It seems that the typical present-day blues-rock guitarslinger is likely to step out of the confines of the genre now and again. It may be because the blues is currently in another of its periodic "out" phases in terms of popularity, or that current axe-swingers grew up with more than just the blues to cut their teeth on. Whatever the reason, the same hotshot that sets fire to a string of 12-bar guitar choruses is just as likely to light up a power ballad or take some exotic acoustic turn these days.
Possessing a Texas pedigree and grounded in the Hendrix-to-Stevie Ray spectrum, Stratmeister Chris Duarte can weave spells both inside and outside the confines of the blues. Acclaimed by axe-worshipers as blues-rock royalty early on in his career after busting out of the Austin scene in the mid-'90s, the fortysomething Duarte has done time with jazz fusioneers as well as bluesters. A sampling of his discography reveals moves in those directions as well as forays into decidedly Beatles-flavored psychedelia. That said, the rep Duarte has won with his classic SRV-style, slow-to-medium shuffle is well earned.