David Gogo
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Perhaps it's the "outside looking in" perspective of a Canadian bluesman that makes singer/songwriter/guitarist David Gogo's music so effective. His limited touring in the U.S. and difficulty distributing his albums in this country mean that Gogo is unfamiliar to most Americans. But the guitar slinger is well known north of the border, if not a household name. With half a dozen albums in his catalog, he's won awards, appears on television, and tours extensively. Consider him Canada's version of Tinsley Ellis – an honest, hard-working blues-rocker who remains on the verge of a breakthrough by releasing consistently strong material. Why some enterprising American record label doesn't pick up Gogo's discs is unclear, because "Vibe", his first set of all-original material, is a real find.

Working in a typically blustery genre, Gogo's subtle approach and terrific songs make "Vibe" his finest release to date. Horns and female backing vocals are used sparingly to add punch to songs such as the R&B-tinged "Something Ain't Right," the thumping "Cry Harder," and the rocking "Love In The City." (The latter two tracks wouldn't be out of place on a Rolling Stones set from the Eighties.) "Silk and Stone" brings a smidge of New Orleans funk, and "Hit Me From Above" ratchets up the rock to Bad Company/Foghat boogie levels. The late Jeff Healey guests on the opening "She's Alright," a song whose clichéd title belies its rugged melody and taut arrangements.

Gogo's professionalism makes him a blues-rocker you can believe in. The songs are sharp, his solos are restrained, and both are well served by his unpretentious but affective vocals. "Vibe" is worth searching out, and Gogo is only a U.S. tour away from the stateside recognition he deserves.