After a two year gap since his latest release (Keep Pushing, 2018), several gigs around the world, and a Clapton’s Crossroads gig in 2019, L. A. based bluesman Artur Menezes releases Fading Away. In spite of the difficulties imposed by the pandemic, Artur says that the instrumental parts of the album were recorded before the lockdown, except for the vocals, that were recorded in the midst of the quarantine. According to him, this was the main challenge in the recording of the new album, either because of moods changing and the imposed necessity of delaying the release (initially scheduled for August).
The first song is a self-titled track, a soulful dive into blues rock mixing elements like powerful riffs, smooth backing vocals, interludes, and amazing guitar solos. “Devil’s Own” can be properly called a ballad, but with a strong cadence, very well done solos, and an impressive story told through the lyrics. Joe Bonamassa is Artur’s guest in “Come On”, a high-voltage rock track where the main guitar riff pulls throughout the song with such energy only balanced with the highly inspired fuzzy solo.
“Northeast” is an instrumental track where Artur brings elements from his homeland of Brazil. It’s inspiring how Artur can easily insert in a blues rock song instruments like a triangle or even emulate violins, bringing a perfect climate for a “baião”, traditional rhythm from the northeast of Brazil. In “Fight For Your Love”, the paced riff and rhythm are interspersed with bright interludes and guitar solos.
“Free At Last” is a blues-jazz song, a well-known territory for Josh Smith, who performs on the track and produced the album. The dissonant double-stops and chromatic guitar solos permeate through a nice main theme. In “Until I Can See” we can feel the smoothness of a joyful guitar standard progressively getting strength aside from impressive backing vocals and keyboard lines. The proper blues of this album is “Green Card Blues”, a testament-song that Artur uses to tell his story, passing through all kind of hurdles until that he could plainly play his music in the US.
Fading Away is the album that puts Artur’s stamp on blues rock music. It’s a mature and balanced album, always keeping the guitars in the spotlight, something he did in previous albums, too, but this time he explored new resources and approaches, as well as guitar tones, which are extremely awesome. After building a solid foundation with his previous albums, Fading Away is a milestone, an album that can move Artur towards a larger stage in the blues rock scene.
The Review: 9.5/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– Fading Away
– Devil’s Own
– Come On (feat. Joe Bonamassa)
– Until I Can See
The Big Hit
– Devil’s Own