2018 –Artur Menezes
By Phillip Smith; Oct. 27, 2018
Keep Pushing, the fourth and latest album from Brazilian blues artist Artur Menezes scores high on my list of blues-guitar albums released this year. Currently based out of Los Angeles, Menezes was recently named winner of the Gibson/Albert King Award for Best Guitarist and picked up third place winner in the Band Category at the 2018 International Blues Challenge. Keep Pushing, produced by another current favorite of mine, Josh Smith, also features Daniel Aged on bass guitar, Gary Novak on drums, Carey Frank on Hammond/keys, Jamelle Adisa on Trumpet/Flugelhorn, Dan Boisey on Tenor/Baritone Sax, and Smith on rhythm guitar for four tracks.
I love the mix of horns and keys as they build off the slow-cooked opening riff of “Now’s the Time”. This feel-good song sets the mood and fills me with joy with its message, ‘listen to your heart’. Title-track, “Keep Pushing” quickly draws my attention with Menezes’ power vocals and impressive picking as it thumbs a ride atop Smith’s deep-seated rhythm. An ominous, bone-crushing riff surges through “Come With Me” as Menezes spackles the song with gobs of scorching hot guitar. I positively love this track. “Pull it Through” oozes with a soulful, funky goodness. “Can’t Get You Out of My Mind” is a mammoth head-turner. A suave vocal performance in a puree of jazz and buttery soul lulls me into a state of absolute peace. The George Benson vibe on this treasure elevates Menezes to a whole new level.
Terrific songs, a tight band, and a mastery of sound insure Keep Pushing maintains its status of heavy rotation. It’s a keeper.
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