This November, Steve Junot is making big waves in the blues underground with the release of his new album Last Shot, and for those who follow the blues underground and some of the trends it’s been producing, it comes as no surprise that the tracklist of this release is jam-packed with some of the most polished guitar play of the season thus far. Ever since the end of the last decade, this scene has been getting better with its frenzied-fret blues attack, and in Last Shot, we get to hear just how proficient this particular player can become when he has all of his passion culminating in the studio beside a band like the Infamous.
It’s a new highpoint in a year that has been full of hits, and a record that I would tell blues fans young and old to get ahold of right now. It’s not all guitar pride and pomp in Last Shot; in fact, there are a few tracks on this record that are defined by other elements altogether. The harmonies are a big draw in “Love is Like a Hurricane,” “In the Morning” and “Won’t Be That Bad to You,” while Junot’s vocal is the brightest star in the sky during “Neutral Ground” and “Ain’t Got to Be So Crazy.” The guitar parts are the most consistently exciting component of the music, but don’t let their flamboyance fool you – Steve Junot doesn’t shortchange us on any fronts in Last Shot. Some time and love went into making this a stately LP, and it was certainly well worth the effort.
I’d like to hear Junot explore the soul influences in his sound a little more than he already does in this album because they make for some of the most interesting moments in his music. “God Can’t Help Me,” “Love is Like a Hurricane,” and “My Home” are a triple-helping of soul swagger, and if they were released as independent singles I think they would win a lot of favor for their creator among such circles in the business. If there’s one paramount element that Junot wanted us to take away from this record, it’s a sense of his versatility as a songwriter, which he shows off quite liberally everywhere from “Wait” and “Love is Like a Hurricane” to “She Only Loves Me When She’s Drunk” and “Love is Like a Hurricane.”
To be completely honest, I’m not usually a big blues guy, but Last Shot is just too good for any music lover to pass up this November. It’s an album riddled with lusty lead guitars and vocals as virtuosic as the string play that accompanies them, and even though both of these attributes could be regarded as a little old-fashioned, that’s exactly what makes them as charming as they are. Steve Junot is a blues player making music without any sort of socially-mandated rulebook as a compass; he’s letting his heart lead the way and producing records like this one that will likely stand the test of time because of it.
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