Van Wilks - 21st Century Blues is his first studio release in 10 years, and the wait was well worth it! The 12-track release starts out blazing, continues to add steam, and culminates in an impressive finish that begs the finger to hit the play button again. Joining Van Wilks on this fabulous release are special guests Christopher Cross and Malford Milligan.
Van Wilks - 21st Century Blues
Van Wilks - 21st Century Blues: Strange Girl, Drive By Lover, Golddigger, Just Walk Away, There's A Sin In There Somewhere, 21st Century Blues, Who's Foolin' Who, She Makes Me Crazy, If I Were A Richman, Can't Stop Thinkin', Livin' On Borrowed Time, Midnight Crossing
Van Wilks - 21st Century Blues was produced by Van Wilks and recorded and mixed by Chet Himes on the Texas ‘51 Records label.
Singer, songwriter, guitarist Van Wilks returned to the studio to lay down his first studio release in 10 years, 21st Century Blues. Of the 12 tracks on the release, he wrote 10 songs, co-wrote Drive By Lover with Billy F. Gibbons, and Christopher Cross contributed the song, She Makes Me Crazy.
About the release, Van writes, "The new record is my take on contemporary blues. I have a profound respect for the American masters, and I'm thanking those guys for paving the way with these tunes. This is not a typical "blues" record. This is My Blues and even though the songs jump from one feel to another, the common thread that holds it together is my guitar. It's just that Low Down, Wound Up, Rockin' Texas Blues!"
Asked about Van's guitar prowess, Billy F. Gibbons noted, "Man, the playing technique Van possesses is remarkable! Great style and a very Texas-tasteful approach to a bluesy rock delivery throughout." I readily concur.
Van Wilks and the band lead off with the song, Strange Girl that has a blazing opening with Van Wilks on guitars and vocals, Tommy Taylor on drums and additional vocals, Reggie Witty on bass, and Billy Mason on keyboards.
Next in the line-up is the catchy, Drive By Lover, written by Billy F. Gibbons and Van Wilks, which is one of my favorite songs on the release with its lyrics, "...If seeing is believing, she sure looks good, She got the kinda look that'd make a grown man cry, Believe I'll turn around and drive back by ..." The song features Van Wilks on guitars and vocals, Christopher Cross adding his vocals, Charlie Fountain on drums, Dave Ray on bass, Stefano Intelisano on keyboards, and Billy F. Gibbons: Drill Sergeant. If the song sounds familiar, ZZ Top fans may recall it from an earlier ZZ Top album entitled, La Futura.
Golddigger is another fast-paced song with lyrics that will have you singing along with Van Wilks on guitars and vocals, Tommy Taylor on drums, Mark Epstein on bass, and Billy Mason on keyboards.
Van and the band slow the pace down with the heartfelt ballad, Just Walk Away with Van Wilks on guitars and vocals, Nico Leophonte on drums, Chris Maresh on bass, and Stefano Intelisano on keyboards.
There's A Sin In There Somewhere is pure old-timey Texas Blues with its intricate guitar picking intro by Van Wilks who sings with Lisa Tingle, with Tommy Taylor on drums and percussion, and Mark Epstein contributing some excellent bass work.
The band segues into the title track, 21st Century Blues where Van Wilks shows his prowess on guitars and vocals, with Nico Leophonte on drums, Chris Maresh on bass, and Billy Mason on keyboards.
Who's Foolin' Who features Van Wilks on guitars and vocals, Charlie Fountain on drums, Dave Ray on bass, Stefano Intelisano on keyboards, and Lisa Tingle adding her lovely vocals to Van's.
Christopher Cross wrote the lyrics and music on She Makes Me Crazy, which is a guitarist's dream of a song with the double guitars of Christopher Cross and Van Wilks, Scott Laningham on drums, Andy Salmon on bass, and Stefano Intelisano on keyboards. The song features Malford Milligan who adds his vocals to Van Wilks' for a powerful duo, and Christopher Cross and Van Wilks work their magic on guitars during the long instrumental segments.
Can't Stop Thinkin' is hard-driving, pumping Blues Rock with Van Wilks on guitars and vocals, Charlie Fountain on drums, and Chris Maresh on bass, Stefano Intelisano on keyboards.
Billy Mason lays down a great keyboard intro on If I Were A Richman with Van Wilks on guitars and vocals, Nico Leophonte and drums, Chris Maresh on bass.
Livin' On Borrowed Time features Van Wilks on guitars and vocals, Reggie Witty on bass and additional vocals, and Tommy Taylor kicking up the pace on drums and percussion.
The release closes with the hauntingly beautiful song, Midnight Crossing with Van Wilks on guitars vocals, and percussion, and closes with the voice Maria Estela Raffone as the Mexican Angel whispering in Spanish: "Toma mi mano (Take my hand), Yo te guiare (I will will guide you), Toda saldra bien (Everything will be alright)...)
Websites where you can procure Van Wilks - 21st Century Blues at CDBaby, Amazon, and iTunes.
For information on upcoming Van Wilks performances, please visit: Van Wilks - Gigs.
Follow Van Wilks on Facebook at: www.Facebook.com/VanWilks.9; Twitter: @guitarvan; Instagram: vanwilks
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