralded as the second coming of Jimi Hendrix. He was a child prodigy with bottomless talent and fierce determination, and at just 16 years-old released his debut, ‘The Eric Gales Band,’ on Elektra Records. He’s earned high praise by guitarists’ guitarist and household name axe men such as Joe Bonamassa, Carlos Santana, Dave Navarro, and Mark Tremonti. In addition, he has held his own with some of the greatest guitarists in the world, including Carlos Santana at Woodstock 1994, Zakk Wylde, Eric Johnson, and a posse of others as a featured guest touring with the Experience Hendrix Tour.
The story behind ‘Crown’ dates back to the early 1990s when as teenagers Eric and Joe were both hailed as blues wunderkinds and torchbearers. The pair went on to very different lives and careers, but Eric’s full potential was hampered by his substance abuse issues, and in 2009 Eric hit bottom and served jail time at Shelby County Correction Center for possession of drugs and a weapon. Eric and Joe reconnected in 2019, when Joe invited Eric to play with him onstage at a blues cruise encore performance. It was the first time the guys had played live together onstage in 25 years, and it has since been named one of the most explosive guitar duels ever, amassing over 3 million plays on YouTube.
“There was always a brotherhood with us. When we reconnected, Joe said to me, ‘You’re a badass guitarist; it’s your turn to get your seat at the table to wear your crown’,” Eric recalls. Shortly after their iconic face-melting jam, Eric approached Joe to produce him. “We cried when we talked about it, he said ‘you have no idea how long I waited for you, now I am going to do my part to lift you where you’re supposed to be.’”
‘Crown’ finds Eric stepping up to receive his due. The record is eclectic but cohesive. With assured and authentic artistry, Eric conjures the expanse of the blues, rock, and beyond. The record’s 16 tracks play out as 13 songs plus 3 instrumental vignettes—and these little jams are gems. The songs on Crown were co-written by Eric, Josh, and Joe, and feature contributions from LaDonna Gales, and ace songwriters such as Tom Hambridge, James House, and Keb Mo. The album was recorded at Sound Emporium Nashville, and overdubs were tracked at Ocean Way Nashville, and Earthtone Studios in Greensboro, NC.
‘Crown’ was forged in tragedy but rises triumphantly. The day before Eric traveled to L.A. to work with Joe and Josh, he heard the news about the George Floyd murder. “As I began to chat about this to Joe and Josh during preproduction, raw and unnerved emotion came out of me, and Joe furiously scribbled down notes about it all,” Gales recalls. “These songs came from those outpourings. They’re about my life, and what’s happening in the world right now. When it came time to sing, I had to take breaks between vocals to cry and let it out. I was sharing my experiences as a Black man, and my private struggles. This is me letting the world know what I’ve been through.”
The Crown album journey is exhilarating, and, much like Eric’s life, winds through moments of victory and vulnerability. Along the way, Eric shares his story and his feelings through the majesty of the blues. He says: “When I play, the core is always the blues, and on this album, we go through a theme park of the blues, exploring all kinds of blues. We visit the carousel, the bumper cars, the water rides, the concession stands, and we all come out with smiles.”
Eric is touring the country this fall/winter, including a run of dates with the Allman Family Revival alongside Allman Betts Band, Robert Randolph, Donavon Frankenreiter, and more. He has also just released a signature Magneto guitar this month - the Eric Gales Rawdawg II Custom - featuring a 2-piece American alder body, a Canadian hard rock maple neck and an Indian rosewood fingerboard. For addition details and to purchase tickets for his upcoming tour, please visit https://www.ericgales.com/
- Death Of Me
- The Storm
- Had To Dip
- I Want My Crown (feat. Joe Bonamassa)
- Stand Up
- You Don’t Know The Blues
- Rattlin’ Change
- Too Close To The Fire
- Put That Back
- Take Me Just As I Am (feat. LaDonna Gales)
- Let Me Start With This
- I Found Her
- My Own Best Friend
- I Gotta Go