First Appeared at The Music Box, August 2002, Volume 9, #8
Written by John Metzger
Rick Holmstrom has played a sizeable role in the Los Angeles blues scene for the better part of the past sixteen years, but it wasnít until he joined Rod Piazza and the Mighty Flyers in 1995 that his career really began to take shape. His fiery guitar licks fueled the flames of the bandís resurgence, helping to earn the group numerous W.C. Handy Award nominations.
With his third solo release Hydraulic Groove, Holmstrom ups the ante on his recording career, laying down a terrific set of modern blues for the new millennium. For certain, Holmstrom isnít trying to appeal to the blues purists. Instead, his songs fold a myriad of funky samples on top of classic rock riffs to form seismic waves that crash through the boundaries of time. With its swirling organ, stinging guitar, and rippling bass, Bobo the Hobo might well come from Booker T and the MGs; My Maria meshes í50s melodies with í90s grit in a manner reminiscent of Los Lobos; and These Roads blasts the classic John Mayall sound into the 21st Century. There are moments ó most notably on the instrumentals ó when Holmstrom lingers a little bit too long in one place, allowing a song to overstay its welcome. For the most part, however, Hydraulic Groove puts a modern spin on the blues thatís simply hard to beat.
Hydraulic Groove is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2002 The Music Box