Independent release Red Eye Blues is the eponymous debut from a West Coast blues-rock outfit led by guitarist Johnny Lisi and vocalist T. Gunn. Lisi and Gunn are joined on this 1995 recording by drummer Mike Kent, bassist Sandy K. Vasquez, keyboardist Patrick Rettig, harp player James Bradshaw, and saxophonist Kevin Brennan. Each musician does a competent job soloing and supporting the compositions penned by the duo with tight, pocketed performances. Despite the listing of influences like Buddy Guy and Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown within the liner notes, Red Eye Blues sound more like reformed rockers than musicians brought up on traditional American blues, jazz, and Cajun music. That's not to say that the guys can't play or sing, but there are more than a few hard rock influences hiding not so far beneath the group's musical exterior. Gunn sounds more like Paul Rodgers than a real blues man, and the band's rhythm section has trouble getting behind the beat (a dead-on rock musician giveaway.) While the blues is certainly a learned skill, rare is the rock ensemble that possesses the combined life experience and musical influence to actually pull off authentic renditions of America's greatest art form. With passionate vocals and sturdy musicianship, Red Eye Blues do as good a job dispensing pseudo-blues as can reasonably be expected.
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