Chris Duarte,
Love Is Greater Than Me
(Zoe, 2000)

Austin, Texas-based Chris Duarte has been favorably compared with fellow Texans Stevie Ray Vaughn and Johnny Winter since his first release on Silvertone Records in 1994. However, in reality, Duarte has developed his own style which is an amalgam of blues, jazz and rock 'n' roll.

Duarte's third release, Love Is Greater Than Me, comes after a three-year absence from the recording scene. During those three years since the second Silvertone release, Chris has gone through numerous adversities, including being dropped from his record label, going through a painful divorce and having to face some consequences of substance abuse. However, Love Is Greater Than Me is testimony to the guitarist's perseverance and his epiphany that it is love that would carry him through and make him stronger.

Love Is Greater Than Me opens with the hard blues-rock tune "Baddness" which is one of two songs receiving airplay. The other song off of the CD that is receiving airplay is the Johnny Winteresque "Free 4 Me." Carrying on with a smorgasbord of sound, "Brand New Day" demonstrates Texas boogie at its best, whereas "All Night" is a slow blues-rock number with some really fluid work on the stratocaster. "Metaphor Song" is awash with influences of the psychedelic music of the '60s and '70s, whereas "Paper Dolls" is pure funk. Then there is the frenzied blues-rock of "Watch Out" (my favorite cut) and "Azul Ezell" which is rife with Latin rhythms and guitar work reminiscent of Carlos Santana.

There is not a bad track among the eleven on Love Is Greater Than Me and this CD demonstrates not only that Chris has overcome his devils with love, but also shows why he is considered a guitarist's guitarist.

[ by Robert Buck ]

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