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J. Sintoni – A Better Man

Self Release 2012

10 tracks; 46.48 minutes

J. Sintoni is a 38 year old Italian who has been playing the blues in Italy since his early twenties and has played with or opened for American artists as diverse as Poppa Chubby, Grayson Capps and John Hammond. This is his second CD and it is good to see that all the material is original. J. (we are not told his actual name) provides all guitars and vocals, Andrea Taravelli plays bass and Carmine Bloisi drums. Electric piano is added to two tracks by Andrea Spadaro. All lyrics are in English and J. sings well with almost no trace of accent. The album was recorded in Italy in 2011 and is available from CD Baby.

The opening track “A Better Man” sets the tone for the album with tasteful guitar and a solid rhythm section providing good support. J’s lyrics here are fine but on the second track he falls into what, for me, is the main weakness of the album, lyrics that are really too ‘wordy’. The opening lines are a good example: “I keep on falling to this earth from the perfect skies of my dreams; every morning you save my life protecting me from the ground of reality”. The music to this song (entitled “Don’t Wanna Be Nice”) is more aggressive in style although much of the album is quieter, as demonstrated by “Consequence” which has some delightful guitar that recalls Mark Knopfler. The one track on which J. collaborates in the writing is “The Lady Is A Carpenter (Hot Glue)” which I found quite odd in terms of the lyrics, the ‘hot glue’ of the subtitle apparently being the lady carpenter’s preference over screws. The song also lists several types of wood that a carpenter might use – not your usual blues lyrics! The music however, is certainly blues with some strong King influences, both Albert and BB to my ears.

The album continues with “Love Should Never Lose” which is a classic slow blues tune. There is a little more evidence of overwriting the lyrics but the playing is excellent. “Good Vibe” is an instrumental with a stop/start rhythm and a wah-wah solo before we hear “The Wish” which again has some superb, restrained guitar with a touch of latin feel. “Get Down” sounds like a song that will fill the dance floor but is in fact a ballad introduced by acoustic guitar before a country influenced electric guitar appears. A nice tune and a lyric that is exemplified by the chorus: “All we need is to get down and walk like a simple man”. “Two Feet” is back in blues territory with a nice shuffle and the album closes with a long instrumental entitled “Song For Stevie And Jimi” which, not surprisingly, sounds like “Little Wing” meets “Riviera Paradise”, all very well played and quite fun to listen for the SRV and Hendrix tricks. There is also a short hidden track with a spoken (female) vocal over some background acoustic slide guitar.

J. Sinoni is an accomplished guitarist who demonstrates here a mastery of several styles within and beyond the blues. The CD is well recorded and produced and merits serious consideration from those who enjoy well played blues and rock at the lighter end of the spectrum.

Reviewer John Mitchell is a blues enthusiast based in the UK. He also travels to the States most years to see live blues music and enjoyed the Tampa Bay Blues Festival in April.

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