Blues guitarist Quinn Sullivan is not even eighteen years old. But even at roughly the tender age of fourteen, this young musician has achieved things of which other musicians his age can only dream. The young man was personally tapped by blues legend Buddy Guy as one of the next big names in the world of blues. And if his new record, Getting There is any indication, the title bestowed on him by Guy might well be deserved. That is as long as he sticks primarily to playing more blues-related material rather than some of the more poppy material included in this record. That he is dealing puberty can be forgiven in terms of his vocals. Once he gets through this stage of his life, his vocals may in fact become just as strong as his guitar playing. And if that happens, fans of the blues may hear even more from him.
Sullivan hints at his abilities in the first two songs on Getting There. But it’s in the album’s title track that he really shines both musically and vocally. The talent that he exhibits here is kind of musicianship not generally expected of someone his age. So to hear the sounds produced by this young man is impressive to say the least. Just as impressive is Sullivan’s vocal style and the song’s lyrics. Instead of being sort of a Johnny Cash tribute, he sings instead that no, he hasn’t been everywhere. But he is getting there. He sings about having gone to this place and that, but knowing he hadn’t been everywhere; though he’s working on it. He sings, “No I ain’t been everywhere/But I’m getting there/No, not yet/But I’m working on it.” The subtle way that last part is added in gives the song just a little more attitude. That extra little attitude will have any listener laughing to themselves because while it is noted in a cocky sense, it isn’t an overly cocky tone. It’s almost as if he’s saying, I know I haven’t gotten there, but I know I will be. It shows that he’s only a teenager, but he’s already getting the confidence of a seasoned veteran musician.
Another moment on this record in which Sullivan really shines comes in ‘Mr. Gloom.’ This is another solid twelve-bar blues style piece that allowed him to exhibit both his talent on the guitar and with his vocals. There are some runs that he hits on his guitar that could almost rival the talents of Stevie Ray Vaughan or perhaps Kenny Wayne Shepherd. Vocally, he is obviously going through puberty. But there’s a certain quality about his vocals that conjures thoughts of Johnny Lang. One can only wonder what his vocals will sound like once he passes puberty and gets older. If this song is any indication, he will definitely have some very strong vocals.
‘Mr. Gloom’ and ‘Getting There’ are just a couple examples of Sullivan’s abilities on this new record. There are many more from which listeners will get to choose. One of those others is ‘Cyclone.’ What makes this song so interesting is yet again he exhibits quite the ability on his instrument in the song’s “A” section. The somewhat chromatic runs by Sullivan, and the solid timekeeping of his drummer conjure thoughts of Van Halen’s ‘Hot For Teacher’ in the song’s “A” section. Give it’s not as hard as the aforementioned song. But there is at least some similarity, interestingly enough. So not only does Sullivan get to shine on this album, so do his band mates. And this is just one example of that. There are other tracks that exhibit his band mates’ talents. All combined, they make Getting There a record that given the right support the record that breaks out this young musician and in fact proves him to be the face of the next generation of the blues. Getting There will be available June 18th. To get the latest news on his new album, live dates, news and more, audiences can “Like” him on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/QuinnSullivanMusic. They can also follow the latest news and more from Quinn on his official website, http://www.quinnsullivanmusic.com.
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