Blues-roots guitarist Chris Duarte has announced his new studio album Ain’t Giving Up.
The new album will be released on April 14 via Provogue Records.
Duarte is celebrating the announcement with the release of the album’s opening track, the super-charged Allman Brother-style riffy blues-rocker, Nobody But You.
His 15th studio album features a wide range of outlaw blues, Americana, roots, and even alt-country influences, Ain’t Giving Up finds the Austin, Texas guitarist teaming up for the first time in 22 years with producer-guitarist Dennis Herring, also known for his work with artists like Buddy Guy, Modest Mouse, Elvis Costello, and the Hives.
“This album explores a wider spectrum of musicality,” shares Duarte.
“I love Muddy Water and Howlin’ Wolf, but also feel like it’s part of me to introduce some unexpected influences. For this album, I didn’t feel scared to explore beyond hard-driving blues. I view this as expanding on the format that I love.”
The resulting album isn’t a calculated return to roots affair. Recorded live on the studio floor with vintage gear and minimal overdubs, it’s a raw and revved-up showcase for the virtuoso’s jaw-dropping chops; his mastery of the elusive Texas shuffle; and his deep love and commitment to the blues.
“I planted my flag with ‘Strat Magik,’ and on this album, I am pushing the music forward,” Duarte continues.
“I’ve explored lots of different facets of my playing, but this album says, ‘I’m here, and I’m not giving up on blues or my career.’ And I’m not playing it safe, either—the solos were all tracked live.”
Duarte dropped his sophomore album, ‘Texas Sugar Strat Magik,’ in 1994, and he went on to issue a string of critically-acclaimed blues, blues-rock albums, and experimental fusion-tinged albums.
Ain’t Giving Up siphons from the same spirit as Texas Sugar, but the new album is definitely its own monster.
The album was tracked live as a trio with Texas Sugar drummer Brannen Temple, but it also features a rhythm machine with some raw, looped beat patterns Duarte plays over, much like the same funky groove stylings as on J.J. Cale’s iconic 1971 album Naturally.
Reunited with Herring who produced his best-selling record, Duarte instantly found a lot hadn’t changed with the two men.
“There’s more grey hair and creases in our faces,” Duarte says with a chuckle. “But we have that same music connection we had years ago.
“Dennis’s approach is to capture raw emotion, and, because of this, he records literally everything, even snippets between songs.”
Duarte continues: “I brought my guitar with me when we tracked vocals, and he said I didn’t need it—the guitar parts were all done. He used the solos I played on the fly during the basic sessions.
“They were fun, and off-the-cuff, and the tone and grooves were great. I was really dialed in.”
Ain’t Giving Up is intimate and gritty, but it also boasts pristine fidelity, as if we the listener are in the studio with Duarte and his buddies.
It’s a reset for Duarte that shows his resilience and his undiminished love of the blues and American roots.
“I am so grateful to be signed to Provogue and to work with Dennis again—it’s been a dream come true,” Duarte enthuses.
“I have been so fortunate to play music and do my thing for almost 30 years, and I couldn’t ask for a better life.”