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Chris Canas - She’s Breaking Me

Self release

11 songs; 48:42 minutes; Splendid

Styles: Contemporary Blues; Soul Blues

Typically artists hate having their music labeled and categorized. Presuming that is also how Detroit and Ann Arbor, Michigan’s Chris Canas feels, I picture him very pleased. As a reviewer, I feel that I need to create a new word or label to describe his third release – one that means “not hard but not soft.” “She’s Breaking Me” with its eleven original songs is the most well balanced CD I’ve encountered in a long while. Between instrumentation and vocals and between upbeat rhythms and slower songs, Canas and his Blues Revolution Band create a wonderful mix.

There are none of the harsh, loud tones nor guitar-hero wanking often associated with CDs on the Rock side of Blues-Rock. But, this is also not “easy listening” music so mellow it should never be played before midnight. An enthusiastic and inspired singer, songwriter, lead guitarist and cornet player, Chris Canas reports that he, “...wants to help keep the "Blues" alive and kicking in the hearts of music lovers by adding a little new with the old. He crosses genres with ease and embraces diversity.”

My first ear-worm that has been stuck in my head all day is the chorus from track four, “Who the Hell Are You.” Lyrically, Canas and co-writer and co-vocalist Angie C. tell a story of a lover changing so much in a relationship that it is as if she has become a stranger whom the narrator asks, “Who the Hell Are You?” Shane Rasmussen carries the slower, sad and heart-breaking mood skillfully on organ while Canas’ guitar adds rhythm and a touching solo at the end. Bassist Kevin Schoepke and drummer Frank Kenny keep the beat and add distinctive nuances.

Never fear guitar lovers, Canas’ first love was blues guitar, and he spent plenty of time in the woodshed. The title track nicely showcases an example of his studied lead guitar licks leading the band’s rave up of sound and emotion on another tale of good love gone bad (and expensive), “She’s Breaking Me.”

The opening track is a great introduction to the well-paced set. “Crank Dat Blues and Drive” is an up-tempo romp allowing each member to stretch, including vocals. It’s a for sure party starter. Across the CD, everything is solid – not a throwaway in the bunch.

Chris Canas’ musical background began as a toddler when his mother took him to his first Jazz and Blues Festival at Hart Plaza in Detroit. While mastering the cornet in the Farmington music program, he quickly fell in love with the guitar and the Blues sounds it could make. The Chris Canas Blues Revolution can be seen blazing a trail in the Metro Detroit area and beyond. Canas up front is a self proclaimed “Soldier for the Blues” and has put together veteran musicians to help keep the Blues alive.

This album was made to pump new enthusiasm into The Blues. Based on the rich traditional roots of the past, Canas and crew can be proud of their product and efforts to soldier on while all around turn to rap.

Reviewer James "Skyy Dobro" Walker is a noted Blues writer, DJ, Master of Ceremonies, and longtime Blues Blast Magazine contributor. His weekly radio show "Friends of the Blues" can be heard Saturdays 8 pm - Midnight on WKCC 91.1 FM and at in Kankakee, IL

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