Music Is the Medicine
First Appeared in The Music Box, August 2006, Volume 13, #8
Written by John Metzger
In 1998, Anthony Gomes won the award for Best Unsigned Blues Band in a competition held at Buddy Guy’s Legends. Five years later, he was named Artist of the Year in Blues Wax’s annual readers’ poll. On his latest effort Music Is the Medicine, however, he strives for something greater. Not that Gomes completely forsakes the genre in which he garnered a cult following, but throughout the affair, he uses the blues more as the starting point rather than the focus for his journey.
In effect, Music Is the Medicine builds upon the stylistic range of Gomes’ third outing Unity, and working with a team of songwriters (including Mark Selby, Bruce McCabe, Tom Hambridge, and Jim Peterik), he spends his time dabbling in everything from hard rock to soul. Although the diversity of his interests succeeds in keeping the outing interesting, he does make a few missteps along the way. His lively guitar interludes, for example, spark the funky groove of the title track as well as the politically-minded charge of War on War, but when he bends his voice into a ’70s-era, heavy metal sneer, it seriously undercuts the potency of his performance.
On the other hand, Bluebird, with its uplifting pop-imbued chorus, fares better, while the head-banging rock of Testify gradually mutates to become something that closely approximates the Spencer Davis Group’s I’m a Man. Likewise, the Billy Joel-inspired soul-pop of Now She’s Gone and Waiting for a Sign are irresistible. Tellingly, however, it’s on the slow-burning, anguished fury of When the Right Woman Does You Wrong that Gomes sounds completely at ease. Although it allows him to end Music Is the Medicine on a remarkably high note, this likely wasn’t the kind of statement that he wanted to make about his ambitious approach to the endeavor. ½
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2006 The Music Box