Real Gone is 23-year-old Texas blues/rock guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter Ally Venable’s fifth solo album. Ally co-wrote all but four of the twelve cuts on the album. Venable first burst on the scene at the age of 16 and since that time with each new album she has matured to the point of sharing the stage with legends like Buddy Guy and Joe Bonamassa. In fact, Buddy Guy appears on the album to contribute his vocals and guitar on “Texas Louisiana” and Joe Bonamassa on guitar for “Broken and Blue.”
Venable co-wrote the opening cut “Real Gone” with Richard Fleming and producer and drummer Tom Hambridge. It’s a rocker with booming vocals and stellar guitar work ala wah wah pedal. Song #2 is a recitation of all the things related to “Going Home” along with some mesmerizing guitar work.
“Mustang top down main street Greyhound
Warming up fire pit backyard first kiss Lord I’m going home”
“Texas Louisiana” is a duet with legendary blues rock axe man Buddy Guy who not only trades off on vocals but guitar licks that hit stellar drive resulting in a great collaboration.
“Blues is my Best Friend” is a traditional sounding blues song that starts out in low gear but accelerates to a screaming electric guitar accompanying Ally’s powerful vocals. “Justifyin’” was written by Tom Hambridge and is a song about injustice and pain in the world beginning with the most basic of relationship violations. Venable’s breathy vocal delivery ascends and is punctuated by her creative guitar work.
“Any Fool Should Know,” which is a slow burning torch song that features Ally’s soaring vocals accompanied by Mike Rojas’ keyboards along with her guitar flourishes. “Kick Your Ass” was co-written by Venable and has great guitar work throughout which demonstrates her mastery of the instrument which is phenomenal as she plays in a variety of styles. The song itself is an indictment against a significant other that pushes the limits of acceptability and is warned about the potential ramifications.
“If I leave tonight I won’t be back
And on my way out imma kick your ass”
“Gone So Long” was co-written by Venable and Hambridge and is a haunting cut that opens with a metallic sounding guitar underlying and blending in with Ally’s plaintiff vocals. “Don’t Lose Me” rocks out with the horn section and is the most R&B sounding cut on the album with a jazzier funk feel to it. “Hold My Ground” starts out with a dominant six string leading into Ally’s seductive vocals punctuated by guitar embellishments ultimately exploding into a solo.
“You can’t erase the damage you’ve done
There’s a price you pay when you hurt someone”
“Next Time I See You” contains some of the best guitar work on the album with a solo that screams its way into the stratosphere. The final cut on the album is “Two Wrongs” which kicks off as a driving rocker with Ally underlying her vocals with her throbbing guitar while singing “Two wrongs don’t make it right,” followed by another explosive guitar solo and a bring the house down conclusion.
The album is an impressive display of undeniable talent as a formidable blues rocker strut’s her stuff. Her guitar work is impressive as she covers a variety of styles to effectively deliver every cut with its own unique sound. If that weren’t enough her muscular vocals are powerful enough to articulately deliver the heart rending lyrics on an emotionally contagious level. All in all it’s a powerful album with twelve excellent songs.
The Review 9/10
– Real Gone
– Texas Louisiana
– Any Fool Should Know
– Next Time I See You
– Two Wrongs
The Big Hit
– Any Fool Should Know