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6 Degrees Entertainment

Title - ‘Under The Influence’ (Rock Ridge Music)
Artist - Tony Lucca

Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Tony Lucca will release his wonderful album of covers, Under The Influence, this month via Rock Ridge Music - and what a collection it truly is!

A 10-song compilation of tunes by artists that influenced Lucca as a musician and songwriter, Under The Influence (produced by Mike Vizcarrais) follows on the heels of 2010’s highly-acclaimed Rendezvous With The Angels.

The albums starts with the harrowing, albeit just two minutes long Crosby, Stills & Nash track 'Find The Cost Of Freedom,' before a grounded 'State Trooper' (Bruce Springsteen) comes forth. A song originally from The Boss's infamous Nebraska album, here Lucca turns it more folky, bringing it down a grunt or three.

On 'Dirty Work' from Steely Dan, which originally featured a wicked sax solo by Jerome Richardson, he works it well - and it could well be the best song on the album! 'Grandma's Hands,' a song written by Bill Withers in 1971 about his own grandmother is brought to life again here on Under The Influence. Complete with acoustic guitar backbone, Lucca makes the song his own.

Led Zeppelin's 'That's The Way,' originally from their infamous Led Zeppelin III (1970) has Lucca taking us to a moment by a river, a girl crying and the incongruity of life and death. Lacking the Plant vocal depth, it isn't as good, but then again, what could be?! 'You Got Lucky' from Tom Petty (originally the first single from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' album Long After Dark) contains a nice Lucca lyrical interpretation, before the fun, and spot on 'Baby Driver' (Simon & Garfunkel).

Next is 'Waiting On A Friend,' which the Rolling Stones originally recorded in March thru May of 1970, and finished later on in April 1981(!). That is followed by 'Angel' by Jimi Hendrix, but the trouble is that, and for my money only, of course, on his version of both Lucca struggles. "Angel came down from heaven yesterday, Stayed with me just long enough For afternoon tea" - well, if Hendrix had come down, perhaps he'd have got Lucca more impassioned about his musical work of art!

The album closes with the vocal-only track 'Dirt Floor.' At just under two minutes long, the Chris Whitley song, himself an excellent slide guitarist with a confident, velvet curviness that once varied high, lonesome country with moaning country blues, under the influence of Tony Lucca is one that shamefully pales in comparison. A tribute to Whitley, perhaps, but one that he would raise his glass to, doubtful.

Reviewed by: Russell A. Trunk

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