Somewhere in guitar heaven James Marshall Hendrix smiled when Greg Sover approached Billy Cox about recording “Manic Depression”. He likely shed a tear of joy when Cox, who is the last surviving member of Band of Gypsys, suggested “Remember” a rare track from the Are You Experienced recordings accompany it on Sover’s 4th album, HIS-STORY. To say Hendrix is an influence on Sover’s musical aspirations is a colossal understatement. It can be heard throughout Sover’s original eight tracks that comprise the rest of HIS-STORY.
“Freedom, Pt 2” and “Song 28” reflect a Hendrix signature in Sover’s guitar work. “Living on the Edge” brings a retro rock sound to the mix. Make no mistake, Greg Sover is not just another Hendrix mimic. He is the product of multiple influences that fashion his work. As he put it “SRV influenced my music, Jimi my guitar playing, Jay-Z my Lyrics and Bob Marley with staying true to myself and being socially conscience”. This comes together in “Dark House” a haunting track that grabs you out of the gate and my personal favorite. “Stuck in the Rain” brings a more classic blues rock sound that adds a nice touch to the playlist.
HIS-STORY also carries Stover’s lyrical prowess. “Freedom, Pt 2” has a reflective social message ‘Is Freedom mine, is freedom free? Look at the way Freedom’s costing me’. “One Way Train” is a tale of moving on as we all essentially are. “Tonight” is a bluesy love ballad ‘You won’t be without me tonight’ and “Stuck in the Rain” spins the opposite side with a tale of heartbreak ‘everything is not what it seems’ and ‘love is a dangerous game’. “Dark House” is a tale of coping with loss from the opening line ‘There was a funeral. It was sad to let her go’ to ‘I can’t see a thing, there have been dark days, dark nights’. As I mentioned, it grabs you.
Sover credits his father for igniting his guitar passion by giving him his first guitar and teaching him his first song. A Haitian immigrant and guitarist himself, dad taught young Greg a French song “La Maladie d’Amour”. Spending his teens playing bass in church, Stover came up through the small Philadelphia blues scene and served notice by winning the Hard Rock Rising competition at Philadelphia’s Hard Rock Café in 2015. The following year, he got airplay on WXPN, Philadelphia’s influential noncommercial Triple A radio station. That year Songs of a Renegade was released, Jubilee followed two years later. Parade, an EP, came out in 2020. Sover then changed over his band and met Jim Salamone who would help produce and play on HIS-STORY. In addition to Cox’ bass contributions on the Hendrix tracks, the album also features drummer David Uosikkinen from The Hooters, and Kenny Aaronson, who played bass with Bob Dylan among the contributors.
Philadelphia will certainly have some blues bragging rights with this latest Sover release. We just won’t mention he was born in Brooklyn (shhh….). Bragging rights aside, if you are a Hendrix fan, you’ll love HIS-STORY. If you’re a blues rock fan this needs a listen. It is an album that deserves attention.
The Review 8/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– Freedom, Pt 2
– Dark House
– Manic Depression
– Song 28
– Freedom, Pt 2