Released by: Provogue / Mascot Label Group
Release Date: 12 July 2019
Kris Barras – vocals, guitar
Kenny Aronoff – drums
Fabrizio Grossi – bass
Billy F. Gibbons – vocals, guitar
Serge Simic – guitar
Alex Alessandroni Jr. – Keys
Andrea & Francis Benitez Grossi – backing vocals
1. I Am Done Missing You (Live)
2. I Ain’t Fallin’ Again (Live)
3. Remedy (Live)
4. Can’t Take It No More (Live)
5. Watchagonnado (Live)
6. Elevate (Live)
7. Bad Boys (Live)
8. Let It Be (Live)
9. La Grange (feat. Billy F. Gibbons) (Live)
10. Broken Heart (feat. Billy F. Gibbons) (Live)
11. Dust My Broom (feat. Billy F. Gibbons) (Live)
12. Running Whiskey (feat. Billy F. Gibbons) (Live)
13. Got My Mojo Working (feat. Billy F. Gibbons) (Live)
14. Going Down (feat. Billy F. Gibbons) (Live)
15. L.O.V.E. (Live) (Bonus Track)
16. Hard Times (Bonus Track) (Live)
Supergroup is a term that is used quite a lot in modern music, and while that may lessen its impact, when it comes to the Supersonic Blues Machine, it only begins to scratch the surface. A band that has played host to the best that the blues has to offer, including Billy F. Gibbons, Walter Trout, Warren Haynes, Robben Ford, Eric Gales, Joe Louis Walter, Steve Lukather, Chris Duarte, and Kris Barras, the masterminds behind the Supersonic Blues Machine are legends Kenny Aronoff and Fabrizio Grossi.
On the back of their two critically acclaimed records, 2016’s West of Flushing, South of Frisco, and 2017’s Californisoul, the band are back with the brand-new live album, Road Chronicles: Live! Recorded at the final night of their European headline tour during their show in Brugnera, Italy, the album features 16 superb examples of what makes this band so great.
Discussing the album, Grossi quips, “the funny thing is, that we were not planning to record a live record, the recordings we were capturing were just for me to study and evaluate at the end of the tour, but as soon as we were done with the last show in Brugnera, the promoter was celebrating with us and asked me “do you have a flash drive with you so I can give you tonight’s recordings?” That’s when I realised they recorded all the tracks isolated, and the curiosity started creeping in. Gibbons was with me when I first opened up the tracks, and I couldn’t stop smiling. Grossi further added, “It just felt perfect; the weather, the set-list, the band were tight and then there was the crowd. The cheers, noises, and crazy antics people do when they come to see us, it’s extremely humbling and energizing.”
As the album fades in for the intro for ‘I Am Done Missing You (live)’ it’s clear this is going to be an energetic album. That brilliant harmonica crying out as the instruments come in just sets the right mood as Kris Barras’ smooth vocals kick in. Preceded by that thundering stomp-beat, ‘I Ain’t Fallin’ Again (live)’ is a groove-laden blues track. ‘Remedy (live)’ is one of the more classic blues-rock songs on the album. The haunting guitar riff that opens ‘Can’t Take It No More (live)’ really sets the scene for this brooding and gritty track. Full of funk swagger, ‘Watchagonnado (live)’ was a clear crowd pleaser on the album with the audience making up an extra member of the band. ‘Elevate (live)’ is slow and rolling number with a psychedelic gospel vibe to it. Another fun and funky track, ‘Bad Boys (live)’ takes us past the middle of the live album, followed on by Let It Be (live)’ lets Kris Barras’ vocals take centre stage as the song builds.
As Billy F. Gibbons joins in, the show seems to ratchet up a notch with each song, the first being ‘La Grange (live)’. What can you say about Billy that hasn’t already been said? A consummate performer, the rest of the album hits a blistering pace as he leads the band through ‘Broken Heart (live)’, ‘Dust My Broom (live)’, ‘Running Whiskey (live)’, ‘Got My Mojo Working (live)’ and last, but most certainly not least, the always brilliant when performed live ‘Going Down (live)’. However, the fun doesn’t stop there, as also included on this brilliant live album are the bonus tracks of ‘L.O.V.E (live)’, and ‘Hard Times (live)’. Which round off this superb offering by the blues supergroup.
Overall you’re left with a set-list that covers both of the bands albums as well as ZZ Top classics thrown in for good measure, with Grossi explaining, “The beauty of this band is that we always bring around or have guests joining us on stage, we get used to hearing our music taking the most unexpected turns and shapes every night,” adding, “As soon as the intro tape stops, we kind of unleash the Kraken…..the Soul Kraken.” While there is no denying that Road Chronicles: Live! is a brilliant blues-rock album, it would have been great to hear more of the band’s own songs. Given that the guys never set out to do a live album in the first place, that is hardly a criticism, and more an observation. If you are a fan of the blues, then this album will fit in perfectly well with your collection. I cannot recommend it enough.
Written by: Erik De’Viking
My Global Mind – UK Editor
Erik De’Viking is a London based freelance music journalist. His musical interests include music in all its forms, and he is constantly on the lookout for new bands and genres to discover and later preach about to the masses.