• Fabrizio Grossi Talks About Eric Gales, Joe Louis Walker, Ana Popovic, Sonny Landreth, & the Whole Supersonic Blues Machine

    Posted June 20ww

    FabrizioGrossi129If it’s blues, then Boomerocity wants to hear about it no matter who’s singing or playing it. When it’s a super group like the renowned Supersonic Blues Machine, then it’s wet-our-pants time around here.

    For the uninitiated, Supersonic Blues Machine is a band whose core sprung from Goodfellas – a side gig that Boomerocity friend and guitar phenom, Steve Lukather had going on. That section consisted of legendary drummer, Kenny Aronoff, Kris Barras (who has replaced Lance Lopez) on guitar and vocals, and bassist/producer Fabrizio Grossi.

    Each of SBM’s albums features a who’s who of amazing artists as honored guests to play along with the trio. Those guests have included Billy F. Gibbons, Warren Haynes, Steve Lukather, Jonny Lang, Shemekia Copeland, Walter Trout, Robben Ford, and others.

    The band has a new album out titled “Voodoo Nation” and I must say that I think it’s arguably their best album yet. Guests include Joe Louis Walker, Eric Gales, Sonny Landreth, Ana Popovic, King Solomon Hicks, Josh Smith Kirk Fletcher, and Charlie Starr (of Blackberry Smoke). With guests like those stellar musicians on a record, you know without any doubt that you’re in for a great musical time.

    I connected with Fabrizio Grossi via Zoom to chat about the new album and some of its backstory. It was a fun, laidback chat that I think you will enjoy. Please watch it and then share it with your friends. You can order the album by clicking on the album cover located with the album press release shown below the interview video.

    You can keep up with the latest on Supersonic Blues Machine at their website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter (but they say that they don’t tweet), and YouTube.

    The Boomerocity Interview With Fabrizio Grossi

     

    Press Release

    voodoonationcoverClick Above To Order Your CopySupersonic Blues Machine Announces New Album, 'Voodoo Nation,' out June 24th via Provogue Records/Mascot Label Group

    'Voodoo Nation' features special guests Charlie Starr (Blackberry Smoke), Eric Gales, Joe Louis Walker, Ana Popovic, Kirk Fletcher, King Solomon Hicks, Josh Smith, and Sonny Landreth

    Supersonic Blues Machine will release their brand-new studio album Voodoo Nation on June 24th via Provogue/Mascot Label Group. Once again, the again features a reunion of some of the most exciting icons and names in blues: Charlie Starr (Blackberry Smoke), Eric Gales, Joe Louis Walker, Ana Popovic, Kirk Fletcher, King Solomon Hicks, Josh Smith & Sonny Landreth.

    "The general discontent in the world at the moment is so widespread, we get told to embrace it because that's life," says bassist Fabrizio Grossi. "No, that's not life," he asserts. "It's how we're forced to live nowadays. Voodoo Nation refers to the times we're living in, at least here in the States, but I guess the whole world can relate. We're getting to the point where we're living out life almost as Zombies. We're little machines."

    But there is always hope, which is what Supersonic Blues Machine has always been about.

    At the core of the band is producer/bass player Fabrizio Grossi (Steve Vai, Alice Cooper, George Clinton, Slash) and drummer Kenny Aronoff (John Mellencamp, Meat Loaf, Brandon Flowers, John Fogerty, Red Hot Chili Peppers) with British rocker Kris Barras replacing Lance Lopez as singer-guitarist. Barras has a recent UK Top 30 album chart hit in March himself, and he is leading the pack of the British hard rock revival with several A-list singles, BBC Radio appearances and sell-out shows.

    Voodoo Nation is the band’s third studio album. "Kris comes from this British school of hard rock and blues," Grossi says. "This is a different sound to Kenny and me with the Allman Brothers, Sly Stone & The Family & Mountain. On Californisoul (2017), we were going more West Coast Funkadelic 60s and overall jam vibe. Blues but with more of a hippy flower power. With Kris, we wanted his footprint there, so that's why you hear Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and Gary Moore. Kind of a Union Jack imprint over a Star-Spangled Banner."

    The lyrical front on Voodoo Nation is less forgiving than everything in the past. "I'm not saying f*** flower power because that's always the message," Grossi says. "But there are very introspective things and a lot of the theatrics that we are dealing with on this record which I would say are fairly common in the blues but are dealt with a twist. There is a lot of Devil's stuff in this record."

    Louisiana slide-god Sonny Landreth features on the haunting "8 Ball Lucy." The song is a story about it being "easy to fall into temptation when you're broken down and somebody comes along saying all the right things. That's the true Devil, and she's so good at playing her cards," he says. The 8-minute "Devil at the Doorstep" features Eric Gales – whose recent album Crown was a #1 Blues Billboard hit. "With Eric, it can start as a 3-minute 12 bars Blues and morph into an epic Led Zeppelin Dazed and Confused thing. I also think it's a perfect soundtrack for a horror movie…If the story wasn't real!" he adds.

    They underline problems faced by musicians on "Coming Thru" and "Get It Done" - the latter features Josh Smith and "Do It Again" is another firecracker that rounds off the theme with Ana Popovic. Young Harlem blues-sensation King Solomon Hicks features on the call to arms "You and Me." The band's trademark soulful blues sound can be heard beautifully on "I Will Let It Go," featuring Kirk Fletcher, and the sumptuous "Is It All" with the legendary Joe Louis Walker. The album closes with the inspirational Rootsy Rock "All Our Love" featuring Blackberry Smoke's Charlie Starr.

    The song came together in the summer of 2020 whilst there were the biggest fires in living memory in California. "I was dropping off donated clothes in Woodland Hills. We were heading down through the infamous 405 and were literally driving through fire - on both sides of the road."

    "I realized that we're in one of the world's richest cities, and there's discontent, plus climate change and everything else going on. How is this happening? It's total devastation. I was like, no, no, we need a major reset here. For all the wrongs in the world to be fixed, it requires all our love. That's the song, a message of hope," Grossi ends.

    'Voodoo Nation' by Supersonic Blues Machine

    1. Money
    2. Too Late
    3. Coming thru
    4. You And Me (feat. King Solomon Hicks)
    5. Get It Done (feat. Josh Smith)
    6. 8 Ball Lucy (feat. Sonny Landreth)
    7. Devil At The Doorstep (feat. Eric Gales)
    8. Is It All (feat. Joe Louis Walker)
    9. Do It Again (feat. Ana Popovic)
    10. I Will Let Go (feat. Kirk Fletcher)
    11. Voodoo Nation
    12. All Our Love (feat. Charlie Starr)
  • Into The Sun

         

    Into The Sun
    Robben Ford
    Label: Provogue
    Release Date: March 31, 2015
    Review Date: March 29, 2015

     

    The new album from guitar virtuoso, Robben Ford, Into The Sun is nothing short of brilliant. This latest work shines a bright light on his artful, contemporary songwriting and the stunning playing that’s made him a favorite foil of Miles Davis, Joni Mitchell, George Harrison and other legends. If you’ve never heard his solo work before, Into The Sun will make you a fan for life and send you scrambling to acquire all of his previous work.

    Yeah, it’s that great!

    In fact, the five-time Grammy nominee describes the 11-song set as “one of the top recordings I’ve ever done” — which is saying a lot considering his extensive discography, which embraces more than 35 albums under his own name and with his various bands. 

    As if that’s not enough to make your musical head spin, there’s also Ford’s session and sideman work. He’s been heard at hundreds of concert appearances and his work has graced albums by Bonnie Raitt, Barbara Streisand, Charlie Musselwhite, KISS, Ruthie Foster, the late Jimmy Witherspoon, and Rickie Lee Jones. 

    Into The Sun, follows last year’s critically acclaimed A Day In Nashville and 2013’s Bringing It Back Home. You don’t have to get through the entire album to see that it explores the breadth of Ford’s sophisticated, visionary writing and playing, creating a new chapter in his brilliant musical history. 

    The CD features a ton of his buds in the music world. Greats like Allman Brothers guitarist and Gov’t Mule frontman, Warren Haynes (on “High Heels And Throwing Things”), slide guitar guru Sonny Landreth (on “So Long 4 U”),  the great Americana and blues icon Keb’ Mo’ and pedal steel wizard Robert Randolph (both on “Justified”), the lovely and talented vocal sensation, ZZ Ward, on “Breath Of Me," as well as the young, up and coming Southern rock guitar slinger from Texas, Tyler Bryant, on “Stone Cold Heaven.” The engineering knobs were turned by Niko Bolas - a collaborator of Ford’s since his all-instrumental 1997 album Tiger Walk and whose other credits include Neil Young, John Mayer, and Keith Richards.

    “Niko is simply the best tracking engineer I’ve ever encountered,” says Ford. “He gets great sounds instantly.” Guitar players and tone geeks will greatly appreciate Bolas’ skill in capturing Ford’s glorious guitar tones derived from four of his go-to instruments: a pair of Gibson SG’s from 1963 and 1964, his beloved 1960 Telecaster and his Gibson B-25 acoustic. As he’s done on every album he’s made since 1983, Ford used a Dumble Overdrive Special amplifier. 

     “The album is really upbeat,” Ford relates. “It has a positive vibe to it — a good time feel. There are a lot of different rhythms and colors and the way the instruments are used is really different on this. It makes me very happy to have something so diverse.”

    Ford’s recent releases have been hailed as returns to his musical roots — which go back to his discovery of blues as a teenager in the 1960s. However, Into The Sun is a clear departure, using tradition as a springboard to incorporate his timeless vocabulary of jazz, pop, blues and rock into a modern framework for his poetic lyrics and the most graceful, emotionally nuanced and melodic vocal performances of his career. 

    “This album is obviously of these times,” Ford says. “And the rule during the recording process was to have no lid on things. I’ve worked very hard to master my craft as a musician and a songwriter, but other than relying on my strengths in those areas, I made sure there was room for new ideas and everything my collaborators brought to the music. When you’re open to different concepts and approaches, the most beautiful things can happen.” 

    All of the music and most of the lyrics from Into The Sun came directly from Ford, but he also collaborated with ZZ Ward (did I tell you that she’s lovely and talented? Well, she is!) on “Breath Of Me” and enlisted the enigmatic Kyle Swan, whose own recordings liberally mix images and styles to build articulate modernist-pop tone poems. That quality reverberates in the four songs Ford co-wrote with Swan, married to the guitar giant’s own deep commitment to narrative. “Working with Kyle was part of my desire to toss up everything and see what might happen, to get a fresh perspective,” says Ford. 

    If you listen to just one song before making the decision to purchase this album, then “Justified” is the song.  As stated earlier, Keb’ Mo’ and Ford are all over this song.  They exchange tongue-in-cheek vocal lines as Randolph adds soaring pedal steel punctuation over Jim Cox’s purposefully wobbly honky tonk piano. 

    “For me,” Ford says, “it’s all about the art. If you work hard at something you’re going to get better. I honestly think I reached a point with my writing on Into The Sun where I could just go with the flow and bring some of the best songs I’ve ever created to life.”

    You can keep up with Robben and all that he's working on musically at Robbenford.com.