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CD REVIEW: Tom Principato's A Part of Me

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THE DEAL: After nearly four decades of touring and recording, A Part of Me is the D.C.-based bluesman's first outing featuring all original tunes.

THE GOOD: Principato weaves everyman tales imbued with his guitar riffs in this collection of blues and blues-rockers. "Part of Me" is the lyrically strongest track that pours the regret and longing right into the somber blues. "Don't Wanna Do It" is a full-bodied blues-rocker with Sonny Landreth pitching in hot slide guitar. "Down the Road" is an easy-going, funky little number with Charlotte's Jim Brock on drums and featuring some of Principato's best licks on the album. "Down in Lou'siana" is a tribute to New Orleans and rolls out of the amps with an infectious dance undertone. "Stranger's Eyes" turns down the lights and burns the night with its sensuous, slow-burning playing and "Stranger's Eyes Pt. 2" is an instrumental closing things out nicely. Other guests on the album include Willie Weeks, Brian Auger and Chuck Leavell.

THE BAD: Principato's voice has aged gently, but seems to be struggling on several tracks. A guest vocalist, male or female, able to wail some high notes would have added a bit of vocal fire to a track or two. But that's a minor beef.

THE VERDICT: Known for his fiery live shows, A Part of Me is a consistent studio effort from Principato where the guitar sings, the lyrics are honest and personal, and the attending musicians tops.

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