Guitar Pete

Burning Bridges

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Burning Bridges is a pretty apt title for Guitar Pete's incendiary solo debut. The artist keeps his namesake instrument blazing throughout the record, which essentially amounts to 43 minutes of gloriously shameless showboating. Pete is not a particularly talented vocalist; his booming, throaty bass is well-suited to the blues, but it would hardly earn him a recording deal on its own. On some tracks, he seems to give up entirely on the idea of singing, resorting instead to shouting the words rhythmically. Two of the album's best tracks ("J.B. Shuffle" and "Chillin'") are instrumental tunes that allow the guitar to wail for itself in a smoldering tizzy of dexterous showmanship. The album's sound is remarkably three dimensional for a three-piece band (Guitar Pete is joined by Anthony Bernardo on drums and Marc B. Gilman on bass guitar) playing a series of more or less run-of-the-mill Chicago-style blues songs. That's because Pete's fretwork is so dense and multi-faceted, letting more than a little '70s jam band influence to crash his ostensibly traditional blues party. This is particularly true in his explosive take on the familiar blues-rock tune "Mustang Sally" and in the smoky rhythm and blues number "Do You Hear the Rain." Burning Bridges is not a brilliant album; it has no pretensions to greatness. It is simply straightforward showmanship and as such it's a pleasure.

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