Artist: Chris Yakopcic
Album: The Next Place I Leave
Label: Yako Records
Release Date: 10/16/2015
This is an absolutely stunning surprise, packed with great material, picking and music of the highest order. Chris Yakopcic is a clearly talented acoustic/resonator guitar picker with a complete mastery over the instrument and the acoustic blues/roots US tradition. Based in Ohio, he was a finalist at this year’s International Blues Challenge in Memphis, and though not an award winner, it’s easy to see from this recording why he made the final cut.
Most tracks are self-written, in the style and mix well with his confident covers of Fred McDowell’s “Write Me A Few Lines,” together with both “Preachin’ Blues” and “Phonograph Blues” from Robert Johnson. Yakopcic slides seamlessly from thumping Piedmont-style picking to Delta-inspired slidework, and also includes a surprisingly refreshing, original Appalachian-Americana-ish sounding take on Leonard Cohen’s wonderful “Tower of Song,” a genuinely inspired choice that jumps sonically from nowhere and works amazingly well here.
On this release, Yakopcic is partnered with a powerful rhythm section with Brian Hoeflich on Drums and Leo Smith on Bass, while he takes centre stage with top-dollar fretwork and vocals. The overall result is an eleven-track album of enormous power, purpose and quality. His second release, this is little short of a hidden treasure for lovers of acoustic, steel/resonator guitar work and high energy, high end blues.
– Iain Patience