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5/16/2013 5:00:00 PM
Guitar genius Eric Gales' blues show will be one to remember
Eric Gales
Eric Gales
Eric Gales
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The first annual Blythe River Blues Festival was held May 26, 2012 at Quechan Marina. The festival featured Paul Winer, Blythe's own South Main Street Blues Band, Bernie Pearl Blues Band, 7th Sons with Bill McFadden, Deacon Jones, and Fran Banish. Over 400 came out to enjoy this event on the river. Stay tuned for next year's festival.

Marty Bachman

BLYTHE -The Eric Gales Band, starring Eric Gales and his wicked progressive rock, blues guitar, will be headlining the 2nd Annual Blythe River Blues Festival on May 25 (Memorial Day weekend). Gales, who hails from Memphis, Tenn., the home of some of the most legendary bluesmen in history, will bring Orlando Thompson on bass and Nick Hayes on drums to round out his band.

Gales says he grew up in the church where his music is rooted, and started playing guitar and singing at 4 years old.

"I had a lot of brothers and uncles in the family that played so it was inevitable that I pick up an instrument at some point," he said.

He got his first record deal at 15 with Elektra Records and started a career at 16. Inspired by the likes of Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Albert King and Stevie Ray Vaughn among others, Gales plays the guitar upside down and left-handed like another of his influences, Jimi Hendrix, but Gales doesn't reverse the strings and he has his own style of playing the blues that is purely Eric Gales.

"I just picked it up that way," he said, noting that he never felt comfortable playing guitar in a conventional manner.

According to his website ( Guitar World Magazine's reader's poll named Gales as "Best New Talent," in 1991.

While blues is a mainstay for Gales, his music crosses into many different genres and his shows are dependent on how he feels that night.

"I like just being there," he said. "I try not to predict what the night is going to be - it's a surprise - it's just being out there at that time and how I'm feeling the night we play."

While Gales has jammed with many great artists, his brothers included, he said the highlight of his career came when he played Woodstock '94 with Carlos Santana.

"It was a special night for me for a lot of reasons," he said. "Woodstock happened before I was born and this was the first reunion."

Gales recently finished making a record with dUg Pinnick and Thomas Pridgen (Pinnick Gales Pridgen) and has since been on the road touring with his Eric Gales Band at venues throughout Texas, Memphis and Mississippi before heading west for the Blythe River Blues Festival.

"Things are great recently," Gales said, noting that he had gotten married about a year ago. "Everything's looking up."

He said he was looking forward to taking the stage at the 2nd Annual Blythe River Blues Festival, making a rare swing out to the West Coast, and that his performance would be a must-see for any blues lover.

"Absolutely, be there," he said. "Kids, don't miss the show - there will be a lot of surprises."

The Blythe River Blues Festival, a fundraiser for the Blythe Area Chamber of Commerce and the Joe Wine Recreation Center, is scheduled for May 25, 2013 (Memorial Day weekend), at Quechan Marina on the Colorado River in Blythe, Calif. Gales will headline the show with Junior Watson, Cadillac Zack and The Record Company also on the bill. Returning from last year will be Fran Banish, Blythe's South Main Street Blues Band and Quartzsite's Paul Winer and his boogie-woogie blues.

Gates open at 9 a.m. and music runs all day and night from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Tickets are $15 and available at the Blythe Area Chamber of Commerce, 145 N. Spring Street, (760-922-8166) the Joe Wine Recreation Center, 127 S. Main Street, Desert Music at 246 W. Hobsonway, or online at

The venue is on the Colorado River so beachwear is appropriate. Only water is allowed to be brought in coolers. Beer, sodas and food will be sold at the event. Bring your own chairs, blankets, towels and pop-ups.

Related Stories:
• Blythe: City of Blues
• A day full of music at Saturday's Blythe River Blues Festival
• From the '60s through the present, Junior Watson is one of the blues guitar masters
• With roots in vinyl, The Record Company takes the blues to a place in the past - w/video
• Cadillac Zack to bring West Side Chicago Blues to Blythe River Blues Festival
• VIDEO: Legendary guitarist, Fran Banish, to return to the Blythe River Blues Festival

Related Links:
• Bands booked for 2nd annual Blythe River Blues Festival

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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, May 24, 2013
Article comment by: Bill McFadden

Hello Everyone! Sadly, I won't be able to perform or attend this year, but I want tell you ALL to make sure you get out to see the show this year! It's going to be great, and you have many good people working hard to create something very special for Blythe... an awesome blues concert event! Also, my band, the 7th Sons, have had the pleasure & honor of opening for Eric three times in the last couple of years, and I urge you to get out there and see this man perform. He is absolutely amazing, and has blown me away each and every time I have seen him at our shows together. He is so super creative on stage, and talent oozes from his fingertips as he lights his guitar up and shines! Do yourself a big favor, and get out to see the acts at this year's Blythe River Blues Festival and you will be glad you did! Hopefully, we'll see you next year! - Take care ALL - Bill

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