Gino Matteo review…July 18, 2013…

GINO MATTEO

SWEET REVIVAL

RIP CAT RECORDS  RIC 1111

HERE COMES THE LORD–PULPIT IN THE GRAVEYARD–COMING CLEAN–TAKE A CHANCE ON ME–CHILDHOOD GAMES–GRANDMA TOLD ME–THE LONGEST NIGHT–WE CAN FIND A WAY–LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER

For his Rip Cat Records debut, “Sweet Revival,” Gino Matteo wants to “let people all the way in,” and allow listeners to interpret the meanings of his lyrics in their own way.  He’s a purveyor of spreading positive energy, but, as one can hear on these nine originals, he does so without preaching or trying to force his views or any one particular style on his audience.

He’s got a sweet “soul man’s” vocal style, and he can bring the blues, the funk, and the gospel with ease.  Also deft on guitars, he and co-producer Joey Delgado keep the strings percolatin’ throughout.

The opener is a great example.  “Here Comes The Lord” builds from an acoustic intro into a full-on blues assault to spread its message that “we all have the Devil,” but “there are many good things that come from the Lord.”  On this cut, Gino’s vocals and guitars evoke memories of another great West Coast bluesman, Joe Louis Walker.  Gino urges a lover to “Take A Little Chance On Me,” in this ethereal ballad, then gives another lover the heave-ho for her incessant, emotionally-scarring “Childhood Games.”  Gino brings the funk on “Coming Clean,” and gets a great assist on harp from Jason Ricci.

Gino’s “message” songs served as our favorites.  “We Can Find A Way to get together” is his “battle call,” asking everyone to teach our children the meaning and message of peace.  It’s set over an old-school soul arrangement, with a killer guitar solo at the bridge.  The set closes with a somber reminder to “Listen To Your Mother,” as she’ll always be your angel.  The brush-stroked drums and Jason’s harp give this one a country-blues feel.  And, the powerful “Grandma Told Me,” set over a Latin beat, is the poignant story told from the soul of a man who leaves this mortal coil waaay too soon, done in by his own excesses.

As our nation comes to grips with its own fears and shortcomings, Gino Matteo and “Sweet Revival” could not have come at a better time.  For those who seek solace thru the power of music as a way to deal with the difficult times in life, this set is a great place to start.    Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow

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