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Gary Allegretto - Many Shades Of Blue

(Big Fiore Records)

Gary Allegretto is a blues singer, songwriter, and harp virtuoso who does a good job covering many roots styles on his latest CD release Many Shades Of Blue. He includes tastes of swampy, greasy, and rocking flavors in both acoustic and electric formats and has the chops and the all-star backing band to make it all happen.

Special guests on the album include heavyweight champs like Ivan Neville, Janiva Magness, Doug Macleod, Rich Delgrasso and John Cephas and their appearances contribute to both Allegretto’s music and his credibility in the blues scene. He has also lived quite a life and has many experiences from which to draw music from, including stints as a backcountry ranger and firefighter, bouncer, cowboy, and ranch hand. These experiences populate Allegretto’s original songs and elevate him over the many acts out there that continually re-work standards.

Allegretto’s songs are authentic and individual at the same time, and that is the most interesting aspect of this record, although he is certainly a hot hand on the harmonica. It is a tough juggling act to remain true to one’s inspirations while finding a unique musical voice, especially in roots styles, but Allegretto makes it look easy.

Enjoy cuts like “Hurry Down The Rounder”, “She Speaks To Me”, and “Good To Go” to get a feel for where he is coming from and where he is going to. Those who are searching new blues material that sounds like the “real” stuff will find Many Shades Of Blue to be an excellent choice to keep their speakers warm on cold winter nights.

Review by Mike O'Cull

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