Eric Gales


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Blues guitar phenom Eric Gales was born and raised in Memphis, learning to play at age four from older brothers Eugene and Manuel in imitation of their upside-down, left-handed style (a tradition actually passed down from their grandfather, Dempsey Garrett, Sr., who was known to jam with the likes of Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf). Winning his first blues contest at 11, Eric signed to Elektra four years later to issue his 1991 debut LP, recorded with Eugene on bass. Picture of a Thousand Faces followed in 1993. Manuel (who previously performed under the alias Little Jimmy King) reunited with his siblings for 1995's Left Hand Band, credited to the Gales Brothers. A newly matured Gales returned in spring 2001 to release his debut for MCA, That's What I Am. Often billed as the second coming of Jimi Hendrix, Gales, an adequate singer at best but a dynamite guitarist, suffered for the comparison. With Gales always influenced by Hendrix and the power trio format, his next albums, 2006's Crystal Vision and 2007's Psychedelic Underground, both released by Blues Bureau Records, seemed like facsimile Hendrix albums, right down to the album art. His next two releases from Blues Bureau, 2008's The Story of My Life and 2009's Layin' Down the Blues, found the Hendrix influence muted somewhat, but Gales, a breathtaking guitarist at times, still seemed to be looking for a way out of the Hendrix shadow and into his own voice. Gales returned in 2010 with Relentless, a collection of 13 originals, and followed it with the passionate Transformation a year later in 2011. He followed that with the all-instrumental Ghost Notes in the fall of 2013. He moved over to the Cleopatra label in 2014, issuing Good for Sumthin'. The vintage-sounding blues-rock set was produced by Raphael Saadiq and featured guest spots from guitarists Eric Johnson and Zakk Wylde. A Night on the Sunset Strip, a live audio and video package, was released in summer 2016. Gales' fourth album on the Provogue/Mascot, 2017's deeply personal Middle of the Road, featured guest spots from Gary Clark, Jr., Lance Lopez, and teen guitar virtuoso Christone "Kingfish" Ingram, among others. Middle of the Road revived Gales career, becoming his first album to appear on the Billboard Blues chart. He followed it in February 2019 with Bookends, which was produced by Matt Wallace. ~ Jason Ankeny & Steve Leggett, Rovi