Born in Memphis, southern blues man Eric Gales aka Rawdawg, is back with Middle of the Road, which is his sixteenth album and he’s collaborated on countless others. A true professional and child prodigy, (he released his first album at just 16) Gales has been around the block enough times to give a tour.
The album includes a lot of hard work and sweat from Aaron Haggerty (drums), Dylan Wiggins (B3 Organ), Gales’ Wife LaDonna (All backing vocals), Maxwell ‘Wizard’ Drummey (Mellotron on Repetition), with Gales himself providing all lead vocals, guitar and bass.
“Good Time” is the type of song that requires your Sunday best. It’s a gospel blues song with a classic call back structure that epitomizes the southern blues that gales has not only personified, but helped shape. “Change in Me (The Rebirth)” adds a touch more rock but keeps just a whisper of the gospel, especially in the backing vocals added by Gales wife LaDonna. “Carry Yourself” brings in the funk, lays it down thick, and asks you what you think your gonna do about it. Gales wrote “Carry Yourself” with Raphael Saadiq and confesses upon reflection that the song is actually about his wife. The next original track on the album is “Been So Long,” which is an upbeat track with almost a ska rhythm to the guitar. Lyrically it’s my favorite track on the album. It speaks to the desire in all of us to be home.
Gales gives back to the younger generation with his next track “Help Yourself,” which features the guitar styling’s of 16-year-old Christone Kingfish Ingram. And he even goes back to his roots and to the man who taught him to play the guitar as just a boy, his older brother Eugene for “Repetition,” which has a groovy sound instrumentally and yet the lyrics drive the track forward powerfully.
On the softer side, “Help Me Let Go” is like a prayer set to music. A request to a higher power to let go of all the baggage that holds us back from going down the road to our purpose. The album ends with “The Swamp,” an instrumental number that leaves you wanting more and more.
The Review: 9/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– Change in Me (The Rebirth)
– Carry Yourself
– Been So Long
– Good Time
The Big Hit
– Good Time
Review by Jeremy Schantz