|Cleveland born guitarist and singer songwriter, Alex Lopez, who has established himself as a prominent figure on the Florida blues scene, returns with his fifth album Rising Up, striving for a stronger more authentic sound of straight-ahead blues. rock and soul. The eleven tracks of original material feature Lopez and his band, The Xpress, a tight, dynamic quartet of Lopez on guitar and vocals with Kenny Hoye on keyboards, Steve Roberts on bass and drummer Kana Leimbach. Gulf coast singers , Latonya Oliver from the Soul Sensations, and Dana Merriwether add sweet background vocals to the title track. Co-producer, engineer and “preacher at the big electric church,” George Harris, out of Creative World Recording Studios in Tampa, also lent his acclaimed guitar playing and songwriting skills to the project and captured the songs in a live off-the-floor style.
TRACK NOTES FROM ALEX
Light It Up is built around a blues riff and progression and created as an homage to my heroes Led Zeppelin and their approach to blues/rock. My producer says it is reminiscent of the classic blues rock vibe.
Paradise is a live song favorite because of its driving shuffle beat, this simple almost anthemic song quickly got identified with finding a better life and making it through to the other side.
Rising Up, the center piece of the album, is about arising from the ashes after being kicked down. What I love about the song is that it’s all there – a great groove, a killer riff, a blues approach, and a progressive middle – plus a gospel chorus to go with the message.
Not This Time – no blues album would be complete without a slow blues. This one is in 6/8 time, which gives it a great feel. The other thing I wanted is for it to be dynamic and build to a closing crescendo.
I’m Always Wrong is the “surprise” track on the album. This is a very traditional jazz blues song written with the intent to capture that Sinatra, Buddy Rich, big band vibe with a 4-piece band ensemble. I love the production. I wanted to show that when it comes to the blues, I can play it all.
Even Up The Score is the blues rock center piece of the album. I wanted to capture the essence of Cream with a modern sound. The riff is mesmerizing, and the guitar work is my favorite from the album. It’s straightforward blues rock.
Anymore – I really love this song, it was a production challenge to get it exactly right. How do you get all that stuff in there and not sound muddy and how do you keep a simple song interesting? This song always gets an amazing response from audiences when we play it live and could be the “commercial” song of the album.
Mountain Rain – this is your palate cleanser or respite on the album. I always have at least one acoustic song on an album(I love the way the old Led Zep albums mixed those great acoustic songs on those heavy albums) and Mountain Rain fit perfectly as it’s about redemption and second chances.
Blues In My Groove – So I wanted to write a funky blues dance song that we could play live (there really are not that many) and the fans could get up and really have fun. Blues in my groove is just that and every time we’ve played it, the aisles and the dance floor are filled with people grooving to the music.
Falling is a blues shuffle with a surprise jazzy ending. I really enjoy this song as it was approached differently than the others – very old school. I think this could’ve been on an 80’s blues album.
Smile – There is a great story behind this song. First, I wrote it when I was 16 or so and recorded it on my 2nd album as a 3-piece many years ago. But the recording was live and poorly done and for years my band has told me “you need to re-do that song, it’s the one.” I re-worked the song a couple years ago and the masters disappeared! I was going to re-record it and put it on “Yours Truly Me,” but I was not happy with the recording. But the band persisted that this was a great song and live audiences always love it, so here it is. I think it’s really a blend of pop, rock, and blues with a cool vibe. I finally have a recording of it I like.
Alex Lopez is an acclaimed guitarist, prolific songwriter and emerging artist recognized for his electrifying live performances. Critics have said he is “capable of revitalizing the blues for a new generation” and he is quickly taking the blues/rock scene by storm.
Born in the heartland of Rock n Roll Cleveland Ohio, Alex started playing keyboards before becoming inspired by British blues/rock bands to master the guitar. Influenced by greats like Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and Jimi Hendrix, Alex spent young adulthood performing in clubs and recording original songs in small studios while polishing his songwriting skills. Since his move to Florida to attend college, Alex spent years as the vocalist and lead guitarist of the wildly popular rock band Reminiscion, before striking out on his own.
In September of 2013 Alex released the self-produced album “Back Bedroom Blues” a collection of all original blues and blues/rock songs on which he played all instruments and introduced his formidable skills as a blues guitarist and singer/songwriter. In 2015 Alex Lopez released his second CD “Is it a Lie” with his newly formed band “The Xpress” to excellent reviews. His third album, “Slowdown” achieved a new level of success with international recognition and critical acclaim rising up the blues, jam and Americana charts with worldwide airplay and earning Alex fans across the globe. The latest recently released album “Yours Truly, me…” went to #6 on the blues/rock Radio charts and clearly positioned Alex to continue his ascent in blues rock.
With his seasoned band The Xpress, Alex has performed at festivals through-out the Southeast as well as performing concerts at prestigious venues and theatres. He has dates planned around release time. Info @ https://www.alexlopezmusic.com/tour.