If you're big fans the likes Stevie Ray Vaughan (SRV), Jimi Hendrix, Robin Trower, or Tommy Bolin, you better snap and check Gugun Power Trio's "Solid Ground" out. Why I told you this? In nowadays such dying blues scene, high quality blues musician references from all over the world is a need. Both SRV and Hendrix were rest in peace and left us their undoubtedly great musical legacy. Their legacy means nothing without their highly influenced successor or musicality inheritor.
Gugun, technically is a killer guitarist with awesome ability to rock on. His amazing progressive rhythm and incredible solos remind us to both SRV and Hendrix in unison. What about vocals? Gugun rules even with his double role as lead guitar and vocals. He has good ability to manage both bluesy sound and groovy vocals. Gugun is lucky, his fellow band-mates bassist John "Jono" Armstrong and drummer Aditya "Bowie" Wibowo delivered their skillful performance. Both Jono and Bowie are respectively talented musicians. That's right that Gugun writes and composes most of their music material and song structure, but Jono is the man in writing lyrics. Bowie, the youngest one in the band, is renowned by his typical jazzy drumming.
If someone asked me about Solid Ground
rocking taste, I would refer its blueprint to retro-70s where Hendrix's classic guitar-oriented vibration ruled all over the gig. Then what does the album offer us? Is anything special and worthy tunes to hail on? I would say: flexibility. Yeah, that's right! This album offers us its flexibility in sharing and adopting other genres (or subgenre) within blues-rock range. It's a versatile album! The first two songs called "Solid Ground" and "One Heavy Night". They attacked us with heavily and groovy tunes, a bit funky rhythm, and of course these songs are well crafted with strong bluesy taste. What else could I tell you, solos, and riffs? Yeah Gugun will rock you in the face while Bowie and Jono keep up the tempo. Then, next two songs, "Soul on Fire" and "Vixen Eyes" are absolutely smooth-funky blended with groove-bluesy. These two songs are typical easy listening tunes; people called it radio friendly, or whatever! I must admit the songs hardly impossible for us not to shake the head. Even in easy listening pattern, Gugun shows us that he's the man. In about a minute of ending part, he reverberates the tunes with his solos till the song fades out.
The next two songs offer us somewhat typical classic blues-rock. Song "Mission", first minute it aired you might think it just a simple blues riff play, but wait a minute! The rest minutes you will hear a complex riff and of course beautiful guitar patterns. I’m sure fans of SRV or Jimi Hendrix will love it. Then song "Trampled Rose", it's a slowly cool blues thought. The most important thing, in last three minutes of the song, more and more Gugun improvised his solos. I love the way Bowie kept his up-beat and down-beat drum tempo. Soundly asleep! Then song "Silent Rider", I love when Gugun tries imitating the riffs by his mouth, um, it's a mouth pentatonic scale practice I guess! The song is a bit jazzy, but don't let it fool you around; it's fundamentally blues with a lot of funky guitar rhythms. Fresh track! Our next two songs; "I'm Juicy" and "Funky Chicken" are basically, yea, what else can I say; they're typically a bit similar with the first two tracks! Then, follow-on track "Marching Strut" where they dedicated it to Tommy Bolin. I thought the song title was inspired by Tommy Bolin's "Marching Powder". The track is a typical jamming session with about eight minutes of music. It's fairly good, progressive and smooth, but isn't the best piece of the album. Bowie and Jono explored and improvised their skill in this "free jamming" track.
That's my point of view about "Solid Ground" Instrumentally, how it sounds. Then what about lyric concept? Is it crafted in a conceptual album? Does each song have a linear attribute to each other? If you asked such questions, I have to say honestly right now, I have no idea about it and just for a while let the music speak itself! Lastly the conclusion; "Solid Ground" is not a revolutionary blues-rock release, but blues lover should know how to appreciate this excellent release. It's a worthy stuff!