Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

TOM PRINCIPATO

A PART OF ME

2011-03-07

Washington DC based guitarist and vocalist Tom Principato has a forty year plus career and jam-packed resume to his credit. With more than a dozen solo discs and stints with everyone from Geoff Muldaur to Big Mama Thornton, Sunnyland Slim and guitar virtuoso Danny Gatton, one would think he’d be on cruise control by now contentedly rehashing old blues chestnuts. But that is hardly the case. This new disc finds him in possession of a full slate of original material and surrounded by musical royalty including Chuck Leavell (Rolling Stones) on keys, Sonny Landreth on guitar, Wayne Jackson (Memphis Horns) on trumpet, Willie Weeks (Eric Clapton) on bass and a solid core band of fellow DC musicians. Of course new tunes and hired talent don’t mean anything if the music just fills space. From the first wailing notes and hot-wired guitar duel with Sonny Landreth on "Don’t Wanna Do It" there is little doubt that Principato is still playing for keeps and has no use for recycling tired old riffs or letting his guests do the heavy lifting. He also has no use for musical ruts. The horn-driven "Part of Me" sounds like a lost soul classic, while "Back Again & Gone", "Down the Road" and "Stranger’s Eyes Pt. 2" are inventive, jazzy instrumentals that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Lee Ritenour or John Scofield disc. "Down In Lou’siana" is a hard-chugging rocker with second line grooves propelled by Leavell’s greasy b3 and Principato’s dazzling fretwork: his solos before the last chorus and on the fade out are pure electric guitar bliss. "Sweet Angel" sounds straight out of the Clapton songbook circa 461 Ocean Boulevard or No Reason to Cry due in no small part to Principato’s vocals which sound uncannily like Slowhand throughout this disc. This is a terrific disc from a musician deserving of wider acclaim. Smitty

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

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