As one of the most highly regarded blues singer and guitar slingers in Canada today, British Columbia native David Gogo has long ago proved his mastery of this great American music form. Still, he made a pilgrimage to the cradle of the blues ahead of making his thirteenth long player Come On Down.
Starting out in Memphis, he made his way around Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas. It’s hard to say if Come On Down made him any closer to the heart of the blues when he was already there, his virtuosic electric guitar showing the influence and acumen of buddy Guy and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Taking in the six Gogo originals and six covers — all solid tracks — I’m wondering if Gogo also might have stopped by in Georgia, too, home of the Atlanta Rhythm Section. One of the covers he chose was their 1977 pop hit “So Into You.”
ARS was endowed with quality songwriters in-house, so it’s not uncommon to find the likes of Charlie Daniels, Travis Tritt and Wynonna Judd covering their songs many years after the Doraville, GA band first recorded them. But Gogo’s not part of the country crowd, and he nonetheless saw the Southern blues core of this Top Ten hit. His version is a little less slick but still clean, and with a scoopful more soul, keyed by his fine vocal. Gogo adds something else: an aching, but not overdone blues-drenched guitar that serves to render the mood of the song as much as the lyrics of desire do.
That might be the most appealing thing about Gogo. He sings well without over-emoting, he plays guitar well without having to go over the top and he writes solid songs. And when he not writing solid songs, he adapting over people’s songs and making them David Gogo songs. “So Into You” is so a David Gogo song, now.