Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Tommy Guerrero

From the Soil to the Soul

Tommy Guerrero is a street-savvy guitarist whose songwriting falls somewhere between Tortoise and Santana. Each number flows with the same stylish enthusiasm with which he bombed Bay Area hills as a pro skater, but his recordings are often backgrounds searching for foregrounds. From the Soil to the Soul rises above by fusing head-nod rhythms with strong vocal elements.

The symphonic stabs in “Badder than Bullets” give angularity to Guerrero’s swaying, Latino reinventions of Kraut rock’s monster grooves.

Lyrics Born’s frenetic mantra in “Let Me in Let Me Out,” and Bing Ji Ling’s soulful croon in “Don’t Fake It” give direction to Guerrero’s arrangements.

Flowing rhythms are Guerrero’s strongest assets, but like dominating the SF hills in days of yore, eventually he bottoms-out. Guerrero gets by with a little help from his friends who give him a lift back to the top.

Chad Radford

(Oringially published by Resonance Magazine, issue no. 52).