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Gomes adding more rock to his blues-rock

Ready to play songs from latest record at Baker Street Centre

Blues rocker Anthony Gomes will be at Baker Street Centre on Saturday, Feb. 11.

Chris Hupe

Whatzup Features Writer

Published February 1, 2023

A frequent visitor to the Summit City, blues-rock guitarist Anthony Gomes will be at Baker Street Centre on Feb. 11 as part of a tour in support of his album High Voltage Blues.

Released in September, High Voltage Blues is Gomes’ first album for Rat Pak Records, featuring 12 re-recorded versions of previously released songs, along with three new offerings. Because Rat Pak is primarily a legacy rock label, it wanted to expose the best of the guitarist to what would be a mostly new audience and worked with Gomes to come up with a sampling that best represents his career. 

“It was great to revisit some of our work,” Gomes told Whatzup. “We rocked things up a bit and turned it up even louder.”

Label offers new experiences

The deal with Rat Pak is the first he has ever signed, since he previously worked independently. So far, he has been elated with the results, saying High Voltage Blues has been the best-received album he has done and his fan base is growing as people hear his fresh perspective on blues and blues-rock. 

“We couldn’t be more delighted,” he said. “It used to be my manager and myself against the world, but now we’ve got a label and people and (public relations). It’s just great to have a team around you that’s passionate about the project.”

Rat Pak was able to add to Gomes’ experience by securing the services of legendary bassist Billy Sheehan of Mr. Big and The Winery Dogs and Korn drummer Ray Luzier to play on about half of the album’s tracks, giving them a different perspective and feel than the original recordings. 

Gomes said the pair of outside voices were welcome additions. 

“They say you never finish an album, you abandon it, but my feeling of abandonment is far less on this album” than any other, he said. “I feel like all the songs are much closer to where I wanted them to be, and I feel really good about them. I’m really digging the new songs, too. They are kind of a taste of what’s to come.”

Rocking out

Gomes says landing on a rock label wasn’t a huge stretch for him, because the music he has been making the last several years has been heading more and more in that direction. 

“I think we’ve naturally evolved that way since our 2015 release Electric Field Holler,” he said. “That was pretty rocking. Then, (2018’s) Peace, Love & Loud Guitars was really rocking, too. Containment Blues (written during the pandemic) was a bit of departure for the times, but overall we’ve been slowly rocking up on the sound, because that’s what’s been inspiring me. I like to say I have a rock n’ roll heart and a blues soul. If it’s got the soul in it, it doesn’t matter how loud the amps are. You still can feel it.”

Trying his hand at cover art

In addition to the time he put in to create and play the music on High Voltage Blues, Gomes also tried his hand at creating the artwork for the album, something he said he did out of necessity. 

“A lot of my favorite designers were too busy,” he said with a laugh. “So, I said, ‘If I can’t have the best, then I’ll have the worst.’ ” 

Gomes obviously does not consider himself to be anything close to a professional designer, but he does feel his vision for the project is conveyed a little better by taking on the additional work. 

“I feel that it gives the audience an interesting perspective, because the person creating the audio is also creating the visual,” he said. “I think that you just have an intuitive understanding of about what it should be.”

The cover art depicts Gomes playing his guitar superimposed over a lightning bolt, not unlike the cover of AC/DC’s High Voltage artwork depicting lightning cutting through guitarist Angus Young. 

“Initially, I really wanted to go for a T. Rex Electric Warrior vibe,” Gomes said. “I thought that since we are introducing ourselves to a new audience, I should more or less keep it on the simple side. It’s a powerful imagery that fits into what we’re doing.”

While one can definitely see the T. Rex influence, the cover is unmistakably an intentional homage to AC/DC, which Gomes admitted since the Australian rockers are one of his favorite bands. 

“I’m always trying to find another way to say ‘blues-rock,’ and to me, rock is AC/DC,” he said. “So, High Voltage Blues basically says ‘rock-blues.’ The label was really excited about that title.”

Old-school rock n’ roll

When Gomes and company hit the Baker Street Centre stage, they will do so with a purpose. 

“Some people say that rock n’ roll is dead, but I’m here to tell you that its alive and kicking, and so are the blues,” he said. “If people want to come to a show that gives them that old-school vibe of raising hell and having a good time and helps them to forget about all their problems for a while, then this will be the place to be. 

“We love Fort Wayne, we love the people, we love the town, we love (96.3XKE DJ) Doc (West), we love Sweetwater, and we love everything they all stand for. Get ready for some loud, kick-ass rock n’ roll with blues power behind it.”

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