Rock N’ Roll View


Home » Reviews » Jimmy Jax Pinchak – Blue on Arrival

Jimmy Jax Pinchak – Blue on Arrival

Posted by  on Apr 11, 2016 in Reviews | Comments Off on Jimmy Jax Pinchak – Blue on Arrival

Jimmy Jax Pinchak – Blue on Arrival


Blues prodigies have spurred much of the best new work in the genre over the last thirty years. Stevie Ray Vaughn, Joe Bonamassa, Jonny Lang, and Kenny Wayne Shepherd are among the premier blues guitarists to have emerged during that time and musical gifts propelled them to stardom when they were still quite young. Pinchak’s second album, Blue on Arrival, solidifies this twenty year old’s position as the major new blues artist on the scene today. The album’s nine songs are packed with steady references to tradition while nonetheless putting a new shine on reliable elements. Pinchak is an equally impressive vocalist who’s phrasing is far above average in the genre.

He opens things with an impressive bucket of blood blues entitled “Murder”. Any longtime blues music fan will recognize the lay of the land – Pinchak vocally broods and brawls over a woman desired so intensely that Pinchak equates his fixation on her as something comparable to homicide. “Hit My Stride” has a scintillating attack thanks to a thumping rhythm section performance and the addition of Hammond organ to the mix, but Pinchak’s vocal crowns it with energy and assertiveness. His cover of Robert Johnson’s “Crossroads Blues” exhibits the same sort of verve and confidence, but his versatility gets a full airing here with his compelling slide guitar playing. “Rock Me Down” has a diamond-hard strut and its mid tempo groove runs deep enough that Pinchak delivers, arguably, one of his best guitar performances on the album. The production is an enormous factor in this song, and the album’s, success. Pinchak’s guitar obviously has prominence in the mix, but the production never neglects to give the mix a rich, warm, and full-bodied sound.

The count-in opening “Poison” enhances its appealing live feel, but this track stands out for a lot of reasons. This is Pinchak in Epic Blues mode, stretching out to nearly eight minutes a seething big city blues. Pinchak gives a powerful atmospheric performance on guitar recalling, without ever outright imitating, many of the genre’s giants. Despite the length, it will be difficult to feel like the track overstays its welcome. Pinchak combines such a wide array of gutsy runs, impassioned vibrato, and patience phrasing that it’s difficult to be bored by this. Pinchak turns his focus back to acoustic blues with the impressively fluid, even eloquent, “Poor One”. He puts the slide down for this one and offers up highly melodic, cleanly-picked fare instead. Blue on Arrival wraps up with another slice of low-fi blues, “Stuck in Glue”, a nicely image-driven lyric on familiar blues themes that Pinchak nails with a memorable vocal.

As long as the blues continues to attract top flight talent and sensibilities like Jimmy Pinchak, the genre will never die. This is artistry in action – a performer who has nearly mastered every area of his craft. His playing already ranks among the best today, his vocals are growing by leaps and bounds, and his songwriting chops are improving exponentially. Blue on Arrival might pour old wine into new bottles, but the taste is exceptional.


9/10 stars.

Lydia Hillenburg

© James Pinchak 2012