Sunday, June 23, 2024

Chris Duarte Ain’t Giving Up!

Texan blues-roots guitarist Chris Duarte’s 15th studio album, Ain’t Giving Up, is out now Provogue Records, as is hislatest single, ‘Gimme Your Love’.

The breezy blues shuffling ‘Gimme Your Love’ calls to mind the deft touch of the late Jimmy Reed – You can check out the video to it right here at RAMzine.

Featuring a wide range of outlaw blues, Americana, roots, and even alt-country influences, Ain’t Giving Up finds the Austin, Texas guitarist teaming up for the first time in 22 years with producer-guitarist Dennis Herring, also known for his work with artists like Buddy Guy, Modest Mouse, Elvis Costello, and The Hives. But the resulting album isn’t a calculated return to roots affair. Recorded live on the studio floor with vintage gear and minimal overdubs, it’s been described as “a raw and revved-up showcase for the virtuoso’s jaw-dropping chops; his mastery of the elusive Texas shuffle; and his deep love and commitment to the blues.”

Duarte dropped his sophomore album, Texas Sugar Strat Magik in 1994, and went on to win the highly coveted Best New Talent in Guitar Player’s Reader’s Poll, and he finished fourth in the magazine’s Best Blues Guitarist category, behind legends Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy and B.B. King. He would go on to issue a string of critically-acclaimed blues, blues rock albums, and experimental fusion-tinged albums.
Ain’t Giving Up siphons from the same spirit as Texas Sugar, but unique to itself. The album was tracked live as a trio with Texas Sugar drummer Brannen Temple, but it also features a rhythm machine with some raw, looped beat patterns Duarte plays over, much like the same funky groove stylings as on J.J. Cale’s iconic 1971 album Naturally. “This album explores a wider spectrum of musicality,” said Duarte. 

The guitarist, singer, and songwriter came up as a force to be reckoned with in the 1990s Austin, Texas roots and blues scene. He rose to prominence in the wake of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s passing, and was noted for his muscular playing style; his jazz and rock n’ roll-infused blues solos; and his command of the Texas blues tradition. Since those early days, Duarte has carved his own niche through a series of beloved blues flavoured albums, and a calendar of more than 150 dates a year that includes performances billed as Chris Duarte and as The Chris Duarte Grou. In both of these contexts, Duarte has headlined major festivals and clubs throughout the US, Canada, Japan, and Europe.

Ain’t Giving Up is intimate and gritty, but also boasts pristine fidelity. It’s a reset for Duarte that shows his resilience and his undiminished love of the blues and American roots. “I am so grateful to be signed to Provogue and to work with Dennis again – It’s been a dream come true,” Duarte enthused. “I have been so fortunate to play music and do my thing for almost 30 years, and I couldn’t ask for a better life.”

Tracks featured are:Nobody But You’, ‘Big Fight’, ‘Bye, Bye, Bye’, ‘Can Opener’, ‘Gimme Your Love’, ‘Come My Way’, ‘Half As Good As Two’, ‘Lies Lies Lies’, ‘Ain’t Giving Up On Us’, ‘Look What U Made Me Do’, ‘The Real Low Down’ and ‘Weak Days’.

You can order Ain’t Giving Up by clicking here.

Last month, Duarte released Half As Good As Two as a single, about which he remarked:
“While Beth and I were throwing around ideas for songs, she sent me a sound recording from her phone that had the basics of ‘Half as Good’ and I was admiring the simplicity of the song.” The lady he refers to being Austin based songwriter Beth Lee. “She originally called it ‘Half As Good As You’. “Beth and I finished writing the rest of the song, and when I went into the studio to record, Dennis Herring our producer started to like the word play and double meaning of replacing you with wwo. We liked the coyness of it and so we put it down.” Prior to that was the album’s lead single, a super-charged Allman Brothers-style riffy blues-rocker, ‘Nobody But You’ – You can check out videos to them all here at RAMzine.


Paul H Birch
Paul H Birch
RAMzine Senior Writer - Writer of fiction, faction and fact, has edited several newsstand magazines. He declares himself a hack for hire but refuses to compromise on the subject of music.

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