Rising Up is the fifth album by the Tampa-based blues rocker Alex Lopez. When listening to Alex Lopez’s music one thing is certain: you can figure out how committed he is to expanding the genre. Musically, the album brings all the requisites expected on a blues rock record, like powerful guitar riffs, solid bass lines, and firm drum beats. But listen carefully, you can also notice how Lopez and his band, The Xpress, had concerns about the songs themselves. In recent interviews, Lopez shared his thoughts about the challenges imposed on musicians because of the pandemic, especially club musicians, like him. This is the side that he exposes in this album, what he really is, a club musician struggling to keep doing his music, in the midst of all the craziness.
“Light It Up” and “Paradise” were previously released as singles. “Paradise” has all the credentials to be the highlight of the album, as a positive harmony, full-ranged vocals, and an interlude that connects all the parts of the song. The self-titled track has a nice guitar riff, also sustained by the bass throughout the song. It’s a very well-produced song, with good insertions of choirs and Hammond. “Not This Time” is a ballad a la Gary Moore, with soulful solos and breakdowns. The piano lines give a jazzy touch to “I’m Always Wrong”, as well as the Hammond solo. “Even Up The Score” is a blues rock where Lopez shows all his skills on soloing a guitar, including shredding and string-skipping.
Another good surprise is “Anymore”, which has a pop approach that changes completely the mood of the songs with some slide guitar sounding in the background. Not that blues rock is a burden to be carried on but “Mountain Rain” is definitely a relief. It’s a short acoustic act worthy of being included in a movie soundtrack. The chords are clear and bright, the vocalization and rain effects take the listeners to another dimension. In “Falling” and “Blues In My Groove”, as the name suggests, the groove is the main ingredient combined with captivating guitar riffs. “Smile” is a love ballad where the keyboard lines go throughout it, mixing with clean guitar solos.
On Rising Up, Lopez covers several shades of the blues, showing all his versatility owned by a skilled club musician acquainted with how to please the audience. But Lopez does it with attitude, with a true devotion to the blues, especially the blues rock.
The Review: 7.5/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– I’m Always Wrong
– Mountain Rain
The Big Hit