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Chris Yakopcic - Done Found My Freedom 'Fore My Technique

Self Released

10 tracks

Chris Yakopcic is an ambitious and accomplished solo acoustic guitar player. He represented Western Pennsylvania in the IBC's last month. His guitar style is very traditional and the songs are all well done originals. His finger picking is quite good and he claims to be a student of the Piedmont and Delta styles; he's apparently learned well. His style of guitar work is very much fresh and raw and in a down home style and I was impressed with his abilities.

The CD opens with one of my favorite tracks on the album. "99 Juke Joints" is a catchy song where he blends guitar and vocals into a timeless and well constructed cut. He follows that with "Hard Soled Shoe", another great track, where he masterfully picks the strings and bangs on his guitar's body while soulfully singing about his baby.

Vocally, I had a few reservations with most of the rest of the tracks, but I checked out live versions on line and listened in a few formats to see what I could find out. While I listened on my stereo and in my car several of the tunes on the CD seemed to get just a little off key here and there occasionally. On my headphones it was less off but it was still there. I think he was straining to get more bluesy and the stress put his voice on the edge of getting flat. The live performances on his site and Youtube of the same songs were much more on, less nasal and more focused.

The closing track features some dirty harp work by Chris. He really stays true to the roots of this kind of music with a raw and energized approach. He's quite the musician!

The songs he's written are all excellent. His work on the acoustic guitar is really tight. The vocals stain just a bit here and there, but overall he's trying hard and with some more effort I am sure he will get it all together. There is a lot of potential here and I think with the right vocal work he can become a top-notch acoustic bluesman. Hell, even given the minor vocal fluctuations here and there, one can see that this is a very talented young man who can put on a great show!

Reviewer Steve Jones is secretary of the Crossroads Blues Society and is a long standing blues lover. He is a retired Navy commander who served his entire career in nuclear submarines. In addition to working in his civilian career, he writes for and publishes the bi-monthly newsletter for Crossroads, chairs their music festival and work with their Blues In The Schools program.

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