After an afternoon of wandering around and catching bits and pieces of shows, talking to old friends and making new ones, it was time to see another true guitar slinger. Everyone expected GEORGE LYNCH to shred the guitar like he’s been doing for years and he didn’t disappoint.
Lynch immediately gave the crowd a thrill in the form of surprise guest singer DEREK ST. HOLMES. Derek didn’t smile when he walked through the crowd (or while being asked unwanted questions by a reviewer), but once he hit the stage, he turned on his entertainer mode and was as animated as most musicians.
St. Holmes’ strong voice complemented Lynch’s mannerisms on the ax as they played ALBERT KING’S “Born Under a Bad Sign.” Guitar solos and a dual guitar jam added a thrilling overtone to the classic blues hit.
A strong drum beat led off “Crossroads” before George took over with an electric solo that made the song his own. He and Derek joined together for a two-headed attack before their dueling solos thrilled the appreciative fans. The two music masters expertly covered “Baby Please Don’t Go” by THEM.
Lynch, in his customary camouflage pants, explored the stage and moved to the music he was making while playing the fret bar with both hands. He shined on his individual picking as he put his whole body into the rocking song.
The next number began with a jam, then segued into a raucous version of “Red House.” The audience loved the cover of the JIMI HENDRIX hit as the bass player showed the importance of the bass on the blues.
Lynch played to the crowd for the last two songs as they played parts of one song before transitioning into parts of another. St. Holmes came to the front of the stage while George moved back and forth and covered every available open spot.
Derek then asked, “Can we try something we ain’t done before?” and the fans screamed a unified “Hell yeah!” I looked at the sound tech who threw up his hands in the air and told me, “Now, they’re just making up shit!” It may have been played on the spur of the moment, but the individual instrumentals and the jam that followed started a cheer that kept getting louder as they left the stage.
A quick set change then brought out the vastly underrated CHRIS DUARTE to the stage. The native Texan opened with his trio playing before he showed off his finger-picking style in the first of many dynamic solos. Dave Bowen pounded a solid drum beat as Chris became playful by utilizing only the lower end of the fret bar.
Duarte spoke of paying tribute to the greats who helped pave the way before him. “It’s On The Wall” conveys those feelings and the hard-edge strings he plucked made an impact on the crowd, as did the powerful finish. It continued into “A Letter to My Girlfriend” with its upper fret chords forming the basis of the blues song.
Chris’ songs fit his voice well, as in “Angry Man.” Matt Temple’s blues bass enhanced the quality of the sound, as did Dave’s compelling beat. Stretched-out notes made an exhilarating intro to “Show Me That You Want It.” The difficult chord change shifted a solo into a jam to finish the passionate song.
Duarte pulled songs from his extensive backlog that let the three men show off their talents. The well-rehearsed band worked hard to keep up as Chris changed chords and switched from lyrics to instrumentals, then turned solos into jams. His impressive fingering on the guitar neck increased the tempo on the next two songs and that let Matt and Dave shine next to Chris’s amazing talent.
Love for THE BEATLES came to the forefront as Dave thumped a marching beat for their interpretation of “For No One.” It came across as a crowd-pleaser and led into “The Midnighter’s Song,” an old blues standard that used the blues-rocker’s solo as the second verse.
The expanding audience roared as soon as he introduced “Big Leg Woman.” An aggressive bass and booming drum beat accompanied the hollow-string sound of Duarte’s riff. It was the perfect lead-in for the rocking blues “I Can’t Quit It” that kept the crowd dancing as they do at all of his shows.
Time was winding down on his two-hour set as the sun beat down on the stage. Chris was sweating like a Swede with a jalapeno enema, but it acted like rocket fuel as he took his performance to another level. A Southwest Airlines jet soared through the air as a background to the stage and made the hard notes seem more appropriate.
Slow, individual notes preceded a complex chord maneuver into a compelling solo. Dave and Matt again added excellence that showed why power trios have been a staple of the blues genre.
Duarte was then proud to pull out his first-ever guitar and tell how he got it as a kid. Tuning it turned into a few notes which turned into a solo that sounded as good as any all weekend. He was still bouncing on his toes after two hours of soaking up the sun as it’s in his DNA to give everything he’s got whenever he’s performing onstage.
This concluded the second day’s events and the fans could not have asked for more. Stay tuned for Part III of the 2017 Dallas International Guitar Festival.
LIVE IMAGES: GUZPIX
LIVE WORDS: DAVID SIMERS