Close As You Get

Gary Moore

Ireland has been home to many great musicians, such as U2 and Van Morrison. The Irish also know the blues, even if the Mississippi Delta is far and away from the streets of Belfast. But that never stopped the likes of guitarists Rory Gallagher and Gary Moore. These days, as we honor Gallagher for a brilliant career cut short in its prime, Moore is still at it. After listening to Close As You Get, his latest CD, one gets a sense that Ireland and the Delta are practically neighbors.

Moore is one of the more underrated guitarists still working today. He’s not always mentioned in the same breath as Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and SRV, but his ability is right up there with the best of them. He’s probably best known for his days backing friend and comrade, the late Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy. As a sort of tribute to a fallen brother, Moore invited Thin Lizzy drummer Brian Downey to play on Close As You Get. Also along for this journey of the blues is Vic Martin on keyboards, Pete Rees on bass, and Mark Feltham on harmonica.

The CD’s opener “If the Devil Made Whiskey,” along with “Hard Times,” sizzle with the kind of tone guitarists search high and low for. A nice rendition of Chuck Berry’s “Thirty Days” and Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Eyesight ToThe Blind” keep the party going. “Trouble At Home” sets up the first round in a series of more soulful songs, while “Evenin’” reminds one of a foggy winter night in some secluded bar where no one knows your name. “I Had A Dream” is another soulful number that brings back memories of past broken relationships. You’ll need a box of Kleenex to get through this one.

If you liked Moore's album from 1990, Still Got The Blues, you won’t be disappointed with Close As You Get. Having worked with BB King, Albert Collins, and Albert King, Moore knows the blues inside out. He introduces different tempos and stylized renditions that build on basic blues patterns. Some may call this CD a drowning-your-sorrows-cause-my-girl-done-me-wrong-and-left-me kind of blues. Perhaps, it has something to do with the melancholy of the Irish. But if Belfast’s native son Gary Moore keeps putting out records like this, he should be doing anything but crying the blues.

~ Alex Jacard

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