Michael Juan Nunez and the American Electric, My Little Train Wreck (Parish Line Records)

Though Michael Juan Nunez may not be a household name when it comes to national, blues rock circles, truthfully, his stuff is just as good as those more famous cats. The Erath native has delivered several superb discs over the past dozen years with each demonstrating how he continues to advance in his craft. As a guitarist, he’s thick with licks, rife with riffs and has enough textures to fill the state of Texas. But whether he’s cranking out crunchy chords and rolling howling slides, he’s not the self-indulgent six-string slinger loaded with hell-bent histrionics. His shots lean towards thoughtful, conceptual cuts that take lots of listens to unravel. He sets up the fugitive-fleeing saga of “18 Miles” by simulating a recording of a Spanish guitar on a Mexican radio station on the preceding “Border Station.” On the rollicking “Lemonade,” Nunez is joined by a trio of horns for a jump blues feel while he keeps steady with a pulsating baseline. Initially, it’s an amusing hard-luck story until Nunez surprises with a politically charged verse about fat cats and bailouts.

There’s often intensity and edginess about his protagonists (“Hard Side of Easy”) but there’s also tongue-in-cheek humor as well – like the angst of “Make up My Mind” and “Train Wreck,” which finds Nunez playing side-by-side with Sonny Landreth for insightful contrast of styles. But the funniest of all is “No Rock-N-Roll,” the title inspired by Mississippi bluesman Fred McDowell who once proclaimed: “I don’t play no rock-n-roll” emblazoned on the title of one of his last albums. Here Nunez goes blitzkrieg ballistic, while, ironically, regurgitating all the things parents say to their rebelling teenagers about their blaring rock music (“them loud guitars, they drive me crazy”). If such things were said to Nunez during his youth, it’s a good thing he didn’t listen.

  • Patty McGehee

    I have been following Juan around for about two and a half years and it has become an addiction to see Juan, Chad, and Chief (Clint) do their stuff. There has been some amazing performances. Check out my reviews on:  http://pattymcgehee-jukejointjunkie.blogspot.com/

    Make sure to look back in the archives to read the earlier blogs and see some photos taken at The Blue Moon Saloon in Lafayette.

    Juan is an incredible songwriter. Fans need to check out some of his earlier recordings, also. Suggested song: Rusted Blade, Water and steel, Keep on gettin’

    Check out some of the videos my husband and I have made of the band:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gP1ebIeuYw&feature=related

    I had to miss The American Electric’s last two gigs because of family obligations and I was extremely disappointed.

  • Patty McGehee

    I have been following Juan around for about two and a half years and it has become an addiction to see Juan, Chad, and Chief (Clint) do their stuff. There has been some amazing performances. Check out my reviews on:  http://pattymcgehee-jukejointjunkie.blogspot.com/

    Make sure to look back in the archives to read the earlier blogs and see some photos taken at The Blue Moon Saloon in Lafayette.

    Juan is an incredible songwriter. Fans need to check out some of his earlier recordings, also. Suggested song: Rusted Blade, Water and steel, Keep on gettin’

    Check out some of the videos my husband and I have made of the band:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gP1ebIeuYw&feature=related

    I had to miss The American Electric’s last two gigs because of family obligations and I was extremely disappointed.

  • BRITTANY KIGHT

    MJN is awesome!  My favorite track on the album is “Harry” written about the friendship shared with Harry “Big Daddy” Hypolite.  
    http://www.offbeat.com/2005/08/01/remembering-big-daddy/

    Go Michael Juan!

  • MJN

    Thank you Brit. It’s because of your dad (for those the don’t know: Don Kight-former owner of Grant Street Dancehall, and a hell of a slide guitar player himself) that I even got hooked up with Mr. Harry. He thought it would be a good idea to get the two of us together, and arranged a spot at a show at Grant Street (I think it was a benefit for The Creole Association or something like that) where Harry and I would do an acoustic thing, with me backing Harry. That turned into a friendship that lasted until his untimely death.
    Some of the best memories I’ve had on stage was a direct result of that night. I really can’t thank Don enough. The best part of that night actually happened backstage before we went on. Harry wanted to go over a few of his tunes, so we sat in the green room, with Harry playing and singing at the top of his lungs, like he was singing to a crowd of a thousand people (even playing his guitar behind his head..haha..remember this is just us..just going over some songs)…Mr. Henry Gray, and Lee Allen Zeno stomping out time and clapping, Andy Cornet playing harp, and myself taking this all in playing Dobro, thinking “This is what it’s all about. This is why I started playing in the first place” then it hit me… “Oh my god..I’m surrounded by these legends…white boy, you better damn well get up there and play your ass off!” …hahaha.Good memories. Thanks again Brit!