Popa Chubby

One Million Broken Guitars

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Over the course of his career, Popa Chubby hasn't exactly grown. Instead, he's found his formula and he's sticking to it, thank you, no matter what anybody else might say. That's probably why he didn't quite cut it as a major-label artist -- there is a market for his competent, muscular blues-rock, just not a large one. That cult audience is the reason why he's better suited for the indies, but on One Million Broken Guitar Strings -- unbelievably, his fifth album (only one was a live effort) -- he's not distinctive enough to be a true cult artist. He turns out amiable post-SRV blues-rock, spiked with a couple of jazz flourishes, and while the end result is enjoyable, it's not necessarily memorable. Even the better moments are usually instrumental highlights, not actual songs, which fade immediately after they're played. Again, it confirms that Chubby is a fine guitarist, but his weakness as a songwriter is beginning to overwhelm him, and One Million Broken Guitar Strings is a testament to this Achilles heel.

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