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Music Review - `Under the Influence ` by Guy Schwartz (gb)


Guy Schwartz - Under the Influence  (click on image to watch video)

26 March 2020

 

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     Guy Schwartz bills his music as classic rock from Houston. But that's like saying the grand canyon is just a big ditch. It leaves a lot of room to maneuver around in, and Schwartz takes advantage of the space, big time. With his band the New Jack Hippies,the singer/guitarist goes on a musical ramble across his home state while picking up influences from every corner of the country.

  “Waltz  Across Texas” has nothing in common with Bob Willis, Schwartz delivering  a old fashioned   country  music style recitation in the tradition of Tex Ritter ( “The Deck Of Cards, “Hillbilly Heaven”) Porter Wagoner (“Skid Roe,) and  Joe Red Sovine (“Giddy  Up Go”.)  But aside from mentioning that he once saw Ernest Tubb in a sweat-stained powder blue Nudie suit, the cut has nothing to do with country music. His vocal has more in common with new wave/stoned avant-garde icon Jonathan Richman (“I'm Straight,” “Government Center”) than any classic country stalwart. The New Jack hippies prop up his spoken word account thundering along behind the guitarist's rocky power chords as he chronicles his musical education gliding across Texas, including an acid-enhanced introduction to Jimmy Page bowing his Fender Telecaster on “Whole Lotta Love,” discovering soul with Sam and Dave, and backstage encounters with Johnny Winter and Tony Joe White before developing his own bag of tricks. 

  Although “Bad Storm Coming” was written about flooding in Houston, where a couple of one hundred year floods have occurred in the last two years, the lyrics can just as easily apply to the current viral lockdown situation:“Better stock up on your supplies/don't let it take you by surprise,” Schwartz warns.“Better take cover/take care of each other.”  

   Schwartz's vocals and tone on “Gotta Keep the Music Alive” have a Van Morrison feel, backed by some chewy twangy Texas-style guitar.

    “Blues Rumble” is a shuffle about a cutting contest with killer guitarists fightin' it out for domination.

    Schwartz channels Mark Knopfler on “Out Of Control,” a Trumpian lament on the current state of affairs under the rule of the Orange one.

     “Two Sides of  A Mountain” is a southern rock anthem that sounds like a classic Marshal Tucker cut. 

   Although calling his original music classic rock may be a bit of a stretch, Schwartz's sound is certainly unique enough to stick in your head, nestled comfortably between your ears, handy to scratch when the itch acts up. 

     

 

Music Reviewer - Grant Britt
Grant Britt ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) has been writing about music since the earth cooled a while back. A staff writer for No Depression, his work also appears in BluesMusic Mag and the Greensboro News and Record

 

To Read All of Grant B's Reviews, Click Here

 

 

 


 

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