David Gogo's new album Soul Bender is available from Fascinating Rhythm.

David Gogo's new album Soul Bender is available from Fascinating Rhythm.

Blues musician goes back to roots on new album

David Gogo believes there’s two kinds of music in the world – good and bad.

David Gogo believes there’s two kinds of music in the world – good and bad.

Based on the response to his latest album, Soul Bender, which was released in June, it falls into the former category.

“You can’t believe all the good reviews or the bad ones really sting,” Gogo said.

The Nanaimo blues musician has been performing long enough and recorded enough albums to be confident in his music.

What’s made the difference on this album is the good reviews and feedback from his peers.

Gogo met with Rick Salt, owner of Lois Lane recording studio in Nanaimo, and his record company to discuss the vision for the new album. They came away with a similar vibe to Gogo’s earlier work on Skeleton Key.

“I’m kind of getting that same feel,” he said. “Let’s just make a record that we like.”

A lot changed since Gogo recorded Skeleton Key, although he feels like the same guy he was touring 20 years ago.

“Things do change,” he said. “You kind of become an elder statesmen. In my kind of music, that’s not a bad thing.”

The aim was to capture a raw edge that’s often part of blues music.

“We managed to capture a live performance in the studio,” Gogo said. “A lot of stuff was first take.

“Sometimes it’s better to be raw and emotional.”

And while he tries to shy away from too much solo guitar work on albums, this time he went with it – it’s why many of his fans are fans.

“It’ll make the guitar wanker fans happy,” he said.

The album includes a cover of Michael Jackson’s The Way You Make Me Feel, which may seem like a random pick until you hear the blues shuffle underscoring the song, Gogo said.

“That’s the beat of most 12-bar blues songs,” he said.

Even his band was skeptical until Gogo asked them to listen as if the song were a demo that no one had heard before.

“Let’s pretend Leon Russell produced this,” he said.

Although one album is done and the touring and promotion begins, the creativity continues.

“It was funny – I was playing guitar the other day,” Gogo said. “Sometimes the Muse hits you and sometimes it doesn’t.”

After spending the summer touring with Johnny Winter, Gogo performs in Nanaimo Aug. 26 at the Summertime Blues Festival and while he scaled back his band to work with a trio, he’ll have a full compliment of musicians for the hometown show.

Taking the stage before Downchild Blues Band, one of the best blues bands in the country, may also have something to do with it.

“You don’t want to get up and just do a trio before those guys,” he said.

The new album, Soul Bender, is available at Fascinating Rhythm and at Gogo’s website www.davidgogo.com. More information on the Summertime Blues Festival can be found at www.nanaimoblues.com.

arts@nanaimobulletin.com