Mike Sponza review…July 9, 2016…

MIKE SPONZA

WITH IAN SIEGAL

FEAT. DANA GILLESPIE

ERGO SUM

EPOPS MUSIC

MODUS IN REBUS–CARPE DIEM–PENELOPE–THE THIN LINE (FEAT. DANA GILLESPIE)–SEE HOW THE MAN–POOR BOY–KISS ME–PRISONER OF JEALOUSY

Guitarist Mike Sponza is based in Italy, and he has been a part of some of the finest world-wide collaborations in the entire blues idiom.  One of those, the “Continental Shuffle,” brought together players from all over Europe to exchange ideas and write music.

His latest effort, tho, may be his most aggressively-ambitious one yet.  Entitled “Ergo Sum,” (Latin for “Therefore, I Am”), Mike uses his blues to make a bold statement that players such as Willie Dixon, Muddy, Dylan, and Robert Johnson were all “kindred spirits,” as it were, with the classical philosophers and poets such as Catullus, Horatius, and Juvenalis.  Add in the fact that the whole shootin’ match was recorded at Abbey Road, and, iconic British vocalist Dana Gillespie co-wrote and adds vocals on one cut, and this becomes a very special set, indeed.  Joining Mike, who’s on guitar and vocals, is Ian Siegal  on guitar and vocals, Mauro Tolot on bass,  Dean Ross on keys, and Moreno Buttinar on drums.

As you listen to these cuts, you get a good idea where Mike is going with this project.  He and Ian use their guitars to present expressive sonic palettes, and several cuts play out like five-minute morality plays.  A fine example is the leadoff “Modus In Rebus,” a lesson in greed and the evils of excesses.  A stomping, Hill-Country beat drives the tale of remembering that “life is too short, so, pour the wine,” entitled “Carpe Diem.”  A punchy horn section gives a jazzy feel to the story of those “senators and deputies” who’d “gladly sell your mother” to further their own agenda, “See How The Man.”

Dana Gillespie’s cut was our favorite.  The legendary singer bemoans the unpredictability of relationships in “The Thin Line between love and hate!”

Mike Sponza’s philosophy for “Ergo Sum” is that man will inherently never change.  He will always have love and loss, trials and tribulations, and, hopefully, redemption, and uses his blues to compare those same beliefs from the ancient writers.  Excellent musicianship and strong songs make this one a sweet listen!!   Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

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