Tom “The Energizer” Schlesinger,
What a joy it is when you hear something fresh and done a little different. Right off I want to tell you that I think this is one of the best-sounding CDs I have heard this year. It sounds like it was recorded in the ’50s.
Dave starts out with a song by Don Robey. When it starts, you kind of think you are going to hear a cover of ”Sweet Home Chicago,” but after a couple of bars, it completely changes. ”I Don't Believe” is an unusual song about a guy telling his lady just that: ”I Don't Believe you let me go after treating him the way he liked.” He says, ”If you didn't want me around, you should’ve put my love on the shelf.” Dave’s Stratocaster work on this is stupendous; it gave me cold chills. His Texas sound on ”I Don't Believe” shows some Jimmie Vaughan, Stevie Ray, Kid Ramos, Nick Curran and Anson Funderburgh influences—on steroids with a twist! His finger plucking is phenomenal. Dave has a Texas/California jump sound to him. I was amazed at the clarity of his voice on this and the other songs on this CD.
Track 3, ”Doggie Blue,” and all but two others were written by Dave Herrero and Felix Reyes. ”Doggie Blue” goes a totally different way than the first track. It sounds like an old Leadbelly song with acoustic guitar and slide. It is done very well.
Track 4 track is an extremely slow blues song, down and dirty, titled ”Leave Me Be.” It’s done in a Texas and Muddy Waters style with absolutely great harmonica from Mark ”Kaz” Kazanoff. Again Dave shows off his great singing talents.
Track 6 and the final track, 10, are the same song done with a nifty little twist. Track 6 is ”What Could Have Been” and 10 is ”What Could Have Been (Reprise).” I vote for the 10 track with its extra reverb on the voices and guitar and really doctored up from the prior, but both are very nice to listen to. What a way to end a fine CD!
PRAISE FOR AUSTIN TO CHICAGO
Dave Herrero’s last album, nicknamed A2C, was released in 2008 to significant acclaim. It made it to #28 on the Roots Music Report and stayed on the charts for 10 solid weeks, climbing to #18 on the Living Blues Radio count. Here’s a sampling of what the reviewers had to say...
Southwest Blues Magazine
Dave Herrero’s 2004 career move from Texas to Illinois is clearly the basis for his choice of CD title, we get that. But after listening to Austin to Chicago you fully understand this CD is not about a 936-mile itinerary, but a metaphorical representation of Herrero’s professional journey as a musician, and the maturity he has attained in his spectacular growth as a singer, songwriter and blues performer.
His journey from humble Florida beginnings via the vibrant Austin blues scene, and subsequent partnerships with mentors like Charlie Sexton, Seth Walker, Marcia Ball, Matt Powell, the Keller Brothers and Clifford Antone among others, had indelible influences on Herrero’s style.
The Blues Hound’s Review,
90.1 FM Houston
Dave Herrero’s latest release, Austin to Chicago, showcases a rising talent that the Lone Star State has long since known about. Ten diverse blues tracks featuring some of the greasiest guitar work and roadhouse shoutin’ you’ll ever wrap your ears around. Austin’s loss is definitely Chicago’s gain. Grab a copy today and hear for yourself. Texas blues at its best!
PRAISE FOR HARD LIFE BLUES
Dave Herrero, after moving to Austin, put together an all-star team of Austin musicians for his freshman release, Hard Life Blues, recorded in 2000 at the world-famous Fort Horton Studios. The result...
Vintage Guitar Magazine
Its title tells the literal path Dave Herrero took to this blistering debut. His playing and singing are tough and vulnerable at the same time, his choice of covers is marvelous and his originals capture a classic vitality and feel without feeling like museum pieces.
Herrero proves adept shuffles like “I Don’t Believe,” with in-your-face guitar that would make Elmore James smile and a solo with big, nasty bends. Combined with his wonderful, cocksure vocals, it works marvelously. On the original “Leave Me Be” he shows a real feel for a slow Chicago blues; guitar fills say a lot with one note and a very quiet, soulful solo gives the song distance from others’ efforts. Another original, “(She’s With) Another Man Tonight,” is as a country blues tour de force with amazingly tight right-hand work and nasty slide. It’s how acoustic blues should sound.
A couple cuts display a mastery of soul. ”What Could Have Been” is an old-school ballad with a biting solo and passage where he trades fours with his own voice before a nasty solo gives him a chance to show off his chops.
This is a low-tech record (in the best sense) of a high-caliber performance.
Dave Herrero’s Austin to Chicago
Nominated for Illinois Debut Album
of the Year, 2009
President of Blue Beat Music
Dave is an excellent guitarist and songwriter whose self-produced CD is better than many of the big corporate blues products pushed these days in the blues press. Respectful of the tradition, but still forward-looking, Herrero has put out a GREAT modern blues record with good original material and an excellent live sound. His guitar playing is interesting and non-cliched and his singing is direct and heartfelt.
(translation from Swedish)
The time is past midnight on Sunday. Dave Herrero gets ready to leave the Droskans scene. But for one final song, it’s just him and the drummer left of his quartet. And the audience, still seems ready to eat straight from the hands of this Texas blues/rock singer and guitarist.
Dave Herrero and Felix Reyes arrived from the other side of the Atlantic, each with a guitar. Then, they plug in, and voyage from the stormy sea to glassy forest lakes under a twinkling starry night and back again to the windswept ocean.
This is no ordinary blues. But no doubt the root system does exist. But their excursions include ports in country music, Texmex, airy psychedelia and more burly heavy rock. Sure, Norwegians work with air in the game, but always with the mainsail on lye. Herrero has a backroom sound with rarely-heard dimensions. The tones are thrown in an echo chamber before they slip away. The effect alters his sometimes terse tones. Reyes complements perfectly and plays solo with his thumb, for the dirtier sound. Both float above the pulsing base plate, making for cool deviations.
And then Dave Herrero’s vocals enter the picture. Soft, soul and scratchy. Gorgeous!
When Reyes and guest Rune Endal on bass finally leave the stage after CURTAIN CALL,
it’s past midnight. Herrero would not stop. Does not stop! He and drummer Henrik Maarud continue with a soul ballad in triple time, the evening rounded off with four encores.
One memorable gig.