Eric Gales’ new album Middle Of The Road is a journey of two different destinations, one down a road that led to addiction and incarceration, and the other that led to redemption and acceptance. Contemplative and positive in outlook Gales looks into his rear view mirror and acknowledges the rocky terrain that he has traversed. Opening up with the gospel style fervour of Good Time there is an instant appreciation of Gales’ current headspace. The slow driven funk of Change in Me (The Rebirth) has Gales re-energised and coming out of the darkness of his past, “put me to the test and I’ll surely rise above, I’ve been sick for so long now I’m finally starting to heal.” Still present is that blistering guitar work, there are few guitar slingers out there today that can match his fire.



Carry Yourself draws from the sultry stylings of blues great Freddie King, Boogie Man features some smouldering guitar work from Gary Clark Jnr. Been So Long continues the expedition through Gales’ dark years, this a song of acceptance and realisation, “I’ve done some things I shouldn’t have trying to free the limits of my mind, no more self sabotage no betraying my own stars, happiness is more than a mirage.” The track also features his most blistering guitar solo, the emotion of his surroundings is echoed through his guitar. Help Me Let Go sees the journey reach a steady path, one of of redemption and freedom, featuring a more sparse arrangement with haunting layers of organ and Gales’ most expressive and unrestrained soloing.



The Northsider spoke to Eric on the eve of the release of Middle Of The Road, before diving into the new album I asked Eric about his upcoming visit to Australia and his appearance at Bluesfest at Byron Bay. “It’s our first trip to Australia we are so excited we can’t wait to play at Bluesfest, we have heard a lot of good things about that festival.” Focusing on the album we discussed the difficulty of delving into that dark period of his life and how that formed the narrative arc of the record.



“It was hard bringing those stories to life, it’s a real deep look at my life. It was a good opportunity to relate to my past and where I’m at now. I wanted to speak about the dark times but also coming through those dark times, I wanted to not just talk about problems but solutions as well.”



Middle of The Road is an impressive statement, in opening himself up Eric Gales has created songs that resonate with raw honesty and integrity. Sonically Gales explores the depths of blues expression with haunting tones and scalding intensity, the master has returned.



Eric is performing at Bluesfest from 13-17 April 2017. Middle of the Road is out now on the Provogue/Mascot label group.



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