photo by Brian Douglas
The Chris Duarte Group has just released
a new live album! It is a sizzling 2-cd compilation featuring Jack Jones
on drums and Yoshi Ogasahara on bass. Though it doesn't say, I think the
material is from a 2011 tour of Japan. This cd is a tasty mix of of new
cuts such as "Bottle Blues" and "Ridin'" as well as
vintage CDG tracks like "Let's Have A Party" and "My Way
Down" interspersed with killer covers "One More Cup Of Coffee",
"People Say" and more! The mixing on this release is wonderful
and the whole album throbs and pulsates with exquisite guitarwork. Get a
copy, it cooks!
You can purchase a copy of "Live"
MY SOUL ALONE
Chris Duarte's new album "My Soul Alone" is
It's his 7th release on the Blues Bureau/Shrapnel label with Mike Varney.
Chris used studio musicians Steve Evans on bass and Aaron Haggerty on drums
and the results are spectacular! Producer Mike Varney has once again nailed
down the "tone" on this revved-up album. The touring band features
Dustin Sargent on bass and John McKnight on drums. Click HERE for
an up-to-date list of tour dates near you! Grab some friends and check out
the new material from "My Soul Alone" performed live by the hottest
band on this planet!
As the Chris Duarte Group performs
the super "My Soul Alone" album in concert, I would love to have
some concert reviews and photos to post here on the Reviews page. I've posted
several YouTube video links to many shows, but I really like hearing your
reaction to the music and tales of your roadtrip. Please write up a little
review, maybe something bigger than a Tweet (or be as verbose as you want,
there's no word limit), and send it on in to: email@example.com or mail them
Chris Duarte Group Fan Club, 939
Revere Street, Aurora, CO 80011
I'll post them here for all
to see! Thanks!
NOTES FROM THE ROAD IV...
Hey, CDG Fans!
I'm back in Japan for a pretty good little tour and I've got the venerable
John McKnight with me on drums and Yoshi Ogasahara on the bass. The pairing
up of John and the omnipotent Yoshi has made for a positive combination.
Both guys are learning each other and working well, dare I say it's been
a fun ride for me as I am the one who gets to climb onto this 'rhythm rocket'!
We arrived in Fukuoka after an all-day flight from Atlanta (about 24 hours).
John is not used to long flights like I am and retired to the hotel. Yoshi
and I bid John goodnight and ventured out into the Fukuoka night life for
a few hours. We had a quick meal after saying hello to some friends and
then went to S.O.R.A. where Ichiro was playing. He sounded really great
in his scaled-down group (two guitars and rhythm tracks from an I-Mac) and
was playing for a nice turnout, too. I have to mention that there was a
low-level Sumo wrestler in attendance at the show. He was dressed in the
typical kimono that you see on young, low-level understudies and was obvious
because of his size. His hair was spot-on perfect, too. I didn't get his
name or talk to him but maybe I'll see him sometime on TV in the division.
The next day we rehearsed in typical Nihonjin fashion,
going at it for 6 hours without nary a break. We worked on basic forms and
assigned vocal duties and wrapped up the rehearsal with a confident feeling
that at least the bare bones were intact and we were now ready to start
applying the "exo" to our "endo" that we constructed.
Although the club we played in Fukuoka is small, maybe a capacity of 50
at the most, the turnout we a good one with old friends coming out every
night we were there. The warmth I feel from my Japanese friends are as genuine
and enthusiastic as any I've got in America. Japan is truly one of my favorite
countries to be in and the icing on the cake is that I get to do what I
love doing - playing music for the people. At times I'm so grateful for
this that I imagine myself as Lou Gehrig, proclaiming in the holy confines
of Yankee Stadium, "I'm the luckiest man on the face of the Earth."
We played with good conviction and some small mistakes, but it was an auspicious
beginning for the 2013 CDG Japan Tour.
After finishing our two-night stand in Fukuoka, we moved
onto the Saga City Festival. Yoshi explained to me that it will be like
going into the wilderness of Alaska. Saga City is a small outpost in Japan
that few Western musicians have visited. It was a small festival and I got
to play right in front of the train station where people couldn't help but
listen to us. They would stop and enjoy the sounds coming off the stage.
I got to see several of the acts in front of us and it's just amazing to
me to see the great talent that this country has in the hinterlands and
the appreciation from the fans and music lovers. I later gave a 'master
class' for guitar players. Yoshi and John played with me, too. It was pretty
much me doing a bit of talking and then playing. It was a good turnout and
a lot of fun.
Next it was off to another new area for me, Uwajima. We
were informed that immigration officials had not officially sanctioned this
event so instead it was supposed to be a 'private' affair. The local promoter,
Sei Chiyan, did a great job of getting out the word cuz' I would venture
to say that this was our biggest crowd. The club that Sei Chiyan owns is
called 'Texas' and he was thrilled in getting me to play there after almost
three years trying to book this gig. Sei's band, The World, opened up the
show. They were a quasi-heavy metal band with good vocal harmonies (Sei
fronts the band as the singer). They were very enjoyable and fun to watch.
The guitar player was embarrassed cuz' he had cut the tip of his finger
but I didn't notice anything awry. The band had spot-on Marshall riffs and
great tone. I was also treated to a new pedal from my friend Chi Kun. He's
been making pedals for the last couple of years and this was a distortion
pedal he made just for me with my preference of tones; big and loud! It's
called the 'Texas Tornado' and I've had it in my line-up ever since. Arigatou
The next day we had a sampling of the area's noodles at
the town's best noodle shop. It was an assortment of Soba (cold Ramen in
a shio broth) and Curry Udon, which if you're not careful will fleck little
droplets of yellow curry all over your shirt - so be sure of your grip and
don't wear white! Then it was on to Osaka for a travel day. The local truckstops
are fun cuz' they feature specialties from the area. My wife Tomomi was
still about a day away from joining us so I pretty much kept to my book.
I like to read "Haruki Murakami" when I'm in Japan. I seem to
soak in the descriptions and the story better while in Japan; 'Sputnik Sweetheart',
'Hard-Boiled Wonderland', and 'The End of the World'). Our hotel is always
right in the heart of the Kansai District so there's lots to see day and
night. I was tired this night so it was Tenkai Ippin Ramen then right to
- Chris Duarte
VARIT is one of the best live venues in
Kobe and Chris has played here a few times before with Bluestone.
The Chris Duarte Group played two and a half hours with several new songs.
I loved "Leave My Soul Alone", a heavy tune that grooves like
hell. I enjoyed Chris's excellent blues/rock sound with psychedelic grooves
and a touch of jazz. The last song was "People Say" which became
a long outro-psychedelic-jam session! Incredible, impressive, awesome! It
was a fantastic show! I hope they come back soon.
-photos and review by Megumi Iuchi
TAKUTAKU was once a sake brewhouse and
is now one of the city's most popular
live venues. Chris Duarte has cut his hair short and was playing a gorgeously-glittered
XOTIC guitar. His guitarwork is more and more amazing each time he comes
to Japan. The new drummer, John McKnight, is the best of both worlds - a
very cool drummer as well as a good singer. In the middle of the show, before
the song "Hold Back The Tears" (which he played with Bluestone),
Chris asked for donations for the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster and
many people donated. I was glad to see that and really appreciated everyone's
thoughtfulness. Thanks Chris and all the fans!
-photos and review by Megumi Iuchi
NOTES FROM THE ROAD III...
Hey everybody, thanks for reading this!
I just want to share some reflections from our recent tour. Still feeling
the love from the fans on the road following the CDG bus and showing up
for a string of shows in succession (you know who you are and I love you
immeasurably). When I see you all out there night after night, you push
me to stretch my creative ideas. Thank you for driving the miles and watching
We played the legendary Slippery Noodle in Indianapolis,
Indiana, on September 12th and had a table of Vietnam vets come out to my
show. There might've been a function or gathering going on for them, but
I was glad they came down to my show. After the second set one of them came
up to me as I was selling merch off the stage and told me how our playing
was taking them back and bringing on a bunch of fond memories long since
filed away. With the combination of them having a reunion and our music
pumping out, he was in tears telling me how much fun they were having. Moments
like this stick with me for a long, long, time. I went over and took a picture
with them and talked with each of them for a short moment. Those guys made
me feel really lucky to be doing what I'm doing; moving people's emotions
and leaving a smile on their face. The real kicker was how the entire staff
was rotating in shifts from other parts of the building so that they all
got a chance to see us play! When the staff is hip to y'all, you know you're
doing something right.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention Jim Porter's Good
Time Emporium in Louisville, Kentucky. I gotta' admit, the name was a bit
kitschy and we were a bit taken aback by its size. Turns out the GT Emporium
is a multi-roomed complex where many national acts have played the big room
(the room we were in) and with other rooms for smaller bands or karaoke
and a bar. The staff was great and the sound system was more than fun. Our
opening band was fronted by longtime friend and fan Greg Gaddis and his
band more than impressed me. Greg is a modern day 'Do-it-All' guy. He built
his own house, repairs his automobiles, fixes electronics - all while raising
his boy Cody into a fine young man and keeping his wife Diane happy and
his marriage rocking for almost 20 years. When I grow up I want to be Greg!
Greg doesn't do anything half-ass in his life and he certainly didn't do
it half-ass in his band. The songs were largely covers done right and they
rocked! I couldn't help but smile the whole time they were playing. I got
to play SRV's 'When The House Is Rockin' with them (and of course I was
the loudest thing up there - what a dork)! Way to go Chris, setting another
example of 'stage etiquette'. I'll behave next time Greg if you let me sit
in! All in all we had a great time. I hope we get another chance to play
there so we can start building up a crowd in Louisville.
We played the small "Bikes, Blues & BBQ"
festival in the town of Pekin, Illinois, on September 14th. Small festivals
can be so much fun and this one was. The guys helping us with load-in and
security were helpful and the sound system was great. Even though the crowd
was spread out, we had our hardcore fans in lawn chairs right in front of
the stage. Although this night wasn't my most technically 'on' night, my
emotions were in a good place and I felt like I was at an outdoor festival
from the 60's and just let the 'crazy guitar' licks fly. I had some fun
that night (and yeah, a few clams were laid out but I think our passion
won over the crowd). Dustin and Dave came right along with me - one for
all and all for one! I'm always proud of the way Dave and Dustin play. They're
both great soldiers I can depend on out there on the road and great partners
in art when we enter the breach. I know I haven't said it enough, but thanks
guys for being there with me all these months and miles.
Our Sunday gig was at Martini's in Rock Island, Illinois,
and was for the Blues Society in the Quad Cities area. Even though last
year had a better turnout, we still had so much fun with them. I want to
thank the Blues Society for taking another chance with us and giving my
group the opportunity to play for them. We had fans come in from Chicago,
Milwaukee, and mid-Iowa and I was not going to disappoint. By the end of
the show, people just stood in front of us while we played our encore for
the night, 'People Say'. The song has really evolved since the "Tailspin
Headwhack" album and now has a funky groove in front with an extended
outro-psychedelic-jam at the end that builds into a frenzy. The Blues Society
got us rooms at this hotel called The Lodge Hotel in Bettendorf, Iowa, and
you can see the building on the horizon from miles away. It had a tall,
stately Tudor-style exterior with plenty of dark veneer panels on the inside.
The décor was Middle-Ages complete with portraits of Lords and Ladies
dotting the walls. The guys commented on how we felt like we were in a Scooby-Doo
mystery adventure and we expected the eyes in the paintings to move with
us! Creepy at times, but a huge, memorable place nonetheless.
It never fails to leave me speechless when I think back
on the many people I've met while out on the road. They talk with me and
share their emotions and feelings. More often than not, people use our time
together to tell me how much I make them happy and have helped them through
some tough times with my music and performances. It truly leaves me in awe
when I think about it later on in my hotel room. I want all of you out there
to know that the feeling is mutual; all of you help me through tough times,
too. You truly make me glad to be alive and it reinforces in me that what
I'm doing is exactly what I'm supposed to be doing out there in the world.
Thank you all so much!
- Chris Duarte
ABILENE BAR & LOUNGE
Rochester, New York
It's been awhile since I've seen blues rocker Chris
Duarte perform and I remember him as more of a blueser than the progressive
bruiser I saw play at Abilene Sunday night. The show, a stop on his "My
Soul Alone Tour 2013," was initially slated for the patio. But given
the fear that Duarte's Stratocaster would stratocast and bust clouds, causing
it to rain, management horsed the whole affair indoors. Duarte rocked the
crowd as if it was one big bag of Shake 'n' Bake ("And we helped").
Working within the flexible confines of his three-piece band, Duarte took
songs based on a riff -- often a blue one -- and explored and enjoyed and
extrapolated it, frequently giving a toggle-switch tour along with all his
stomp boxes and their myriad purr, growls, and screams. Duarte doesn't shy
away from the mic either, and I imagine he needs to give his fingers a reprieve.
So songs like "I Bucked It Up" were sing-along crowd pleasers
for the mostly male, cargo-shorts-wearing crowd, which also needed a break,
what with all the air-guitaring, fist-pumping, and head-banging going on.
A blend of Stevie Ray and Jimi, Duarte proved song after song (including
his expert stab at "Manic Depression") why he is up there and
out there on the upper deck when it comes to the classic American guitar
-review by Frank DeBlase, Rochester City
NOTES FROM THE ROAD II...
Here I am again y'all...
I know, I hear it all the time from my
press and PR people that I need to blog more. I agree! Plus, how hard can
it be? You just jump on and start to type, make a stream-of-consciousness
type thing and try to throw in events that have happened and 'bam' you got
it. I know, I know, I know, but it's just not that easy (and I can even
type with all my fingers and don't have to look at my hands - a legacy from
my second marriage). We played a club in Minot, North Dakota, before heading
to Canada and had a great time up there. I look forward to our return trip
in the area. Heading to Canada, we cruised through the countryside of North
Dakota which is so serene with its big sky. All the wheat fields, a welcome
relief to all the corn I'm used to seeing on my travels in the Midwest,
made me reminisce how America used to be the wheat producer of the world.
Now I think we've slipped back to 5th or even further back. We played Canada
for the second time on this tour and as usual it was a blast. I really bemoan
myself for being gone and absent for so long to the wonderful Canadian people.
I'm hoping this will now turn the tides and I'll be going up there with
increased frequency. All the festivals were great and the promoters took
very good care of us. I know most of us don't get up that far in the contiguous
U.S., but they're just as great of music fans as the rest of us in the lower
48. The Midwest is like my usual stomping grounds and I'm so known in the
area that it always feels like family when I get into Cedar Rapids and Sioux
City in Iowa and Sioux Falls in South Dakota. I love all the old friends
I've made over the years and I shall endeavor to be there at least once
every year. Uncle Bo's in Topeka, Kansas, was fun, too. The band had a blast
and it's cool to leave the stage and just go to your room in the hotel where
the club is located. Not the closest rooms from stage-to-room but good enough.
That honor goes to The Ranger Lounge, a club we used to play years ago in
Laramie, Wyoming. My room there was literally 20 to 30 feet from the stage
if even that far. Had many a good gig there and it's where I met ol' Six
Fingers - the fastest most-blazing guitarist in the area! Luv ya, Man! After
leaving Manitoba, Canada, we ventured into Minnesota for a two day rest.
Then we did a show at The Trempealeau Hotel in Trempealeau, Wisconsin, and
what a jewel of a place that is. The hotel/music venue is settled along
the banks of the upper Mississippi and it's gorgeous! There's an outside
stage and people come and bring chairs and sit in a small grass field. The
weather was perfect and you can't ask for a more inspiring venue to play.
A really special place, The Trempealeau Hotel. Look it up! I played in Burlington,
Iowa at a club called The Washington. It was the reopening of this venue
and the locals were so glad to now have a place that will bring in national
touring acts. Well-deserved for the people there and a tip of the hat goes
towards the owners for giving this to the people. I hope the crowds show
up and support the venue so more acts can play there. At Shank Hall in Milwaukee,
Wisconsin, we shared the stage with Poppa Chubby and he was a blast! He's
sounding really good and his show is a lot of fun. Great band and they are
a fun hang. Go check him out if he comes in your area, you'll be thoroughly
entertained. Callahan's in the Detroit suburb of Auburn Hills has always
been a favorite of mine. The people of Detroit are some of my most loved
fans and they feel like family to me too! I Love you Detroit!!! I have fans
come over across the bridge from Windsor, Canada, and I just lump them in
with Detroit cuz' I love them the same too! The gig was fun and even though
the town has got it's struggles right now I hope Callahan's can weather
the storm and survive. I'm with you Detroit! In Buffalo, New York, we played
at the world famous Tralf Music Hall. The staff was topnotch and the venue
lives up to it's reputation. It has a great stage and we had a good turnout
for being gone for so long. We had Jeff Fretterman open up for us and he
did the job of warming the crowd up for us.
So that brings me back to Donnacona, Quebec in Canada. We had a looong drive
that day, close to 500 miles, but we had a great time. Yannick was extra
special to us and the festival, though small, was well coordinated with
great efficiency. Now we're embarking on the last leg of this 5-week tour.
It's been over 7,000 miles so far and the van is holding up nicely! She
should pass 500,000 miles next year and I couldn't be more proud of how
she's holding up. As long as I crawl under her and give her that scheduled
preventive maintenance I'm hoping she'll give me a few more years of good
touring out there so I can continue to see my family of fans who've been
so good to me all through the years! I am truly grateful for every single
one of you and I will never ever take you for granted. I will play to the
best of my ability at every show and I don't care if there's 10,000 or just
one of you, you're going to get me full on 100% - that's a promise! I am
the luckiest man in the world to have you as fans of my music. Thank you!
- Chris Duarte
NOTES FROM THE ROAD...
Hey Everybody, here's some notes from
the road halfway through our big tour...
New Orleans, Louisiana (7/23): just probably the most exotic vibe of any city
in America. So much charm and lots still going on there in a truly unique
musical city. Still love to play there and even though the turnout was light
at our show at the Rock n' Bowl, I want to thank everybody that was there
for the show (and Blake who drove all the way from Pensacola, Florida).
It's the dedication of my fans that drives me to always play with my all
at every show.
Houston, Texas (7/24): first thing you notice is the temperature going
up and sure enough it was hot! One of my faves there in Houston, Dan Electro's
Guitar Bar, set in an eclectic neighborhood and with a great vibe going
on in the club. That show was a real power-packer! Lots of fun and lots
of old friends and fans showed up. Really great time!
San Antonio, Texas (7/25): my hometown certainly didn't disappoint and my
old high school friends and family brought out all the stops! The show was
special and then reconnecting with all my family after the show was a treat,
too. San Antone', always special to me!
Midland, Texas (7/26): We went out into West Texas and the first thing
you notice is that the speed limits are some of the highest in the U.S.
(which makes it convenient cuz' you can zip around a lot better! Gas goes
quick, though - and stay on your toes while driving cuz' you're going fast!
Be safe people!) Midland's blues festival was a blast and we got to see
some great acts such as The Peterson Brothers, a young guitar and bass combo
that's starting to get a lot of attention and rightfully so. Watch out for
these kids as they develop their styles in the coming years, they were just
packed with tons of natural musicality. Another special treat at the festival
was me hookin' up with Michael Williams, Junior Medlow's son. It has been
a blast seeing Michael grow as a musician and watch him gain more and more
attention for the last two years. He's landed some good opening slots and
we got to play two songs together, "Red Fire" and an old Junior
Medlow song I used to play called "Hey, Baby". It sure was a lot
a fun and hopefully Mike and I will hook up again later on down the line
somewhere. Also seeing his mom Jody and sister Camille was a real stunner,
too! I hadn't seen them in a long time and it was good to talk with them.
San Angelo, Texas (7/27): Sealy Flats is one of our favorite places to play
on the planet. Rod runs that place great and is very artist friendly. Rod
has really built up a great thing there in San Angelo and to tell you the
truth San Angelo reminds me of a sleepy Austin from way back. A great artist
contingency and the city is really starting to beautify itself. Our show
had a full house and the place rocked that night!
Austin, Texas (7/28): an early show, 3 p.m., and I was a bit nervous about how the attendance
would be so early. Well I really underestimated myself there! We had a great
crowd and I love playing there at the Saxon Pub. Can't tell you how much
I still love that town, even with all the changes that have happened since
I've been gone. It's still got a piece of me in it. The show was fun and
the apre-gig was great, too.
Corpus Christi, Texas (7/29): The Executive Surf Club stepped up and gave me
this gig on short notice and what could I say, if I get a chance to play
more I'm there! Saw a lot of old fans and friends and I really have to thank
John Cortez for opening up the show and helping to get the word out in Corpus.
Another great time there and the warm feelings and friendships were great.
Dallas, Texas (7/31): Poor David's Pub, it's moved to a bigger and different location
but the vibe is still the same. Music is king there and with Carlos still
on the mixing board you can't help but feel all the special old times come
back. This was another short-notice gig but the people still came out and
represented to make the show a rocking good time. Jimmy Adcock opened up
and his fan base was energetic and enthusiastic for both acts. Jimmy and
I got up at the end of the show and we were cuttin' heads up there. Couldn't
have done this show without Jimmy and his help in dragging out the peeps
for us to play to.
Abilene, Texas (8/1): Well it's a hot day in Texas and we're outside for this one. Abilene,
the Jewel of West Texas as I refer to it, because it's the people that make
this town shine for me! We had a gig put on by Kent's Harley Davidson and
by the time the sun went down there was close to over a thousand people
there in the audience. Saw some old friends there and I've got a long history
with Abilene and I'm pleased to report the town is just as great as it's
always been. Love you Abilene and Texas, hopefully I won't be gone so long
for the next show.
Topeka, Kansas (8/2): A long drive and early wake up but it wasn't so bad. Just another
day in the office for CDG! The club was Uncle Bo's and it's been awhile
since I've been here too, last time was with Bluestone. Bringing my guys
for this gig was a real muscular show cuz' we were determined to play the
asphalt from the long drive out of us! Lots of longtime fans and enthusiastic
energy all the way around.
So far this is shaping up to be a good
tour. We've got a long way to go but as always I look forward to each show
and the new experiences they bring. Thank you to everyone that came and
to those who'll be out there for the future dates. I will play with everything
I've got for every gig cuz' I know that's why I've been able to hold your
attention and dedication for all these years. Love you all!
- Chris Duarte
1st Set: Hideaway / Ridin' / Show Me That You Want
It / Yes, Its You / Scrawl / I Bucked It Up
Bottle Blues / Leave My Soul Alone / Sweet Little Girl / One More Cup Of
Coffee / 101
2nd Set: The Best That I Can Do / Outta' My Way / Make
Me Feel So Right / Big-Legged Woman
.32 Blues / Satisfy / Paper Dolls / Still I Think Of You / Let's Have A
Party / Manic Depression
My Way Down / Cleopatra
The band played a great deal of the new CD "My Soul Alone"
to an appreciative Dayton audience. It was great to see and hear Dustin
back on the bass. With Mr. Sargent and Mr. Dave Anthony, the bottom end
was in very capable hands, allowing Chris to do his thing. "Bottle
Blues" continues to be the jewel of whatever set that it gets played
in. And the song "Leave My Soul Alone" has even more of an "off
the rails" feel to it live, with body language really speaking volumes.
Played back to back on this night, the two aforementioned songs provided
a solid twenty minutes plus of deliciously intense guitar playing. Check
out the videos below to see what I mean. It was unbelievably physical. It
was insanely dramatic. It was a typical Wednesday night for Chris Duarte.
The highlight for me was seeing (and filming) "Manic Depression"
for the first time in my 18 years of following this band. That was a REAL
Here's some video clips of the show:
-review by Arthur Creech
DON ODELL'S "LEGENDS" SHOW
The Chris Duarte Group made their second
appearance on Don Odell's fabulous "Legends" show for a taped
performance! The taping is filmed in high-definition with great sound to
match. There's also an interview with Art Tipaldi in which Chris mentions
that the next album will be a live album! Check out Don's YouTube site for
clips from the performance here. And you can still purchase the very first "Legends"
broadcast from 2010 here.
1st Set: Hideaway / Show Me That You Want It / Ridin
/ Big-Legged Woman / Yes, Its You
I Bucked It Up / Bottle Blues / Crazy / Still I Think Of You / Ill
Never Know / Scrawl
Hold Back The Tears / 101
2nd Set: The Best That I Can Do / Make Me Feel So Right
/ Outta' My Way / Empty Arms
Sweet Little Girl / Leave My Soul Alone / One More Cup Of Coffee / Let's
Have A Party
Sundown Blues / My Way Down / Like Eric / People Say
Boom, Boom, Out Go The Lights! Chris Duarte is a Texas bluesman who
infuses his blues with a bit of jazz, creating a style that is all his own.
The Brickhouse is a small venue, which is actually not a venue at all but
the basement of a house in the middle of a wooded lot where they hold house
concerts. To get into the events you have to be invited or know someone.
The Brickhouse seats roughly 60 people, has a small stage, a sound system,
a few lights, and a greenroom equipped with beds for the band. Over the
past couple of years homeowner Paul Williams has held some great shows from
both national acts as well as many local acts. These have to be Private
Parties or the town will give him flak for unlawful assembly or something
to that effect. Friends attending can leave donations which all go to the
band. Fans of the music will often buy a lot of merchandise, T-shirts, CDs
and posters from the bands which also help with their expenses. Chris hit
the stage promptly at 6 p.m. and, along with Dustin Sargent on bass and
Jon McKnight on drums, played a 90-minute set of material spanning his 26
years of recorded material. Chris style is very unique, at times ripping
through what seems like thousands of notes within a 30-second timeframe,
and other times slowing it down and getting those deep bends that have been
a signature of the blues. Each song was met with huge applause and cheers
from the full house. After the set Chris announced that they would be taking
a short break to sell some merchandise. After maybe 10 minutes, the rain
outside started picking up and then BOOM! A crack of thunder shook the house
and we were in the dark. Candles were lit, flashlights and cellphones alike
illuminated the room, as we all sat and waited for the power to come back
on. After maybe 15 more minutes in the dark, Chris announced that he would
be continuing the show. A fellow patron and local musician had an acoustic
guitar with him and as homeowner Paul started a generator, providing enough
power to run the board and a light or two, Chris and company hit the stage
again. Chris muscled his way through the first two songs of the set on the
acoustic (which, along with the bass, was plugged directly through the board).
Jokes were made about the work it was taking to bend the heavy strings of
the acoustic, which are much heavier than the light electric strings. Dustin
asked Are we gonna do the next one? apparently it was a new
one and was very demanding on guitar, and on acoustic it was going to be
a chore. Chris answered, Shit yeah, Im gonna soldier through
this!" - and he did just that, not missing a beat. Someone brought
up the fact that since the acoustic was plugged through the board, that
his electric should be able to be plugged in and after a laugh and a headshake,
insinuating, why didnt I think of that? The show continued. Chris
smiled and announced, It's like running with legweights on!
Chris played a second hour-and-a-half to two-hour set and then left the
stage before being called back for an encore. This show was great and you
could really tell that Chris is just a guy who really likes to play his
guitar. Where most bands would have taken the excuse of a power outtage
to call it a night, especially after already playing for an hour and a half,
Chris just wanted to play and was determined to give the audience everything
they paid for and more. After the show Chris and band were treated to Lobster
and Steamers, a traditional welcome in Maine.
-review by James Pappaconstantine
THE BIDWELL'S HOUSE
1st Set: Slapstak / Make Me Feel So Right / Scrawl
/ Open Up Your Back Door
Get Outta' My Way / I Bucked It Up / Sweet Little Girl / Bottle Blues
Yes, It's You / Show Me That You Want It / Manic Depression / Happy Birthday
Crazy / Screenwriters Blues / 101
2nd Set: Hideaway / I'll Never Know / Big-Legged Woman / Satisfy
Let's Have A Party / One More Cup Of Coffee / Leave My Soul Alone / Ridin'
Hold Back The Tears / Leave Her Be / The Best That I Can Do / Still I Think
People Say / Empty Arms / Stratus / My Way Down / Cleopatra-Like Eric
What a night!! It was an unplanned show, the result of
a scummy club owner canceling a gig 2 days before it was to happen. The
club, The Alamo in Brockton, Massachusetts, is a dive bar that Chris has
played twice before. The guy paid pretty well in the past, so Chris kept
going there, but this time he backed out, leaving Chris & company with
no gig on a Saturday night. Nice, eh? But enter longtime hardcore CDG fans
Dave and Mel Bidwell. Their niece was
having a college graduation party at their sister's house in Connecticut.
After hearing from Chris about the cancellation, they made a couple of phone
calls, getting both the OK and the sound equipment needed to pull it off,
then went to Chris to ask about him playing the party. He shot them a price,
they quickly agreed, and what took place was easily in the top 5 CDG shows
my wife Gloria and I have seen...and we've seen a ton of them! After the
show I mentioned to Chris that the performance and the vibe at the gig was
on par with the Duarte Family Reunion shows in Eureka Springs. He agreed...the
whole thing couldn't have been any cooler. It was at a house out in the
sticks, a beautiful home with a huge backyard. The band set up under the
raised deck, using their amps and a PA for the vocals. There were a few
of us fans/friends from the New England area, but most people in attendance
were Bidwell family members and friends who had never seen Chris. It was
very cool seeing all these newbies getting into the music...folks ranging
from teens to 70's, all getting into it. I personally "educated"
a few folks about Chris, and told them about the 7/12 show at Chan's...which
is about an hour from the house. I had a few people tell me they were going
for sure! So in the end, everything worked out perfectly: The guys had a
paying gig, the party had killer music
that everyone was into, and we "family" members got treated to
Chris laying it all out there...3.5 hours of the guys at their best. Speaking
of the guys...Chris had John McKnight drumming for this New England run,
and he was great. At the Bull Run show the night before, we chatted with
Chris before the show and he said this guy was a great "get",
that he's very highly sought after in the Atlanta area, and that he reminded
him a lot of Frosty. I totally agree...John looked and sounded like he'd
been playing with Chris and Dustin for years...and those were his first
3 shows. The guy is a real pro...and he sang lead vox on "Empty Arms"!
This was a show for the ages, and it will not be soon forgotten! To watch
some video of the show, click on these song titles:
Up Your Back Door
-review and photos by Mark McKay
Here's some photos taken by John Dadalt
and here's a video clip from the show:
THE HUNGRY TIGER
The CDG tore up the Hungry Tiger again, great set with
some new songs and a surprise rippin' Manic Depression. Getting ready to
head to the Bull Run for another go! Here are a few pix from the Tiger show.
-photos by John Dadalt
THE CRYSTOLA ROADHOUSE
1st Set: Make Me Feel So Right / Scrawl / Leave
My Soul Alone / Show Me That You Want It
Crazy / Open Up Your Back Door / Bottle Blues / Satisfy / One More Cup Of
Yes, It's You / Do The Romp
2nd Set: The Best That I Can Do / Letter To My Girlfriend / Still
I Think Of You
Borrowed Love (with Austin Young) / People Say (with Austin Young) / Let's
Have A Party
Birthday / I Bucked It Up / .32 Blues / Just Kissed My Baby / My Way Down
Sundown Blues - Manic Depression / Cleopatra - Like Eric
My buddy Craig Keyzer got off work and headed over to
pick me up and off we went to Rick Shaw's house on our way from Denver down
to Crystola, up in the mountains west of Pikes Peak. A CDG roadtrip! Nothing
better! We headed up to the spot-on-the-map known as Crystola, just outside
of Woodland Park. We made a point of getting up there early to maybe hang
with the band, eat some dinner, and chat a bit. It's always nice to spend
some casual time with Chris. He's an incredibly busy guy who makes time
for his fans and is a fun guy to be around. It also gave me a chance to
get to know Dustin and Dave a little better. Unfortunately, I had a big
wooden timber right in front of me throughout the whole show, but that didn't
dampen my spirits any. As good as last night's show at the Toad was, I knew
tonight would be even better. Sure enough, they hit the ground running and
right off the bat I knew it was going to be a great show! We got a wide
variety of songs that included a mix of old and new. A GREAT version of
the new title track, "My Soul Alone". All three band members lit
this song up at both ends and burned it hard all the way through. This one
is starting to grow on me, it kicks some serious butt! We also got the new
"I Bucked It Up" (we've all been there at one point or another)
and others from the new album. A killer version of ".32 Blues"
(see link below) had some amazing guitar work and then came a long
jam session with 14-year-old Austin Young! Smokin'!!! Austin came up to
sit in with Chris on "Borrowed Love" and "People Say"
(see link below). Talk about some axe slingin' - damn! I think
Austin was trying to impress Chris so he pulled out all the stops and wailed.
It was a great jam! The band ripped out a special birthday song for our
friend Rick Shaw and punched out a rollicking version of The Beatles' "Birthday"!
We also got a superb, long "Sundown Blues" and then Chris suddenly
yelled out "Let's climb on this snake and ride it to Valhalla!"
before the crunching opening chords of "Manic Depression"! An
incredible version! It was great to see Chris pull that one out and dust
it off (I always like it when Chris gets all Hendrix!). Anyway, new
guys and two fantastic shows! I told Chris after the Crystola show it reminded
me of the early days back when John used to be in the band. He just said
thank you and had an incredibly genuine smile on his face (he knew what
I was talkin' about). Nuff said. Luckily I had my trusty cell phone
with me on this night (my regular video camera is in the shop) and
I was able to record some of the songs. I had to squat down right next to
the PA stack so the sound is a little distorted, but if you turn your treble
down and turn the bass up, I think they still came out good enough to watch.
Here's some links to the videos:
with Austin Young (Scratch My Back > Borrowed
Love / People Say)
I did shoot video of the "Sundown Blues > Manic
Depression" track, but my battery died in the middle of it and shut
off. Go see Chris whenever you can! Buy all his CD's! Buy all the fan club
releases! Support the greatest band in the Universe! And always be excellent
to each other!
- review by Reverend Bob, photos by Rick
Flyin' south down I-25 in a bright blue roadrocket, our
roadtrippin' trio of Rev. Bob, Rick Shaw and yours truly were eagerly looking
forward to tonight's performance at The Crystola Roadhouse, a historic wooden
roadside joint in the mountains west of Colorado Springs. Last night's show
at The Toad Tavern was really good but was performed at the end of a long
drive into Denver. Tonight's show will be after the band got a good night's
sleep and is rested and ready to rip. We got there early and were lucky
enough to be able to get a bite to eat with the band and hang out awhile.
Chris mentioned he's having (and hating) to sell his SS Camaro as we dived
into some of the best-cooked hamburgers I have ever stuffed into my face!
And it was real cool to talk to Dustin Sargent again after him being gone
for a few years. Afterwards the band went to get ready (no opening band
and an early start time) and we went to snag some seats. Well lucky me -
for two nights in a row I got the pole position (see photo where I had to
stretch waaaay out just to get Chris into view) in which a big, fat pole
of some sort mostly blocked my view of Mr. Duarte. In this case it was a
giant timber, the kind that you use to build bridges, that was about two-feet
wide and looked like it came from a giant sequoia! Nonetheless my ears worked
fine and I have a good idea of what Chris looks like anyway so it was a
fine soundin' show. The band busted out of the gate with a crisp rollicking
rendition of "Make Me Feel So Right" and never looked back. Unlike
last night's show, the soundman had Chris' guitar tone dialed in just right
plus the audience was a Saturday-night crowd of rowdy locals who've been
fans for years so the energy level was high from the get-go. Third song
in the band played a torrid, raw "Leave My Soul Alone" which left
the crowd speechless and numb. This song is one of my personal faves from
the new album. Chris sings his guts out on it and live is no exception!
Wicked! This was one of those nights where CDG hits a groove and Chris'
playing is real fluid and it seems more like we are sitting in on their
wild jam session than it is them playing a show for us. "Do The Romp"
also left peoples' jaws on the floor. Later Chris invited a young player
named Austin Young to sit in on a few songs. One of them, "People Say"
ended up being close to twenty minutes long and even then Chris had to force
the song to land on the runway. Austin was ecstatic on being up on stage
with Chris. The band played The Beatle's "Birthday" for longtime
fan Rick Shaw and then went into ".32 Blues", a song I hadn't
heard in awhile. You could hear a pin drop at the end of it as it took the
blown-away audience a few seconds to regain consciousness and clap. It was
a super-duper show from start to finish and the new stuff is sounding great!
Go grab some friends and catch a show near you (and write a review!)
- review and photo by Craig Keyzer
THE TOAD TAVERN
1st Set: Paper Dolls / The Best That I Can Do /
Show Me That You Want It / Scrawl
Leave My Soul Alone / Let's Have A Party / Still I Think Of You / Sweet
One More Cup Of Coffee / Hideaway / Manic Depression
2nd Set: Letter To My Girlfriend / Yes, It's You / Satisfy / Screenwriter's
Make Me Feel So Right / 101 / My Way Down / People Say / Cleopatra - Like
With the rumor of old alumni Dustin Sargent on bass
and Dave Anthony on drums it was with great anticipation that I looked forward
to tonight's show. I headed out into the 4:00 p.m. rush hour for the trek
across town to The Toad Tavern. The trick with The Toad is to get there
early if you want to sit down for the show (my bones don't like it when
I stand up all night anymore) and I met up with Craig Keyzer and his
lovely wife and my friend Rick Shaw. We were treated to a great opening
act, the local band Another Mother. These guys kicked it! They did a good
job warming up the crowd for Chris. It's always refreshing when I hear an
up-and-coming young guitar slinger who has listened to the right records.
I heard a lot of Alvin Lee (R.I.P. God rest his soul) in Paul Barnstable's
playing. And at the end of Another Mother's set, Chris Duarte came out for
a kick-butt jam session that included a great cover of Alan Parsons' "Wouldn't
Want To Be Like You" with Paul jumping up on top of his amp and getting
sonic. Yup! That's no typo. Chris playing Alan Parsons Project! It was very
cool! And the best part is that Another Mother was having their performance
pro-video shot. They got the whole jam on tape (oh yeah, they don't use
"tape" anymore) err, I mean digital archive! I spoke with
Paul after the show and am trying to get a copy of the DVD when it's done
for Chris' band archives. Now...let's talk about CDG! It was soooooo
nice to have some fresh blood in the band. I think Matt Stallard and Chris
Burroughs were just getting burned out with trying to keep up with Chris'
rugged on-the-road lifestyle and were "hanging back" on stage
(which seemed to hold Chris back a lot and make him work harder to keep
the song together). Oh crap, I hate it when my inner thoughts jump out
onto the paper, but their hearts just weren't in it and I personally think
it showed in their playing. So anyway, it was nice to see and meet Dustin
and Dave. I talked to them a little before the show and they are both great
guys. Then I got to hear them play..... The term "fireball of sonic
assault" comes to mind. They were both on fire, hungry and playing
for blood - and of course that made Chris even more ferocious than usual!
I just remember the whole show was "special" and left me with
that jaw-drop that the early Fox Theater shows were famous for back in the
90s. What can I say, it was spiritual! But, it was just a warm up for...............The
Crystola Roadhouse tomorrow night!
- review by Reverend Bob, photos by Rick
I went straight from work to The Toad Tavern
in hopes of snagging some seats for tonight's Chris Duarte Group show. They
disappear fast, especially on a Friday night. I got a seat, but my view
of Chris was completely blocked by a large metal pole for the entire show
(photo at left). No big whoop-de-doo as I've seen Chris hundreds of times
and have a pretty good idea of what he looks like. I was there to tape the
show anyway (not dvd though, then I would've been screwed!) so I gave my
friend Rick Shaw the camera to go take some shots for me. The opening act
Another Mother were very good and played a lot of original material. They
were a trio with a heavy psychedelic-blues groove ala Joe Bonamassa and
were so good that Chris came out from backstage to watch them play and was
even invited onstage for three songs! They cooked on two instrumentals and
an interesting cover of Alan Parson's "I Wouldn't Want To Be Like You"
(interestingly enough a song Chris played back in the 1980s while in the
Diana Cantu Band!). The sound guy mixed the sound nicely (he was with the
opening band) and then we got "the house guy" come in just before
Chris went onstage. Whatever he did, he certainly did NOT have an ear for
CDG's style of music and for the rest of the show the sound was lame. Chris'
guitar tone was muddy and buried in the mix, vocals too! Ugh! I've heard
stellar sound before at this club so it was a big disappointment to hear
such badly mixed sound, especially in anticipation of hearing a bunch of
new material. Some days it's chicken, some days it's feathers so I squinted
my ears and adjusted accordingly. The band put on a tight, rockin' show
and the rhythm section of former bassist Dustin Sargent and drummer Dave
Anthony was solid and playing hard. As a band they sounded great, giving
the songs the extra kick in the pants they deserve! CDG music always sounds
better with extra "Umph!" added to the playing and I mean sweat,
bulging veins, flying hair, stomping feet, and leaning into the songs! This
incarnation of the band does just that and propels Chris to greater heights
as well as freeing him up to solo his ass off!!! Resplendent in silver concho
pants from Mexico and playing a metallic-gold guitar, it was wonderful to
see him playing longer solos and taking it out more. The new songs had a
lot of punch. Power-ditties such as "Yes, It's You", "Still
I Think Of You", "Show Me That You Want It" and "Make
Me Feel So Right" were punched out like from a souped-up jukebox! "Screenwriter's
Blues" was given a twist rhythmically and vocally, too with Chris referencing
the legalization of marijuana here. It was fun to see "Manic Depression"
dusted off again and that it still puts cracks in the plaster! It was a
solid sender of a show except for the bad sound mix. Looking forward to
everybody gettin' a good night's sleep before tomorrow's show up at The
- review and photo by Craig Keyzer
I went and saw Chris Duarte live for
the first time Saturday (8-18-2012) at Skipper's Smokehouse in Tampa, Florida.
I am in the 55+ age group and have seen alot of guitar players in my time.
Every player has his own style and every music fan has his own opinion about
"who's best". But one thing can't be denied - there's not many
out there with more energy than Chris Duarte. What a dynamic live performance!
A great evening of music. If you get a chance to see Chris live, GO!!! Here's
some video clips from the show, click here for "Bottle Blues" and here for "Sundown Blues"!
-review by Don Melton
I was tipped off to Chris's show in
Koriyama by friend and Texas based promoter, JJ "Johnny Joe" Nelson.
As a longterm resident of Tokyo with 27 previous years in Texas, I was very
interested to see an artist I enjoyed a lot when living in the states. I
took a train up to Koriyama to see Chris and the band. It was a pain in
the ass, but I felt it would be worth it--and it was! The band did not disappoint!
I enjoyed the hell out of the show, and got to hear some of my old favorites
from recordings such as "Texas Sugar", along with more recent
material. It was great to hear Chris's excellent blues/rock sound, as well
as the more jazzy/fusion stuff. Talking to Chris, drummer Jack Jones and
bassist Yoshi Ogasahara after the show was real nice, and I stocked up on
some recent recordings and memorabilia. I'm looking forward to his next
trip and hope he takes me up on my offer to take him to the one and only
authentic Texas barbecue place in Tokyo!
-review by David Price
Kansas City, Missouri
1st Set: Sidetracked / Crazy / Scrawl / Big-Legged
Make Me Feel So Right / Bottle Blues / Do The Romp
Hold Back The Tears / Ridin' / Free 4 Me
Screenwriter's Blues / 101
2nd Set: The Best That I Can Do / Paper Dolls / Satisfy
Let's Have A Party / One More Cup Of Coffee
Sundown Blues / My Way Down / Cleopatra - Like Eric
Encore: People Say
It was a dark and stormy night
Well actually it was
an outdoor show with not a cloud in the sky and considering it was just
a few days past the solstice, it was pretty sunny when the first notes rung
out! Knucklehead's in Kansas City hosted the final show in the U.S. summer
tour, and lucky me; I was on vacation and could make the trip down from
Nebraska. It was the first time I'd seen the band without old standby Matt
Stallard, but Mark Simms acquitted himself admirably on the bass and drummer
Dave Anthony surely didn't disappoint. As usual, Chris and the boys "played
their asses off". Both sets were straight-ahead hard blues with a mix
of old and new. Paul Barnstable joined the band on guitar for "Screenwriter's
Blues" and "101" at the end of the first set and for "Sundown
Blues" in the second with a solo that I swear melted the plastic chairs
up to the third row! As always - well worth the trip!
-photos and review by Thomas Joyce
"HILLBILLY'S BLUES FEST"
Alcester, South Dakota
Here's a hot YouTube clip of Chris
Duarte and Scott Holt jamming at the recent "Hillbilly's Blues Fest"
I-90 EXPO CENTER
photos of a show in Minnesota sent in by Randy Brown. Mark Simms was on
bass for this leg of the "Blues In The Afterburner" tour.
THE HUNGRY TIGER
Here's an intense
version of "Bottle Blues" off YouTube (click HERE).
Here's a trippy
version of "Sundown Blues" from the Steamboat Reunion Show at
Threadgill's (click HERE). And then be prepared to be blown away by "Bottle
Blues" HERE and "Make Me Feel So Right" HERE!!!
The Best That I Can Do /
Ridin' / Satisfy / Scrawl / Just Kissed My Baby
Let's Have A Party / Screenwriter's Blues / One More Cup Of Coffee
Make Me Feel So Right / Free 4 Me / 101 / Big-Legged Woman / Slapstak!
Letter To My Girlfriend / Crazy / Open Up That Back Door / Bottle Blues
Leave Her Be / Paper Dolls / My Way Down / Cleopatra-Like Eric / Hard Mind
/ People Say
When I arrived at the Crystola Roadhouse in the mountains
west of Colorado Springs it was already a full house and an excited
crowd. I like the sound at the old, historic Crystola as it is made up mostly
of wood which gives a warmth to the sound you don't find in other clubs.
Chris has played here a few times now, as well as numerous times just up
the road in Woodland Park and at the base of the mountain in Colorado
Springs, so he has had a loyal fan base in this area for many years. Chris
sat off to the side of the stage and was writing down the setlist, something
he rarely does. Most shows he uses hand signals and tells the band the next
song on the fly. He writes down a setlist only if the band is new to the
CDG catalog. The show started with a rockin' "The Best That I Can Do"
and never looked back. The dance floor filled up quick and it felt like
a true roadhouse Saturday night! The energy from the audience revved up
the band and Chris was headbobbin' and flying all over the place. Just like
the other night in Denver, it was nearly impossible to get a picture of
his face! This was the third night seeing the band and I definitely
like the new tuning Chris is using on his guitar (the title of an old Who
album best describes it: "Meaty, Beaty, Big & Bouncy"). Chris'
searing solos were red-hot and sharp and his band was right there with him
like a shadow. The audience liked Chris Duarte's rhythmic rap at the end
of "Screenwriter's Blues" a lot. They added a nice, little James
Brown "Sex Machine" riff at the end of "Scrawl" which
was just a teaser. It would've been sweeet to have the song go into
something funky! Chris should do more funk, he is really good at it but
doesn't think he is (same with slide guitar). You get glimpses of it here and
there with "People Say" or "Screenwriter's Blues", but
I'm talkin' 'bout THE FUNK (like his old tunes "Black Cat Bone"
or "Like This, Like That" he used to play years ago). My favorite
song of the night was the chilling, heartfelt "Bottle Blues" and
you could hear a pin drop as he sang it in the club (I was moved to throw
down a dollar by his pedals). It was a fantastic show, the perfect ending
to the three-night stint here in Colorado. The band left for Texas and shortly
after the area between the Crystola Roadhouse and Colorado Springs went
up in flames, destroying over 300 homes. I hope they come back soon, we
really need the moisture! This was truly one of the hairiest CDG shows I
have ever seen!
-review and photos by Craig Keyzer
...and here's two successful face shots of
Chris Duarte taken at the Crystola Roadhouse by Julianne Gilmer...
THE SONGBIRD CAFE
Just the 2nd Set (arrived late
due to bad weather): The Best That I Can Do
Still I Think Of You / I'll Never Know / Scrawl / Let's Have A Party / Satisfy
Paper Dolls / How Long? / My Way Down / Cleopatra-Like Eric / Drivin' South
It was a blustery Friday morning, cold and windy, overcast
and wanting to rain or maybe even snow. As my coffee brewed, I looked out
the window and fully expected to see dozens of neighbors out twirling naked
in the rain, giggling crazily and looking up at the drizzly sky with big,
wide grins. Why? When the Chris Duarte Group blew into Colorado they came
on the heels of the driest Spring ever recorded here in Colorado. No rain,
excessive heat, low snowpack, dried-up streams - it sucks! Spring here is
real beautiful and something everyone looks forward to after the cold winter
months, but this year we went from winter straight into a blistering summer
with no spring at all (and no rain). But rainmaker Chris Duarte came to
Colorado and brought with him big, fat drops of much-needed rain in the
form of a statewide coldfront from the northwest. The Toad Tavern show the
night before was our typical hot night with no hint of anything. I grabbed
my coffee and began Drivin' South towards Colorado Springs and then west
up into the mountains to pick up Rev. Bob in the hinky-dink speck of Divide.
We were gonna' roadtrip down the mountain to see the Chris Duarte Group
play in Beulah, a little town situated deep in a remote, scenic area of
the state southwest of Pueblo. Well, the best-laid plans of mice or something
like that... The first delay occurred at 9,500 feet as the drizzly rain
turned into invisible ice and a pea-soup fog that engulfed the landscape,
reducing visibility to 40 feet at most and reducing the speed limit to single
digits. Our roadtrip planning had been based upon the dry/hot conditions
we've had for weeks. Nonetheless I pressed on and made it to Bob's mountain
hideaway up a looping dirt road at 10,600 feet. After getting properly motivated,
we slowly inched our way back down the icy, dirt road to foggy, icebound
Highway 24 to Colorado Springs at the base of the mountains. Our plan was
to arrive at the Songbird Cafe in Beulah around 4:00 or so, but thanks to
the weather we were thrown straight into rush hour in Colorado Springs at
5:30! Muddling our way through that mess cost us another 45 minutes. That
delay, combined with more driving and an early start time by the band, caused
us to arrive at the venue just as the first set was ending (Oh well, half
a Chris Duarte concert is better than nothing!). After a break selling some
merchandise, The Chris Duarte Group began the 2nd set with "The Best
That I Can Do", one of several new songs Chris been trying out on this
tour. New tunes "I'll Never Know" and "Satisfy" were
also played. The set also featured "How Long?" played for the
first time in years, as well as a speed-limit-bustin' "Drivin' South"
as an encore! The band played great but unfortunately the PA system and
acoustics made the sound kind of "boomy" and muddy in parts (but
I got spoiled when Mike Tomaskovic did sound the night before at the Toad
Tavern and had it dialed in nicely). After the show, Rev. Bob and I got
back in the car and made our way out of Beulah under a sky of twinkling
stars and patchy clouds backlit by the moon. As I was on the outskirts of
town and getting up to speed, a blur of white zipped straight from the left
and went right under my front tire with a crunchy double thump. I bit my
tongue as I thought to myself that it sure looked an awful lot like a cat!
"What was that!?" asked Bob, who had also felt the double-bump
under the tires as my car flew on down the road, accelerating onwards without
missing a beat. "I think it was just a cat." I said. "We
should stop, it was probably somebody's pet!" Bob said in a concerned
tone. "I think was is the key word here." I said
in a nondescript tone, eyes looking down the two-lane country road as we
barrelled into the darkness, "Besides, I think that cat killed itself.
It ran straight under my tire on purpose." "Couldn't you have
swerved or braked?" Bob said in another concerned tone. "I
guess I was too busy tryin' to see if it was a cat or not.", I
mumbled, "It must've been the end of the line for that feline and
time to cash in 'ol #9!". Heading back up the mountain, the fog
had dissipated but the temperature dropped to single digits the fog had
given everything a glassy coating of ice. It was a real white-knuckle ride
with the ABS braking system kickin' in a few times, but we made it. I dropped
Bob off and then slowly worked my way back down the icy mountain and back
to Denver, arriving home about 5:30 in the morning. Piece of sweat, no cake!
One more show to go when I wake up at The Crystola Roadhouse on a Saturday
-review and photos by Craig Keyzer
THE TOAD TAVERN
The Chris Duarte Group kicked
off the first of three springtime Colorado shows at the Toad Tavern in Denver.
It had been a year and a half since the band last played here. Since that
time, Chris Duarte had recorded the cool album "Blues In The Afterburner",
recorded some cool studio tracks with the band Mama (click here
for more on this cool collaboration), and had also auditioned some cool
new musicians on both bass and drums. In March and through the beginning
of May, Chris had Mark Simms on bass and Dave Anthony on drums. Former drummer
Jack Jones has also played a few gigs as well. The tour here in Colorado
features newcomer Trey Lander on bass and Dave Anthony on drums. Chris said
he hopes to finalize the band sometime this August. It was really wonderful
to see owner Mark Sundermeier up and around and looking good after being
in a horrific auto accident. He came by to talk to Chris before the show
and I took it as an omen of good things to come. Mark has always been a
big supporter of the Chris Duarte Group, booking the band for many years
now (and has been a fan long before that). As a resident of Denver I would
like to add how important Mark has been in keeping blues music alive in
the Rocky Mountain region. The Toad Tavern has been a blues venue for years
now, giving voice to the music by booking all varieties of blues musicians
from national acts to up-and-coming young local bands. Denver is lucky to
have a club like the Toad. As start time approached I was eager to check
out the new band and hear their take on CDG classics and how new material
from the "Blues In The Afterburner" album would sound live. Chris
gives his bands a lot of room to run and is open to new musical ideas. The
PA music cut off suddenly and the band came quickly on stage and picked
up their instruments. Chris didn't tune up, he just nodded at his bandmates
and then hit an open D chord, letting it hang in the air a bit before diving
straight into a rollickin' full-tilt version of "101". From the
get-go I could tell that Chris had a highly energized band backing him up,
like a lightning strike of focused energy but also playing with bazillowatts
of energy and passion. Right out of the gate, bassist Trey Lander leaned
forward confidently, one hand firmly wringing out chords up and down the
neck as his fingers danced rhythmically across the strings to anchor the
fat boogie of "101", throwing a change-up here and there to the
loping trainlike rhythm. Drummer Dave Anthony, who's sat in the chair since
January, was on top of it all with a decisive, commando beat and both were
playing hard and sweating by the end of the first song, something I always
like to see. After seeing Chris Duarte perform hundreds of times, with a
variety of musicians behind him and across many years, it is my long-winded
observation that his best bands, his best shows, his best playing, are when
he doesn't have to do all the "heavy lifting". The last few years
I've seen Chris play it seemed he was carrying a lot of the show on his
back, even having to do a lot of rhythm work. And sometimes a lackadaisical
band would actually make Chris slow down to their speed! In his best bands,
Chris instinctively knows his rhythm section has his back, allowing him
to skip across the music like a stone across a pond and play more freely,
his rhythm section ready and waiting for him - one that plays hard and is
sweating by the end of the first song! Some of the best CDG rhythm sections
had already played together before and knew each others styles and communication.
They were as tight as clockwork and really lit a fire under Chris's ass
to stay two steps ahead! In this instance, drummer Dave Anthony recommended
Trey Lander to Chris and had played with him in other bands. This show was
Trey's second week with CDG and he was still learning the songs. He was
honored and excited to be playing with Chris and was giving it his all,
not only making a big fat difference to the CDG sound, but also letting
Chris just play. And that he did! I also think Trey and Dave made Chris
play even harder, it was really great! I hadn't heard Chris sound like this
in quite awhile. It was a nice realization and made me smile, especially
since he was just getting warmed up, but there was something else, too.
I couldn't quite put my finger on it. The band was ripping it up with reckless
abandon and they sounded really good (which I naturally attributed to looongtime
CDG fan Mike Tomaskovic, also a professional soundman, who came in to do
the sound for tonight's show). It was between songs, when Chris Duarte was
tuning and hit a few power chords, that I realized what sounded different
- it was the guitar, his Xotic XS-1 Series Strat and its tone. This was
the same guitar I had seen him play since 2009, yet it sounded better than
ever and for the first time it almost sounded like the '63 Fender Strat
it was designed to replace. I have been seeing the Chris Duarte Group since
the early '90s and have seen Chris play the '63 Fender on most songs over
the years. Chris is hard on guitars and the '63 Fender he used on every
album and at most shows became more and more "broken in". The
Fender Strat is synonymous with Duarte's music - the deep, rich tone complimenting
his vocal style. Just like Stevie Ray Vaughan, the Fender Strat and the
music are intertwined, especially in the hands of a player with good hand
strength like Chris. The '63 Strat became too fragile, and valuable, to
take out on the road and Chris is reserving it for studio work only. In
2009 he replaced it with an Xotic Strat (built here in America by ProSound
Communications using the same measurements as the '63 Fender Strat) and
has been playing it ever since. When I first saw Chris play the Xotic in
2009 I noticed it sounded thinner and more tinny than the sturdy Fender
Strat tone I was used to. Up until now I didn't really think it sounded
like a strat and I asked Chris what was different. He said when he recorded
sessions with Mama in August of 2011 (click
here) that he had to tune his Xotic guitar down
lower to match Jeff Leonetti's vocals. Chris decided to tune the guitar
the same way for some live shows and liked the result. Chris said the one
drawback is having to watch his hands more because he has to phrase certain
chords differently. I think it makes all the difference and compliments
his vocals much better, too. I really hope Chris keeps the new tuning, but
I did notice one other drawback beyond him having to watch his hands more
and that is how much harder it is to get a decent face shot of Chris because
his hair hangs down as he looks at his hands or is head-bobbing uncontrollably
(see photo montage where I could not get one single photo without hair in
his face. I take that back, the photo below is the only one I took that
did not have hair in his face! Chris also mentioned
that he is going to grow his hair long again. It is already longer than
his shoulders and along with it, as in days of yore, comes the frenetic
headbob. Chris's hair and head flew all over the place for most of the show,
like a woodpecker but in human form. So at this show I was unable to get
a face shot but hopefully you kind of know what he looks like anyway. What
a killer show and an interesting setlist that spanned several albums and
included new songs such as "Still I Think Of You", "Make
Me Feel So Right", and "Ridin'". The whole show cooked from
beginning to end and never let up for a second. The solid rhythm section
of Trey and Dave sounded great! Chris and the new tuning of his guitar sounded
really great!! Everybody had a really, really great time!!! And there's
two more really, really, really great shows to go!!!! Really!!!!!
-review and photos by Craig Keyzer
Rocks! Here's a nice 21-minute
clip from YouTube of CDG tearing it up at The Winchester! Click HERE
MUSICPIX.NET Interview with Chris Duarte
Here's a must-see
online interview that Chris did with MusicPix.net recently. He talks
about the "Blues in the Afterburner" album, his gear, and a lot
THE CANAL HOUSE
Here's a cool
YouTube clip of the band "live". Click HERE
"CONCHO VALLEY LIVE" TV SHOW
San Angelo, Texas
Here's a clip
of Chris Duarte, Mark Simms, and Dave Anthony performing on the "Concho
Valley Live" TV show in San Angelo, Texas. They perform "Let's
Have A Party" and at the beginning Chris starts to sing in the background,
forgetting there's a microphone right in front of him! The magic of "live"
TV! (click HERE)
Albuquerque, New Mexico
little black & white clips from YouTube of "Bottle Blues"
(click HERE) and "Big-Legged Woman" (click HERE). This leg of the "Blues in the Afterburner"
tour featured Mark Simms on bass. And here's a jam of Chris Duarte with
Ryan McGarvey on "Shake For Me" (click HERE).
THE 21st AMENDMENT
1st Set: Hideaway / Scrawl
/ Still I Think Of You / Big-Legged Woman
Open Up That Back Door / Free 4 Me / Hold Back The Tears
Make Me Feel So Right / Do The Romp / Let's Have a Party / Sundown Blues
2nd Set: The Best That I Can Do / Letter To My Girlfriend / Crazy
Satisfy / Screenwriter's Blues / One More Cup of Coffee / Slapstak!
Cleopatra - Like Eric / Encores: My Way Down / People Say / Hard
Like I've said before, it's a road trip if it's too far
to walk, and Omaha is too far to walk from Lincoln! Thanks to Tracy from
Waterloo for saving me a seat and to Karen for once again doing a fine job
selling the merchandise, including the new tee shirt, in all sizes up to
3X, which Chris said could be used as a prom dress. The band played many
of the same songs as they did Monday night in Lincoln, but as usual, it
was still a completely different show with fewer songs but longer solos.
Both sets were extremely high energy, and the encore included two songs:
"My Way Down" and "People Say" - but as if that wasn't
enough, venue owner Mark convinced the boys to come back for a second encore
- "Hard Mind". This show was also the last for Matt "Skinny
Buddha" Stallard, who will be leaving The Chris Duarte Group to devote
his time and talent to his band Copious Jones. All in all an incredible
two nights of some of the best music to be found this side of rock &
roll heaven! Here's a video clip of
"Still I Think Of You" from the show that was posted on YouTube
-review and photo by Thomas
THE ZOO BAR
1st Set: Hideaway / Scrawl
/ Still I Think Of You / Big-Legged Woman
Leave Her Be / Let's Have A Party / Sundown Blues / Drivin' South
One More Cup Of Coffee / Satisfy / Hold Back The Tears
Make Me Feel So Right / 101
2nd Set: The Best That I Can Do / Letter To My Girlfriend / Do The
Something Wicked / Crazy / Hard Mind / Screenwriter's Blues
Are You Experienced? / My Way Down / Borrowed Love
Cleopatra - Like Eric / Encore: People Say
The hardcore fans were here to witness the return of the
Chris Duarte Group to the legendary Zoo Bar after almost a year's absence;
the weather was more like July than August and the band did their best to
crank up the temperature even hotter. New drummer Dave Anthony fit right
in, driving the tempo hard all night, with stalwart Matt Stallard laying
down the bottom with his usual Zen serenity. Even though the crowd was somewhat
sparse, Chris vowed to push it to the limit and no one was disappointed.
Chris started out with a blistering version of Freddie King's "Hideaway",
interspersed with some riffs from "The Peter Gunn Theme," before
launching into fan favorites old and new. About halfway through the first
set the walls shook with "Drivin' South" before slowing down to
a ska-tinged "One More Cup of Coffee". The first set ended with
a rockin' "101". The second set featured a smokin' version of
"Shiloh/Something Wicked", followed by insane solos as part of
"Slapstack" and "Hard Mind". Perennial favorite "Screenwriter's
Blues", an uptempo rendering that included some added lyrics referring
to the Nebraska Cornhuskers and "The Penis of the Plains" - our
state capitol and segueing into Hendrix's "Are You Experienced?"
- which singed my eyebrows as I stood in front of the stage! As always,
it was good to see some of the regulars, Tracy from Waterloo Iowa, and Mike,
who claimed that it was his 138th CDG show and David Sukovaty, photographer
extraordinaire. The show was supposed to end at 9:00 p.m., but somehow the
last notes faded away closer to 10:00!
-review and photos by Thomas Joyce
Here's some YouTube videos of jams
between Chris Duarte and Albert Castiglia! They did several songs together
including an instrumental version of "Big-Legged Woman" (click
HERE) and a long, wicked jam of "Make Me Feel
So Right" (click HERE)
THE HUNGRY TIGER
1st Set: 101 / Open Up That Back Door / Big-Legged Woman
Let's Have A Party / Still I Think Of You / One More Cup Of Coffee
Crazy / Scrawl / Watch Out / Leave Her Be / Drivin' South
2nd Set: Satisfy / You Make Me Feel So Right / Bottle Blues
Just Kissed My Baby / Ridin' / Hideaway / Sundown Blues
Letter To My Girlfriend / My Way Down / Cleopatra-Like Eric
The band played a few familiar standards as well as numbers
from just about every past CDG release, something from the Bluestone 396
disc plus a couple from Chris' latest album, Blues in the Afterburner.
Every CDG show I've seen at The Hungry Tiger has been on a Thursday night,
so it broke with tradition to make the 75-mile drive early in the week for
this Tuesday gig, but Chris' tradition of presenting hours of entertainment
remains unbroken. The band opened the first set with a rousing "101"
followed by a stomping version of Hank Ballard's "Open Up Your Back
Door" before jumping into a slightly funkified ten-minute
version of "Big-Legged Woman" that contained a couple of Chris'
signature exploratory excursions and "Let's Have a Party." Next
up was the Bluestone piece of the night, "Still I Think of You"
before heading into "One More Cup of Coffee", "Crazy"
-- which was exactly that and included harmonizing vocals by bassist Matt
Stallard -- and "Scrawl." Chris then launched into a slightly
slower and more bluesy 14-minute treatment of "Watch Out" and
closed out the set with "Leave Her Be" and another favorite jam
of mine: "Drivin' South." Set Two commenced with "Satisfy"
from the Vantage Point album before giving us a taste of Blues
in the Afterburner tunes like "You Make Me Feel So Right"
and "Bottle Blues." This was the point at which I reluctantly
brought out my video camera and randomly captured six of the songs from
the second set, but I'll say that I'm sure grateful I was shooting "Bottle
Blues" -- that was unbelievable! (Check it out on YouTube by clicking
here!) It's tough
to shoot video and enjoy the show at the same time, and I'm always torn
between shooting and just enjoying the show, but the result always makes
it worth it. "Just Kissed My Baby" slowed things down a bit, but
the energy level cranked right back up when the feedback crescendo ending
led into "Ridin'" as drummer Dave Anthony put the pedal
to the metal and really gave this one his personal touch -- nicely done!
And while I greatly enjoyed "Hideway," Chris commented at the
end how he "really needed to practice that one!" A ten-minute
take on "Sundown Blues" quickly followed, including the standard
deviations for a live CDG piece of this length, and was held tightly together
by Matt's confident bass underpinnings. A short five-minute treatment of
"Letter To My Girlfriend" got the crowd shuffling again before
the finale trio of "My Way Down," "Cleo" and "Like
Eric" that held the remaining faithful captive for a combined twenty-one
minutes. Talk about entertainment value! How many bands play a total of
160 minutes -- that's two hours and forty minutes -- and are
nice enough to hang around, shoot the breeze with you, answer questions
on technique and regale you with Shakespeare? I've been listening to the
Chris Duarte Group and saw them for the first time in 1995. Right now I'm
listening to audio from "My Way Down," one of the songs I shot
video of, and this music just never gets old - it gets better.
-review and photos by Brian Douglas
B.B. KING'S BLUES CLUB
New York City, New York
Here's some nicely-shot YouTube clips from the
Big Apple of "Still I Think Of You" HERE and "Let's Have A Party" HERE
Hey y'all, remember to confirm
the shows before roadtrippin'!
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