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David Gerald - Hell and Back

David Gerald Enterprises

10 songs; 55:41 minutes; Meritable

Styles: Contemporary Blues, Blues-Rock

2008 – 2009 – 2010: We are now in the third year of The Great Recession. While signs of recovery are emerging, as every economics student knows, jobs are always the last to recover. Job recovery is especially difficult when the economy undergoes a periodic, “fundamental” shift like we have had this time. Accordingly, David Gerald wrote in his debut CD’s “Hell and Back” title track, “He had a job at the factory. But it ain’t coming back / (And daddy didn’t count on that).”

As a resident of Detroit, where his Mississippi father moved the family so they would have a better chance at the American dream, Gerald is perfectly positioned to write “Hell and Back,” about desperate times. “I held a boy that was crying today. He was at the place where he plays. He told me daddy is usually gone. And at night momma leaves home.... the neighbors - They say his momma’s on the street (Just trying to make ends meet). (Chorus) She’s been through Hell and Back / She’s got a baby, and that’s a fact.” Gerald plays all the studio instruments creating an ominous mood to match the heart-breaking lyrics.

Now in his 40s, Gerald has produced a half and half CD – five studio originals interspersed with five covers recorded live with his band. His 1980s Rock influences are apparent, and it is also apparent that he is a quality musician and fair songwriter with solid vocals.
Gerald started playing guitar at the age of 16 influenced by Prince and 80s Rock guitarists.

He rediscovered the Blues and listened to music like Albert King, ZZ Hill, B.B. King, and, especially, Stevie Ray Vaughan. Gerald performed in many local Blues, R&B and Rock bands cutting his guitar and vocal chops live and in person. Along the way, Gerald learned to play guitar, bass, keys and drums which was invaluable in putting a band together for the next gig.

Times may be tough, but there is joy to be found playing his guitar Gerald explains in the opening upbeat song, “My Guitar.” The song is an amazing full production, with horns and everything. The lyrics are not deep, but they don’t need to be in a number dedicated to exuberance and fun.

The other three originals (“How I Feel,” “Postman,” and “Stay”) tap the emotions of pursuit, seduction, delivery, love, and comfort. The third track (“...Feel”) has a distinct Stevie Ray Vaughan sound to it.

The choice of his live covers is curious. While some artists go to great lengths to find obscure songs to perform, Gerald chose arrangements of well known tunes including “The Thrill is Gone,” “Red House,” “I’ll Play the Blues For You,” “She Caught the Katy,” and “Cold Shot.” He is audibly encouraged by the boisterous applause of the audience, but sometimes the channeling is practically note for note with the original. On others, like “...Thrill...,” Gerald does some long soloing and improvising on guitar. Again, the live audiences seem to love it.

Overall, I thought the album was enjoyable and entertaining. The title track was particularly moving, and it didn’t hurt me to be reminded of two monsters on guitar: Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix.

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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