Chris Yakopcic review…November 13, 2015…

CHRIS YAKOPCIC

THE NEXT PLACE I LEAVE

YAKO RECORDS 701

THE NEXT PLACE I LEAVE–PREACHIN’ BLUES–SWEET TIME BLUES–SMALLMAN STREET–PHONOGRAPH BLUES–SOUNDS OF THE HIGHWAY–WRITE ME A FEW LINES–TOWER OF SONG–TIME TO GO–ADDICTED–MY LAST THREE STRINGS

Chris Yakopcic (think yah-COP-sick) is an accomplished guitarist and composer who made it all the way to the Finals of the 2015 IBC in Memphis, and has just released his second album, “The Next Place I Leave,” on his own Yako Records.  On this set, he’s joined by bassist Leo Smith and drummer Brian Hoeflich, over the course of eight originals and three covers.

Chris’ musical soul lies in the music of the pre-WWII Delta masters, and he is well-versed in the fingerpicking styles of Son House, Robert Johnson, and several others.  He’s a natural storyteller, and his originals attest to this fact.  Check out his autobiographical trip down on “Smallman Street,” as “the sounds shook me like a V-8 engine” in getting bitten by the blues bug.  Playing regularly throughout Ohio and Pennsylvania, Chris doesn’t have a problem going out on the road, as the swingin’ “Sounds Of The Highway” tells us, as “I’d rather die by the roadside than spend a lifetime gettin’ old.”  He closes the set with a somewhat-reverent original, as he recounts the story of his life as a bluesman and his love for his guitar, “My Last Three Strings.”

He pays a strong tribute to some of his heroes, too.  There’s some deep slide in Robert Johnson’s “Preachin’ Blues,” and you gotta love the double-entendres’ hidden throughout Johnson’s “Phonograph Blues”—“My baby’s got a phonograph, but my needle’s rusted and it won’t play at all!”  And, Fred McDowell’s “Write Me A Few Of Your Lines” features a cool “freight train” break at the bridge, before slowing back down for the climax.

We had two favorites, too, both originals.  Chris isn’t “Addicted” to nicotine, booze, or wimmen, just to “that smokin guitar!”  And, the set leads off with the title cut, as Chris weaves a tale of going to the Crossroads for “dinner with the Devil,” and “tearing up the deal with my teeth,” because Hell is just “The Next Place I Leave!”

Chris Yakopcic is set to play the Blind Raccoon Showcase during IBC Week on January 27-29, 2016.  His fingerpicking style is ebullient and captivating, and his originals invoke the feel of the old masters.  “The Next Place I Leave” is a fine listen, indeed!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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