Album Reviews

Dustin Douglas & the Electric Gentlemen

Dustin Douglas & the Electric Gentlemen

Artist:     Dustin Douglas & the Electric Gentlemen

Album:     Dustin Douglas & the Electric Gentlemen

Label:     Self Released

Release Date:     05/27/2016


Like many other regions that don’t receive national attention, northeast Pennsylvania has a vital music scene.  Consider bands like Cabinet, the Badlees, blues artist Clarence Spady and the late reggae artist George Wesley, to mention a few. Wilkes-Barre guitarist and emerging singer-songwriter Dustin Drevitch has already built a reputation in the area as a dazzling guitarist with animated stage presence. His new band, Dustin Douglas & the Electric Gentlemen, is a power trio with a sound that hearkens back mostly to the era of Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and Cream. Dustin is working with bassist Matt “The Dane” Gabriel and drummer Tom Smallcomb, both of Wilkes-Barre. It’s somewhat rare to find a youngster (Drevitch is 28) embracing that kind of music. He likes playing his axe through vintage equipment, and describes his music as a bit of hybrid between contemporary and classic blues rock. He is very proud of this album, which contains all originals, given the many years he has played cover tunes. Take my word for it. He has Jimmy Page’s licks down.

Dustin has been playing since age 12, and was praised for his passionate vocals and charisma even then. He also played and recorded with the acclaimed Badlees as their lead guitarist for five years and will still guest with them on occasion. This is his second CD as bandleader, and he claims this is the record he’s long wanted to make. While 2014’s Black Skies and Starlight was a song-oriented outing, this one has, as bassist Gabriel says, “the allure of bringing back the power trio. That was the catalyst.” There’s a short video on the band’s website that describes the making of the record, which was recorded in a top-floor room in the Downtown Arts building, a re-purposed church in Wilkes-Barre. Dustin talks about the importance of chemistry and why it was important to record it all live.

“If you like the guitar and you like the blues and rock and roll, you’re going to like us,” Dustin said. From the opening track, “Ain’t Your Poppa’s Blues” you sense a sturdy, no-nonsense sound. Other notable tracks are “Queen of the North End” and “Bad Man.” Blues rock is often played badly but like any genre, there are those that can rise above the mediocrity and demonstrate a real flair. This album will give you only a glimpse of how strong this trio’s riveting live show is as I witnessed at this year’s Briggs Farm Blues Festival. You can catch them at the Pennsylvania Music Festival on October 28th. If we’re lucky, Dustin will sit in with the Badlees too.

– Jim Hynes

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