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Supersonic Blues Machine

Supersonic Blues Machine are a blues-rock "supergroup." Though only drummer Kenny Aronoff is generally well-known, his bandmates -- bassist/producer Fabrizio Grossi and guitarist/vocalist Kris Barras -- are also highly respected first-call players. The trio share the unqualified respect of their peers, offering a raucous, guitar-driven sound that reflects a shared love of classic blues and riff-driven hard rock. 2016's West of Flushing, South of Frisco showcased prominent guitar slingers as guests, including Billy Gibbons, and Warren Haynes. It inadvertently became a trademark, as each subsequent release has hosted them too: 2017's Californisoul included appearances from Eric Gales, Robben Ford, and Walter Trout. 2022's Voodoo Nation included contributions from Joe Louis Walker, Sonny Landreth, and Ana Popovic, among others. In 2010, Aronoff and Grossi served as the rhythm section Goodfellas, an occasional jam band comprised of studio aces and led by Toto guitarist Steve Lukather. The pair wanted to continue expanding the Goodfellas concept, to create a touring and recording band rather than just a "session ensemble for hire." Not long afterward, Grossi was working on an album by guitarist and vocalist Lance Lopez and introduced him to Aronoff. When Billy Gibbons contacted Grossi to collaborate with him in writing and producing a song for a commercial, Gibbons suggested he write nine more songs and start his own band. While the music they were working on didn't result in a commercial, it did evolve into "Running Whiskey," the first single off Supersonic Blues Machine's 2016 debut album, West of Flushing, South of Frisco, which included not only Gibbons, but also Warren Haynes, Walter Trout, Robben Ford, and Chris Duarte. The set made its way to the blues album charts and the band hit the road playing gigs in greasy clubs as well as on festival stages across the U.S. and Europe. Since then, they have operated continuously as a band of comrades and kindred spirits. Their revolving door line-up of guests extends to live performances when schedules permit. 2017's Californisoul showcased a summery vibe, wedding blues-rock to the good-time funk made immortal by George Clinton (with whom Grossi worked extensively). They also added Lukather and Eric Gales to their guest mix of top-shelf guitarists. Lopez left the band after the album's release but before the tour. Supersonic Blues Machine hired English singer and guitarist Kris Barras as his replacement. Deeply influenced by the British Isles blues-rock tradition -- from Jimmy Page and Rory Gallagher to Gary Moore -- Barras had been leading his own recording and touring group since 2015. The trio hit the road hard in 2018, running across the U.S., Europe, and Asia. In 2019 they released the document Road Chronicles: Live! as Barras' debut. The set featured Gibbons on six of its 14 tracks, and landed on blues albums charts. After being sidelined by the COVID-19 pandemic for most of 2020 and part of 2021, Supersonic Blues Machine toured in the U.S. that summer and fall. Late in the year, Barras and his band cut the album Death Valley Paradise. Issued in March 2022, it went Top 30 in England. Before its release, Supersonic Blues Machine recorded their third studio effort Voodoo Nation. Issued in June, its massive guest list included old friend Gales, and a slew of new ones, including Louisiana's Sonny Landreth, Ana Popovic, Charlie Starr (Blackberry Smoke), Joe Louis Walker, Kirk Fletcher, King Solomon Hicks, and Josh Smith. The set's overall sound was darker, more intimate, and immediate, with SBM opening their sound up further to incorporate Barras' influences and songwriting style into their mix.
© Stephen Thomas Erlewine & Thom Jurek /TiVo
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