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Roy Trevino – Roy Trevino

Troubadour Records

10 Tracks; 43:45

Roy Trevino is a Texas guitar slinger and veteran of the road band Kingpin. Trevino is from South Texas but he studied guitar with a legend of the Northeast, Ronnie Earl. Roy Trevino has also played with Esteban Jordan, Marcia Ball and Chicano bluesman Randy Garibay. Kingpin recorded two albums and often played with Lazy Lester when he would tour in Texas. Roy Trevino has had an eclectic musical education and his music reflects it on his debut album, simply titled Roy Trevino.

Produced by Grammy winner Jim Gaines, the disc, on Troubadour Records, reveals a jack-of-all-trades scattering his talents in a multitude of directions loosely tethered by smooth blues guitar. The band assembled for the album consists of bassist Chris Maresh, who plays Eric Johnson, Church House recording studio owner David Boyle on keyboards, and drummer J.J. Johnson, who has played with John Mayer and is currently a member of the Grammy winning Tedeschi Trucks Band. Producer Jim Gaines has worked with several big names including Stevie Ray Vaughan and Santana, both of whom Trevino counts as major influences.

The Santana influence is apparent in many of the songs. Trevino’s playing is melodic, lyrical, and like Santana, Trevino’s lines slither through the songs like a sidewinder in the Texas desert. His tone is smooth, his fingers are precise and he has a knack for punctuating the lyrics with memorable musical accents. He directly embraces his Mexican/Latin heritage with a trio of songs including the sublime “Sin Ella,” the Jeff Beck-style instrumental ballad “Trinidad” which showcases Trevino’s bent note precision, and “La Luna,” inspired by South Padre Island. Unfortunately, Roy stays in the islands for a rather pointless cover of Bob Marley’s “Lively Up Yourself.” If Trevino wanted to play something funky, I feel sure he could have come up with his own tune as he did on the nine other tracks on Roy Trevino. With an album clocking in at less than 45 minutes, every minute counts and this Marley cover is lackluster filler at best.

“The Boy Can Play” is another misstep with its insipid name checking of famous blues guitarists in the lyrics. I’ve never understood the “name-drop” song. Are the listeners really impressed that you can name a dozen blues legends? I’d be more impressed if you could play the way they did; with originality, character, and finesse. Trevino is clearly a talented guitar player with a killer tone and chops to match but he needs to grow into his own identity and not worry about listing his influences in song. Maybe he just felt a need to pay tribute to his antecedents but it comes out seeming contrived and trite.

Still, two misses out of ten is 80% and that’s pretty good for a first album. Opener “Gloria” is, according to Trevino, his attempt at a blues mass and it incorporates stellar slide guitar, gospel, and down home Texas blues into a stand-out track. “Going Away” explodes with blues power into an AOR rocker, and “Hurricanes” opens with some gritty slide then a Bo Diddley beat and a slinky riff ride the storm out across gulf. Trevino has a Jeff Beck tone in his slide playing on this song, as well as “Gloria” and for all the name-dropping I’d say he’s most influenced by tone masters like Beck, Santana and the guy who regularly employs two of his band mates – Eric Johnson. Trevino’s dedication to tone makes this whole thing worthwhile and keeps it cohesive even though the styles are all over the map.

Reviewer Jim Kanavy is the greatest guitar player in his house. He has been reviewing albums in his head for 30 years and in print since 2008, and is deeply committed to keeping the blues alive and thriving. For more information visit

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