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Music Review - `Under The Influence Vol 2` by Guy Schwartz (ea)

Guy Schwartz - "Under The Influence Vol 2"  (click on image to watch video)

 04 May 2020



Guy Schwartz is a man who wears many hats. He’s a musician, bandleader, songwriter, videographer, music journalist, community activist, and a 2016 Presidential candidate. Born in New Jersey, he began taking piano lessons at age five. By the time he was 10,  his family relocated to Texas and he took up the drums, five years later, he’d switched to bass. 

He began his  career as a session musician in the early ‘70s. For the next 25 years he toggled between a solo career,  playing in bands like Relayer and Z-Rocks, and working as a touring musician. By the late ‘90s he had reconnected with studio wizard Roger Tausz  and the pair formed The New Jack Hippies. All told, Guy has released 25 albums, “Under The Influence Vol. 2” is his 26th.

The 13 song set opens with “Waltz Across Texas” a slightly shambolic, sideways homage to the classic Ernest Tubb tune. Things only get better from there, from the Doors-y groove of “Lost In Time,”  to the Lone Star Blues of “Stepping Stone,” the Cowpoke Psychedelia of “Lonely One” and the Dixie Fried expanse of “Two Sides Of The Mountain.”

The real stand-outs here include the Sticky Fingered climate of “Bad Storm Coming.” “Out Of Control” is a subterranean Surf-Spy combo-platter. “Mac Said” is a rollicking encomium to Big Easy legend Dr. John (ne’ Mac Rebenannack),  that blends fluid piano notes and fluttery brass accents.  “Far Away From Here” seems to channel Texas Garage Band progenitors like 13th Floor Elevators and Zakary Thaks, with a soupcon of  Jimi Hendrix. Meanwhile, “Blues Rumble” brings a cutting contest to life. Over a wicked  12-bar shuffle,  Guy sets the scene; “Up on the stage, each one a master of tone, they studied and learned all the standards, but their own stuff is bad to the bone.” 

The album closes with the slinky syncopation of “Gotta Keep The Music Alive.” 


Music Reviewer - Eleni P. AustinEleni P. Austin - I was born into a large, loud Greek family and spent my formative years in the Los Angeles enclaves of Laurel Canyon and Los Feliz. My mother moved us to the Palm Springs area just in time for puberty and Disco.  I have spent over 40 years working in record stores, starting back in High School.

I wrote music reviews for the Desert Sun from 1983 to 1988. I began doing the same for the Coachella Valley Weekly in 2012.

I live in Palm Springs with my wife and our amazing dog, Denver. 

To Read All of Eleni P.'s Reviews, Click Here



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