Why Did You Have To Go is the highly anticipated second release by critically acclaimed Blues pianist Anthony Geraci, and Anthony’s first on Shining Stone Records, This electrifying performance of Anthony’s thirteen original compositions features an extraordinary array of musicians: Sugaray Rayford, Ronnie Earl, Sugar Ray Norcia, Monster Mike Welch, Jimi Bott, Michael â€œMudcatâ€ Ward, Kid Ramos, Michelle Evil Gal Willson, Sax Gordon, Willie Laws, Dennis Brennan, Marty Richards, Doug Woolverton, Willie J. Campbell, Troy Gonyea, Willie J. Laws, Troy Gonyea, Brian Templeton and Neil Gouvin.
Art Tipaldi, the Editor of Blues Music Magazine:
â€œItâ€™s been said often that oneâ€™s reputation is determined by the people one picks as friends and collaborators. If true, then count Anthony Geraci as one well respected musician. Geraci has spent most of the last four decades climbing into the rarified air of the blues. In the nascent days of the 1970s Boston blues scene, Geraci learned from keyboard mentors like David Maxwell, Ron Levy, and Al Copley who thrived in the New England blues scene back in the early 1970s. Next, Geraci was the first to play keys with Ronnie Earlâ€™s Broadcasters and Sugar Ray Norciaâ€™s Bluetones. Throughout the decades, Geraciâ€™s dedication to mastering the intricacies of the blues piano burned in his soul, which led to Geraci searching out elders in the genre like Pinetop Perkins and Henry Gray to assimilate the traditions into modern outlooks.
The most important lesson Geraci absorbed is surrendering the individual to the will of the music. In all his previous recordings, especially his 2015 critically acclaimed Fifty Shades Of Blue (Delta Groove,) Geraci understands the artistic power of sharing the spotlight with an all-star cast of backing musicians.
Two Steps Away From The Blues follows that same blues print. Each song features Geraci enlisting an outstanding cast of artists to paint his musical landscapes. Geraciâ€™s West meets East blues features past members of the Mannish Boys â€“ Kid Ramos (guitar), Willie J. Campbell (bass), Jimi Bott (drums), Sugaray Rayford (vocals)â€“ on five tunes while the Bluetones â€“ Monster Mike Welch (guitar), Troy Gonyea (guitar), Sugar Ray Norcia (vocals), Michael Mudcat Ward (bass), and Neil Gouvin (drums) â€“ blend with New Englanders Ronnie Earl (guitar), Michelle â€œEvil Galâ€ Willson (vocals), Brian Templeton (vocals), Dennis Brennen (vocals), Marty Richards (drums), Sax Gordon (sax), Doug Wolverton (trumpet) on six tunes. Including Geraci, count how many Blues Music Awards and nominations this talented roster has amassed. The real fun comes when Geraci shuffles the players from each coast to ignite the session.
Most exciting is the reunion of the original Sugar Ray and the Bluetones on Geraciâ€™s â€œMy Last Goodbye.â€ At nearly ten minutes of unhurried, emotional blues, the song spotlights Earlâ€™s sharp phrasing combining with Geraciâ€™s tight, Chicago blues keyboard lines that crest to stirring crescendos that ebb and flow into fresh musical vistas. The Bluetones also reunite on the up-tempo â€œTimeâ€™s Running Out.
The unexpected surprise is the after hours testifyinâ€™ on â€œBaptized In The River Yazoo,â€ an intimate duet featuring Texan blues force Willie J. Laws bearinâ€™ witness to Southern folk lore as Geraciâ€™s lonely piano floats out of cotton field churches.
In his performance of various piano styles, Geraci presents listeners with a concise history of the piano in American roots music. From New Orleans-styled R&B â€“ â€œLong Way Homeâ€ â€“ to stylish West coast â€“ â€œAngelina, Angelinaâ€ â€“ to Texas organ trio â€“ â€œDonâ€™t The Grass Look Greenerâ€ â€“ to Chicago blues â€“ â€œMy Last Goodbyeâ€ â€“ to the more modern Blue Note inspired â€œA Minor, AffairAnthony Geraci is right in step with his blues.
Art Tipaldi Editor, Blues Music Magazine