Hamilton Loomis – Give It Back (2013)

I guess Houston-born Hamilton Loomis is compared a lot to Gary Clark Jr. but that’s not quite fair to Loomis. Sure, like Clark, he has formitable guitar chops. And on his new release Give It Back, Loomis is not afraid to show them — but he’s truly a complete artist.

On this release, Loomis signs in an unassuming yet forceful blues voice. He is both soulful yet forceful in his vocal delivery. His vocal approach is similar to a John Mayer or Doyle Bramhall II. His guitar approach recalls Robert Cray at his most soulful. Loomis is a tasteful and restrained player, not showing all his bag of tricks — though there’s no doubt he has a bag. Additionally, Loomis is a fine song craftsman. Of course, his songs touch on the age-old blues topics of lust, lost and betrayal, but Loomis is convincing in his delivery. The songs are mostly upbeat and encompass many pop elements over the blues foundation.

Adding to Loomis’ formidable guitar chops is his expressive blues harp playing and a rock sold band featuring Armando Aussenac on drums and vocals, Fabian Hernandez of sax and keyboards and Dante Ware on bass and vocals. Bassist Victor Wooten (Bela Fleck and the Flecktones) also makes a cameo appearance on the title track. Together, they provide a sympathetic building block for Loomis. The production is unobtrusive and comtempoary, though the use of the L.A.-sounding female background vocals on some of the tracks is unnecessary.

Standout tracks include “Eternally,” with its moving and upbeat Memphis soul sound and distorted guitar solos; “Castle,” with a slow and expressive Clapton-like solo and funky bass line; “Partner in Crime,” with its burning funky vocal, bass and talk box guitar interplay; and “High” with its effective and passionate blues harp interplay. The results on Give it Back amount to some very hot blues on these cold winter nights.

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Preston Frazier

Preston Frazier is a bass-playing lawyer living in Chicago. His first Steely Dan exposure was with an eight-track cassette of 'Pretzel Logic.' He can be reached at slangofages@icloud.com; follow him on Twitter: @slangofages. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.