CD Review: Tom Guerra “Trampling Out the Vintage”

Connecticut-based guitarist and singer Tom Guerra has spent many years playing in a rock band called Mambo Sons. Together, the trio that also includes vocalist/bassist Scott Lawson, and drummer Joe “the Cat” Lemieux has released several albums. Those releases featured music that combine rock and roll with a large amount of blues influence. The band last released an album back in 2009 which was a double CD release called Heavy Days. Since then, however, the trio has been silent.

But that changed recently when guitarist and singer Tom Guerra went out on his own and released a solo project. Back in 2014, Guerra celebrated the release of the album All of the Above. While Mambo Sons created music that was heavily blues-based, Guerra decided to incorporate more influences into his sound. The more influences, the better-rounded the style of Guerra’s sound. And while Guerra does include more influences, he has also decided to take his music in a much more Classic Rock type of direction.

Two years have passed since the release of that album. Now, Guerra is back with yet another solo album. For the new release, Tom Guerra turned to Kenny Aaronson on bass guitar; Morgan Fisher on piano; Mike “Doubledog” Kosacek on drums and percussion; and Matt Zeiner on piano and Hammond Organ. Together, they make Guerra’s new album come alive. The new release from Tom Guerra is entitled Trampling Out the Vintage.

Trampling Out the Vintage begins with the track “All Purpose Song”. The track finds Guerra creating a song that would have existed back in the seventies alongside people like Bob Seger. The track features a very strong, driving feel to the music that revolves mainly around the guitar from Tom Guerra. However, the track also features a strong piano part that is as essential to the track as the guitar is. In fact, it truly is the piano that is the standout instrument on the track. “All Purpose Song” is a great song for those looking for the sound of the seventies. The track, however, is not the “all-purpose song” that the track itself actually describes. So just keep looking.

The new release from Tom Guerra continues with the song “Dr. Nick and Elvis”. The track is another that features a strong, driving pace to the music. The style of the guitar playing on the track and the feel of the lyrical delivery as well as the production quality on the guitar solo all add up to track that seems to scream Marc Bolan and his British Glam Rock band T-Rex. The song would easily stand up next to that band’s hit single of “Bang a Gong”.

The style of the music changes dramatically on the next track. For the song “Tell the World,” Tom Guerra finds himself being influenced by the likes of bands like The Raspberries.  That band shaped the sound of their music around the sound of the music being brought into the United States from England during the British Invasion. On “Tell the World,” Guerra’s song features the jangly feel of the guitars that were present within The Raspberries’ songs like “I Wanna Be with You” or “Go All the Way”. With the track’s commercial feel, “Tell the World” would have fit well with other songs on AM radio back in the seventies.

With the track of “BYOB,” Tom Guerra creates a track that takes his style back just a little bit from the style of “Tell the World”. “BYOB” feels and sounds as if the track would have been perfect for the time of the “Summer of Love”. In fact, the mindset of the lyrics comes across as being close to “free Love” as “BYOB” stands for “bring your own buzz”. As far as the music, the song sounds as if it had been influenced by the 60s era Rolling Stones.

One of the strongest tracks on Trampling Out the Vintage is the song “Pay in Blood”. The track is also one of the most unusual as the song alternates between one style and another. At one point, the music on the track feels like it would fit inside of the musical style of 70s Classic Rock. And when the track enters the refrain section, Guerra creates a musical and lyrical style that is undoubtedly very Zappa-esque in nature. The refrain feels as if it was influenced by songs from Frank Zappa such as “The Torture Never Stops,” one of Zappa’s darker songs.

For the track of “Supermoon,” Tom Guerra seems to invoke the style of Tom Petty. In fact, the song contains the style of Petty while he was part of the Supergroup The Traveling Wilburys. The track’s refrain even sounds as if Petty could have been joined by the rest of that band as they sang the lyrics of that refrain. The guitar solo even feels like something from Petty.

For his new release of Trampling Out the Vintage, Tom Guerra does a great job of using the various influences he has picked up throughout the years. The resulting album’s 10 tracks are widely varied from one track to the next while they still contain a solid Rock and Roll base. Guerra has put out yet another album that would be very welcome in any Rock and Roll listener’s music collection.

To check out the music from Tom Guerra, check out the song “Pay in Blood“.

To purchase a copy of Trampling Out the Vintage from Tom Guerra, click on the album cover below.

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