Big Motor means big noise, in a good way. The album cover got my attention. Tattoos? Check. Leather jacket? Check. Feathered rock star cosmic cowboy hat? Check. Subtlety and sensitivity? Uh… never mind. These guys aren’t taking rainchecks or prisoners. This is muscular blues rock that grabs you by the throat and shakes your vertebrae. Hang on to your teeth.
The first thing that intrigued me was Eric’s arsenal of custom resonators. There are few things I love as much as a resonator. Ok, there’s the Hammond B3, but I digress. And the pedal steel guitar…wait, don’t get me sidetracked here. Sardinas plays some mighty fine custom resonators with finesse and a mean slide.
The liner notes contain a dedication from Sardinas to his friend, the late Johnny Winter. That fact sets the recording in context, as Sardinas comes from the same side of the musical tracks as his friend. Winter, like Rory Gallagher, could play the blues straight, or load up the riffs and get a heavy blues rock groove going. This album finds Sardinas on the heavy rock side of the blues, and that is a good thing. This is a full tilt boogie production, no time to waste.
The album kicks off with “Run, Devil, Run” and the raw sound of the slide, just moments before the band jumps in with a solid bottom end, courtesy of bandmates Levell Price on bass and Bryan Keeling on drums. Sardinas’ brash, snarling vocal, lets you know immediately that he isn’t the apologetic sort.
Keeling’s drumming puts the boom in “Boomerang,” laying a solid foundation for the others to work off of. Sardinas has definitely got the chops, his slide technique is flawless, and backs his blues man’s bravado to the hilt. He also has the good sense to know how to push the fretwork to the edge without going over it and detracting from the song itself.
Highlights include the opening track “Run Devil Run,” “If You Don’t Love Me,” and the familiar Lieber/Stoller gem, “Trouble.”