Tuesday, June 15, 2010
No More Promises reviewed by David Stine
Electro Glide Records
12 tracks/50:081 min.
My default thinking when I receive a CD to review the displays a Stratocaster prominently on the cover is, urgh, here we go again, another Stevie Ray Vaughanabe. Downstater (IL) Jimmy Warren’s CD, No More Promises displays a Stratocaster prominently on the cover. However, rather than the over-the-top, I can blow you away attitude of many Strat players, Warren’s tone is closer to Gary Moore and with this collection of slow to mid-tempo songs, his emphasis is on fluidity over being a note factory. Warren wrote and produced all the songs on the CD and his band adds just the right amount of support--no show offs here. Rhythm guitar chores are handled by John Digregorio; bass by Mike Boyle; and drums by Charles Price. Warren sings, plays lead, sometimes Hammond B-3 and bass.
One of Warren’s ongoing themes is money troubles. “Watermelon Money,“ song one, is about trying to support a woman in the manner she’s accustomed to on “watermelon money.” Warren finds himself a “Mean Mistreater” on song two. Yes, Warren is not the most clever song writer but he does avoid overused blues stories. Song three, “I’m Gonna Love You,“ borders on an anthem and is reminiscent of Clapton’s “Wonderful Tonight.“ The instrumental “Darker Shade of Grey,” contains a lot of “Albatross” era Fleetwood Mac. Warren’s use of the humbucker on his Strat most of the time produces a thick tone so favored by British blues guitarists Warren seems to have heard. Back to Warren’s playing: on headphones you can hear him play every note, even when doing fast runs, Some players get so cluttered that the notes bleed into each other and it becomes noise. Thank you Jimmy Warren for avowing this pitfall. Bob Margoling guest on slide guitar for Warren’s “It Ain’t Fair,“ yet another song about working for the man who makes all the money. At number five this song is the first song that’s not slow-to moderate tempo. Warning--Jimmy you may have lost some reviewers by this point--mix it up! “Standing In My Shoes,“ again, brings in the plight of the worker whose job has been outsourced. It’s and SRV-type shuffle but much appreciated at this point in the near-bogged-down disc. Warren slows a bit for the title track, “No More Promises.“ The final four songs remain in the moderate to mid-tempo ranges. The closing song, “Send me On My Way,” will sound most like the blues to most listeners.
Warren doesn’t have the strongest voice or the most clever writing skills, but he seems to know his strengths and those are arranging and playing tasty guitar. If you’d like to hear a less-caffeinated Gary Moore, you might want to check out Jimmy Warren. I was surprised in a pleasant way by Warren’s approach to modern day blues with emphasis on guitar that won’t send you looking for a harmonic CD. Recommended. And he’s local folks!
Reviewed by David Stine