Brad “Guitar” Wilson
Lovers Before Sunrise
Cali Bee Music
Publicity: Blind Raccoon
Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro © April 2023
My review of Brad “Guitar” Wilson’s last release started off with these exact words: “This self titled, self produced release is the fourth for Wilson and if it follows in the footsteps of his first three, then this will be his fourth consecutive album charting on worldwide radio. Having already given this one several listens, with a release date of June, 17, 2022, I’m sure it will be just a matter of time before that happens.” With that having happened, I’m happy to say I told you so. Now, just ten short months later, as I get ready to tell you about Brad’s fifth release, let me start out with saying I’ll be expecting more of the same from Lovers Before Sunrise.
Lovers Before Sunrise features singer, guitarist and songwriter Brad “Guitar” Wilson being joined by: Brian Beal, Hal Cragin, Jeff Covell, Zach Andrews and Oscar Huget on bass; Grammy winner Francis Buckley, the disc’s producer, on percussion; Fred Forney on flugelhorn; Adam Gust, Peter Wolf and Dillion Diaz on drums; Deb Jacobs, Kiki Wow and Amber Guzman on vocals; Chris Rhyme on keyboards; Timothy Jones on piano; and Daniel Levin on horns. Of the album’s fourteen tracks, there are eleven originals and three covers.
The smooth Latin vibe on the rhythm drenched “Blues Magic” just screams ‘DANCE’! Brian, Francis, Adam and Chris are indeed putting on magical performances on the bass, percussion, drums and organ. Speaking of smooth, in between a few quick, stinging guitar chords, the vibe Brad’s giving out on the vocals has me thinking he might be bustin’ some moves himself.
Since Leroy Carr first recorded “Blues Before Sunrise”, approximately a century ago, it’s been done in many different ways, by countless numbers of artists. That said, this well-done rendition – with Brad all over the gritty and gutsy vocals; and validating having the instrument in his name with mind-blowing lead and slide guitar runs – will most likely remind you more of the Elmore James version.
Since it would be blasphemous for a baby boomer and former hippie to review a CD with a song by Cream and not mention it, I’ll now pay my respects. The song is “Sunshine Of Your Love” (Bruce/Brown/Clapton), and it features Brad, Hal and Adam giving the song some respect of their own as they showcase their inner Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker on the vocals, guitar, bass and drums. Well done guys and thanks for the flashbacks.
This is an original of Brad’s producer and band mate, Francis Buckley, and it’s titled “When You Get To My House”. What’s interesting is it actually tells the tale of the odd happenings that go on along the way. One in particular is “You were on your way to my house, on the way to hear my blues, but on the way to my house, you wore out your brand new shoes”… just how far was that walk? Musically, it’s another rhythm fueled smoker, with a mostly different ensemble. This time it’s Zach and Dillion bangin’ on the drums and laying down the deep bass lines and they’re getting lots of help from the rockin’ piano of Timothy and the smokin’ horn blowin’ from Daniel and Fred.
“I’m Still Breathing” is one the traditionalists will love. It’s slow blues with a hefty bass (Brian) led rhythm that features Brad strongly and soulfully belting out the blues, while putting on what this slow blues enthusiast feels is his disc’s best guitar work.
On a track called “Black Coffee At Sunrise” it sounds to me like Brad and the guys drank a whole pot of it before recording it. This swingin’ dance floor filler features the usual hard drivin’ rhythm with Brad rockin’ out on some of that jumpin’ hometown ‘so cool So Cal’ style of blues.
One of the most beautiful tracks of the bunch is a love song titled “Words I Want To Say With You”. On a song they co-wrote, Brad and Deb Jacobs melodically and charismatically take turns happily and lovingly praising each other.
The disc closes with a bonus track that first appeared on an earlier release of Brad’s, it’s a live version of a rocker titled “Slide On Over”. As it comes on, and all you guitar heads reach for your air guitars, make sure you get down the Trower or Hendrix models because as Rick J. Bowen states on the one sheet, this one’s done is the style of “Robin Trower meets (Jimi) Hendrix bravado” .
Other tracks on Lovers Before Sunrise include: “More Than I Do”; “Big Fish”; “Goin’ Fishin’ In The Rain”; “I’m Ready” (W. Dixon); “Rollin Thunder”; and “Down To The Twist And Shout”.
Should like to find out more about Brad “Guitar” Wilson, just go to – www.bradwilsonlive.com. Remember, wherever you go and whomever you speak with, please tell them their friend the Blewzzman sent you.
“The Blues Is My Passion And Therapy”
Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro
Blues Editor @ www.Mary4Music.com
2011 “Keeping The Blues Alive” Award Recipient