Album Review of

Written by Joe Ross
May 6, 2021 - 4:27pm EDT
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Born in London, guitarist Jack de Keyzer moved to Canada at an early age. Tribute features a dozen originals that reveal his blues, funk, and rock influences. Before leaving England, de Keyzer had been inspired by Cliff Richard, a musician kind of like an English Elvis. De Keyzer started playing rock ‘n’ roll, blues and R&B, and at age 18 turned pro when he started performing with blues harmonica player King Biscuit Boy. Surprisingly, Tribute doesn’t include any harmonica, but the guitarist and vocalist gets ample support from Nick Succi (piano, organ), Richard Thornton (sax, congas, percussion) Alan Duffy (bass) and Peter Grimmer (drums). De Keyzer’s intense vocals and stinging guitar fills and solos reveal a surprising variety of blues and rock inspirations such as Clapton, Hendrix, Bloomfield and Page.

De Keyzer’s twelfth album opens with “Are You Ready?” a raucous exclamation that we’re ready to shake it up, break it down and boogie all night long. Tribute has a dozen strong new songs, including old-school blues “On the Money” where the frontman channels Clapton. “Shake What Your Mama Gave You” seems inspired by a more free-form style such as one heard from Cream, and “Forever” displays elements of Santana. “Let’s Do It” begins with a riff reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix. “Supernatural” is another favorite, with the guitarist showing a mellower side and trading licks between acoustic and electric guitars. “If My Baby Left Me” is a song in the style of electric Chicago blues and shows a good familiarity with Otis Rush. The brilliant coloring of Succi’s organ is perfect “Just for the Funk” while “That’s How We Make Love” has jazzy elements a la George Benson with guitar fluidity and a relaxed, yet dynamic, vocal presence.

De Keyzer once explained that his approach to songwriting is pretty basic – he usually comes up with a song title, and if it’s evocative enough, then the words just come tumbling out. That’s the case with songs like “You Turned My World to Blue” and “Keep the Fire Burning.”  De Keyzer has already won two JUNO Awards, and Tribute may very well win him another since it so masterfully emphasizes his creative side and well-grounded foundation. I enjoyed this groove of new music de Keyzer’s got going on Tribute, a compelling set of varied blues and blues-rock.  (Joe Ross, Roots Music Report)