The return of Eric Gales, the guitarist who could be king

Eric Gales
Eric Gales
(Image: © Nicole Weingart)

If stardom was based on peer acclaim rather than sales, Eric Gales would be a megastar.

Joe Bonamassa, who knows a thing or two about such things, calls Gale “one of the best, if not the best guitar player in the world.” Carlos Santana describes him as “absolutely incredible.” And Mark Tremonti says he “could be the best player on Earth.” The guy is good. Really good.

Since signing a record deal at the age of 16, Gales has recorded 14 albums, and album number 15 hits the stores of February 24. It’s a deeply personal affair. “There’s lots of love, tears, sweat and ‘truth’ in this record,” says Producer Fabrizzio Grozzi, “which is what classics are made of. As far what I think about him: Eric is simply Miles Davis and Jimi Hendrix’ love child. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.”

Joining Gales on the album are a cast of musicians including Lauryn Hill, Gary Clark Jr., Eugene Gales, LaDonna Gales, Lance Lopez, Raphael Saadiq and Christone ‘Kingfish’ Ingram. Clark Jr.’s presence can be heard on the first track to be released from the album, a sultry cover of Freddie King’s 1973 classic Boogie Man.

Why choose to cover Boogie Man?

I’m a fan of Freddie King anyway and I like that song. I enjoy the original version and I just put a little twist on it and music wise, I’ve always liked the lyrics too. The Boogie Man is about, so watch out cos there’s a bad guy on the way and you know, I’m coming! I think me and Gary did a really good job on that song. He was on tour and I sat in with him in North Carolina. I told him I had a record coming out and I’d like him to guest appear on it. I said “man I’ve got this song I wanna re-do, Boogie Man by Freddie King.” I let him hear the original and he was like, “Wow man, that’s what I’m talking about!” Then I let him hear the rendition I did and he said, “Man this is amazing”.

Why’s the new album called Middle Of The Road?

It comes from a quote from my father. He always said Son are you keeping it in the middle of the road. It’s about being fully focussed and centred in the middle of the road. If you’re on the wrong side and in the gravel you’re not too good and if you’re on the median strip that’s not too good either, so being in the middle of the road is the best place to be.

What was it like working with Fabrizio Grossi?

Recording with my Italian friend Fab was really cool. Already at an early stage in the recording process with just Fab, my wife LaDonna and me in the studio, we knew we had something good going on.

It’s a beautiful snapshot of life right here, right now. I played bass on the entire record, it was beautiful. I’m a bass player at heart so Fab was like bro you need to be playing the bass. It was something that was very natural for me to too, I loved it. Fab is a legend himself. He has worked with so many people.

How is the new album different to your others?

It’s my most expressive record yet. It is a personal and reflective record. What I said before reflects where I am in my life right now. And it is hands down the best record I have ever done in my entire life.

How has being raised in Memphis influenced your career?

I guess to some extent. But I think my big brother and mentor Eugene has been my biggest influence.

You’ve spent time in Jail: did the experience change your approach to life?

Absolutely. It’s why I’m in the middle of the road again. And happy to be there! #BOOM.

Do you still practice?

I just pick up a guitar whenever I’m inspired you know. When I do get inspired then usually I go in for 2 or 3 days straight.

Middle of the Road is out on February 24 via Provogue/Mascot Label Group.

Track Listing

  1. Good Time
  2. Change In Me (The Rebirth)
  3. Carry Yourself
  4. Boogie Man
  5. Been So Long
  6. Help Yourself
  7. I’ve Been Deceived
  8. Repetition
  9. Help Me Let Go
  10. I Don’t Know
  11. Swamp

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