If T-Bone Walker was still alive, he'd be playin' the blues like Roy Gaines. Gaines has taken his time with Walker, woodshed his guitar between Texas and Los Angeles, and is now turning heads wherever he plays. Huge Texas horns, soulful vocals and aggressive guitar playing are indications that Gaines learned his lessons well. Roy was the surprise find at blues festivals in 1999; in 2000 'New Frontier Lover' will also be the discovery and top blues fans' "best of" lists. - Art Tipaldi, Blues Revue
Roy Gaines proves he's still riding high with the release of the long-awaited New Frontier Lover on Severn Records. New Frontier Lover showcases Gaines' versatility as guitarist, singer and songwriter and treats listeners to a variety of searing originals penned by Roy over the past few decades. "Throughout the album I tried to tie together all styles of blues from the beginning of the 20th century to today," says Roy. From the opening notes of the title track there's no doubt this Texas bluesman has done just that. The number pulses along with a funk-driven bass line punctuated by the one-two punch of the horns that drive Roy's forceful vocals and biting guitar licks. Juxtapose that with "You Can't Make Nobody Love You," a song reminiscent of Gaines' long time mentor T-Bone Walker. And there's Roy's poignant interpretation of "The World's Biggest Fool" a song he co-wrote with former manager Audry Williams, wife of the late Hank Williams, Sr. Here you find Roy lamenting about a lost love and his impending demise: "Above this river here I stand, with your picture in my hand, no more cheatin' love can I stand, for the world's 'bout to lose it's biggest fool." The lone instrumental on the disc, "Roy's Theme," is a blues shuffle that clips along at a fevered pace showcasing Roy's prowess on the fretboard. Gaines rounded up Severn's all-star team of Steve Gomes (bass), Robb Stupka (drums) and Benjie Porecki (keys) for New Frontier Lover. In addition, Severn's harmonica ace Steve Guyger is featured on a couple of numbers including "My Woman, My Blacksnake and Me" and the closing track "Roll Your Own Biscuit" where Roy trades licks with Guyger and guest keyboardist David Maxwell. Raised in Houston, Texas, Gaines displayed the ability for music early on. His mother encouraged music in the house and purchased a piano when Roy was a child. "I played piano from ages six until about fourteen," recalls Roy. "I switched to guitar after I saw how my brother Grady, who plays saxophone, would get all the girls by walking around the club while playing. I said 'Boy, I want some of those girls!' and made the switch to guitar."
After a failed marriage at the age of 16, Gaines headed to California where he found himself thrust into the world of late night bars and touring with Roy "Pops" Milton. But this was just the beginning for Roy. His dossier reads like a who's who of blues and jazz performers. He toured and recorded with blues greats like Chuck Willis ("C.C. Rider") and Ray Charles and did session work for the likes of Bobby "Blue" Bland and Junior Parker among many others. And Roy's no stranger to the Hollywood scene either lending his talents to the motion pictures "How Many Roads" and "The Color Purple" which led to several television commercials including spots for AT&T and Coors Brewing Company. All of this good fortune allowed Roy to open Gainesville, a nightclub, restaurant and recording studio that lasted for 11 years. "I had a good thing going, but couldn't keep it running," he remembers. In 1996, completely broke at age 60, Gaines released the last recording he made at Gainesville, Lucille Work for Me. That release combined with Bluesman for Life (1998) gave Roy the long overdue recognition he deserved. He spent most of 1999 touring the festival circuit only to find himself back in the studio after Severn Records approached him with a recording deal.
In addition to two awards in 1999 (a Handy for "Most Deserving of Wider Recognition" and Living Blues "Comeback Artist of the Year") Roy has received two 2001 W. C. Handy Awards nominations as "Contemporary Blues-Male Artist of the Year" and "Blues Instrumentalist-Guitar". Proof positive that Roy Gaines is one to be reckoned with as he carves out a New Frontier for blues lovers around the globe.
Thanks to God Almighty, who has the power to make these songs fly high like an eagle over the blues world and into the hearts of true blues lovers everywhere.
Thanks to all the fine musicians who played on this CD. What a time, blues cats! Special thanks to Benjie Porecki, for arranging the rhythm tracks and playing the piano and organ to the max; Steve Gomes, for coming up with those great bass lines and making this CD groove; to Robb Stupka, for traveling all the way from Minneapolis to Millersville, MD, to set this music in the pocket once and for all; and to the special guests, Big Joe Maher, Steve Guyger, and David Maxwell.
Thanks to Eric, the engineer, a great all-around technician, who had the personality and ability to focus on my lyrics and the music during this project.
Thanks to David Earl for having the foresight to record this CD in the first place and to rerecord it a second time. All the preparation, hard work, and expense has proven to be worth it. You have helped me make the best recording in my career. So I call this Double Dealing, with a double thanks to you David.
Thanks to Carolyn Washington, my daughter, for turning this record deal and for writing the credits for the project. Thanks to Frances Middleton for her support throughout this project and for typing the lyrics.
Special thanks to Gatemouth Brown and his manager Jim Bateman for their help and support in my career.
Thanks to Randy Santos for the photography. The pictures by the truck brought tears to my eyes because it reminded me of when I first learned to drive my dad's truck at the age of 12. Also thanks for using your beautiful home as a location for the shot on the CD cover.
My special thanks to Mrs. Audry Williams, the wife of Hank Williams, Sr., who is deceased, for giving me a batch of songs during the time that she was my personal manager. One of the songs was "The World's Biggest Fool." After rewriting it in a blues format, I decided to record the song. Mrs. Williams used to tell me that she picked a lot of songs for Hank Sr. to record, including "Lovesick Blues." Therefore, my unseen faith tells me that since she chose "World's Biggest Fool" for me, it's going to be the World's Greatest Hit for Severn Records. I still love and thank her for recording and producing me in Nashville, Tennessee.
My special thanks to Rose Marie McCoy for writing over 100 songs with me through the years. Now having this chance to record one of our songs, "What's the Reason," makes me very happy. The song shows the great lyrics and music that we've created together for more than 40 years. Again, I extend my warmest appreciation for your being a part of this project, Rose.
My warmest thanks to Mr. Rick Masten, who gave me two songs when I was in Monterey Peninsula College in 1963. We met and collaborated in writing folk songs. I always liked the story of Pioneer, which I rewrote and now call "New Frontier Lover" more than 20 years later. We have a chance to see the power of our words and music work magic again with "Hind Ends and Elbows." At that time we never dreamed it would take this long. I thank you, and I enjoy sharing this stage of my life with you once again.
Roy Gaines: Vocals and Guitar Benjie Porecki: Keyboards Steve Gomes: Bass Robb Stupka: Drums Joe Maher: Drums (Texas Millionaire) David Maxwell: Piano (cuts 9, 10,11,12) Steve Guyger: Harmonica (cuts 10, 12) Chris Walker: Trumpet Bill Moore: Trumpet Scott Young: Tenor Sax Scott Silbert: Baritone Sax Steve Williams: Baritone Sax John Jensen: Trombone
Produced by David Earl & Roy Gaines Executive Producer: David Earl Recorded and Mixed at Omega Studios, Rockville, MD Engineered by Eric Lemley Mastered by Charlie Pilzer at Airshow Mastering, Springfield, VA Horn Arrangements: John Jensen Photography/Digital Enhancement: Randy Santos CD Design: Copeland Design, Inc.