Chris Duarte Group

An artist’s lifetime is sometimes dictated by the heights they reach, the reaction they register or the body of work compiled during their working years. Chris Duarte is certainly making a case for his body of work he’s producing. With the release of My Soul Alone, Chris Duarte is still reaching for new ground while also throwing out some of his best blues work to date. The maturity in the phrasing and melodic statements are a far cry from the early raw days of his first few releases. This could only be achieved through relentless roadwork that allows Chris to ply his trade and to work and rework melodic ideas. “I can practice all day in my basement but it’s a totally different ballgame when I get on stage. More of a physical dynamic is the currency I trade in when I’m playing live.” Even though Chris is in the studio, I can hear him getting more physical while there.

With Lucky 13 he delivers a strong dose of pyrotechnics in a collection of 14 original tunes. This is his seventh CD on the Shrapnel Records/Blues Bureau International imprint, home of several crossover guitar masters, including Leslie West, Rick Derringer, Eric Gales and Pat Travers, and, not coincidentally, the 13th in his extensive catalog. It features a heavy dose of blues with the same strong, searing psychedelic, rock and jazz overtones that fans have come to love since he emerged from San Antonio, Texas, moved to Austin in the mid-‘90s and ascended to prominence following the death of Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Recorded at Count’s Desert Moon Studios in Las Vegas, Duarte delivers all the material here in his normal power trio alignment, aided by John McKnight and Kevin Vecchione on drums and bass. Buckle your seatbelts for the deluge of riffs that begin with “
You Know You’re Wrong.” The song is delivered from the point of view of a man whose woman is gone for good. It begins mildly enough with a blues jam feel, but quickly erupts into a solid six-minute flurry of six-string magic complete with a strong Jimi Hendrix feel. It includes a rapid-fire run of single notes that will have many less skilled guitarists shaking their heads in disbelief.
The rocker “Angry Man” leads into “
Crazy For Your Love.” The pace slows and the riffs become less frenetic as Duarte yearns for the love of a woman in this loping, Texas-flavored blues. The sound changes dramatically for “Who Loves You,” delivered with a Texas-meets-California feel established by T-Bone Walker and Gatemouth Brown. Duarte’s fretwork here is the closest you’ll hear to old school, and it definitely rocks in the best possible way. “Here I Come” is a bluesy pop song in which Chris playfully makes fun of his looks, but insists there’s “No stop-stop-stoppin’ me, ‘cause here I come.”

Fans of extended burning slow blues will be particularly interested in “
Let It Go,” a nine-minute showcase of Duarte’s ability to deliver sweet, sensitive runs amidst the fury of fretwork on previous tunes. In this one, he urges an ex-lover to release him, stating that he can’t make it in life while she still “owns the keys to me.” Rock blues dominates “Man Up” before the rhythm section lays down a solid rhythm pattern and Chris jams out “Not Chasing It” with Frank Zappa overtones.
Layered atop a hard, funky beat, “
Weak Wheels” sings the praises of the legendary muscle car, the Shelby Cobra, before Duarte returns to his Texas roots with “Ain’t Gonna Hurt No More.” The three-tune “Meus Via Vita Suite” – “Let’s Go For A Ride,” “Minefield Of My Mind” and “Setting Sun” – is a progressive rock-blues opus that goes from pop to progressive to ballad format, harboring back to music of the psychedelic era, before Chris adapts John Coltrane themes for the concluding blues shuffle instrumental, “Jump The Trane.”

Always interesting, never boring. It’s blues. It’s rock. It’s something else altogether. But it’s solid throughout. Duarte doesn’t disappoint as he continues to redefine the power blues trio idiom.

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Chris DUARTE - Guitar, vocals
John McKnight - drums
Kevin Vecchione - bass




SRS Records

Released to SRS Records’ Studios June-September 1986, Austin, Texas.
Tropic Joy / Jody / Opus 12 / Prodigal Son / Can Opener
Raedawn / Hard Luck Boy / Sweet Sweet Lady

Silvertone Records

Released to Bad Animals Studios March/April 1994, Seattle, Washington.
My Way Down / Letter To My Girlfriend / C-Butt Rock /
Just Kissed My Baby/ Shiloh / Scrawl / What Can I Do? /
Big-Legged Woman / Borrowed Love


Silvertone Records

Released to Sound Emporium and The Battery - Nashville, Tennessee, and The Metalworks - Toronto.
Cleopatra / Crimino / The Thrill Is Gone / Drivin’ South / Catch The Next Line/ Tailspin Headwhack / People Say / Crazy / .32 Blues / Walls

4x3: EDGE(1999)
AeroLiner Records

Released to World Axis Recording studio in Austin, Texas.
Brand New Day / How Long / For The Rest Of My Life /
Leave Her Be

ZOE/Rounder Records

Released to World Axis Studio May 2000, Austin, Texas.
Baddness / Brand New Day / All Night / Metaphor Song / Free 4 Me / How Long / Paper Dolls / Metaphor (acoustic) / Azul Ezell / Watch Out / Duarte e Ezell (Opus 1 No. 3)

ZOE/Rounder Records

Released to Sweet Tea Studios February 2003,
Oxford, Mississippi.
Do The Romp / 101 / Fire’s Gone Out / Like Eric / My, My / One More Cup/ Bb Blues / Last Night / Mr. Neighbor / Take It To The Lord

Blues Bureau International

Blue Velocity is a record which aptly showcases many sides of this brilliant artist in the context of high energy blues-rock with moments that bring to mind legendary artists as diverse as Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix and Eric Johnson. Duarte has made the kind of guitar-driven blues record that fans have been waiting for.
Amy Lee / Do it Again / Hard Mind / Something Wicked / I'll Never Know / Sun Prairie Blues / Never Gonna Change / R U 4 Real? / Out in the Rain / Leave Her Be / Met My Match

Blues Bureau International

Blues Bureau International

Blues Bureau International

Shrapnel Records

Shrapnel Records / Blues Bureau International

LUCKY 13 (2014)
Blues Bureau International

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