Personnel: Chris Duarte (vocals, guitar); Aaron Haggerty (drums).
Audio Mixer: Jason D'Ottavio.
Recording information: Prairie Sun Studios, Cotati, CA.
Photographer: Ross Pelton.
When some of Chris Duarte's admirers exalted him as "the new Stevie Ray Vaughan" back in the '90s, it was unfair to Duarte as well as to Vaughan's memory. Vaughan was irreplaceable, and expecting Duarte to somehow fill the void that Vaughan left when he died in 1990 is unrealistic. That said, Duarte has made some exciting contributions to blues-rock -- specifically, blues-rock of the Texas variety, and that Lone Star spirit is alive and well on Blues in the Afterburner. Texas, of course, has been a leader in different areas of the blues. Lightnin' Hopkins, Texas Alexander, and Blind Lemon Jefferson are among the icons of pre-rock Texas blues, while the recordings of Vaughan and Johnny Winter are the essence of loud-and-proud Texas blues-rock. Texas has a proud history when it comes to the blues, so why shouldn't Duarte wear his Lone Star heritage like a badge of honor? And that is exactly what he does on this 2011 release. The San Antonio native/Austin resident is as Texas-sounding on "Hold Back the Tears," "Make Me Feel So Right," and "Searching for You" as he is on "I've Been a Fool" and "Black Clouds Rolling," which is not to say that all of his influences are from Texas. Duarte maintains some Jimi Hendrix influence (Hendrix was from Seattle, not Texas) along with his fondness for Vaughan and Winter, but then, Hendrix was also a major influence on Vaughan. And true to form, Duarte is as expressive with his vocals as he is with his electric guitar playing. Blues in the Afterburner is another memorable, inspired album from Duarte. ~ Alex Henderson