Eric Gales was onstage, holding court at the UK Guitar Show and London Bass Guitar Show (opens in new tab) with a Red Mahogany Top Fender Telecaster (opens in new tab) in hand, casually talking craft, when he dropped the bombshell that he was recording a new album and Joe Bonamassa was producing it.
There was stunned silence, a moment's pause. "Is that something you would all like to hear?" he asked. The crowd replied in the affirmative and he shared a few more thoughts.
For a start, he couldn't have Bonamassa just sitting there in the control room and talking mic placement. Well of course Bonamassa will play a couple of solos on the record. It would be rude not to.
Gales also revealed that the pair will tour together in 2020, joking that a five-night run at the Albert Hall would be nice.
And with that, Gales invited bassist Cody Wright (opens in new tab) onstage and jammed a freewheeling cover of Little Wing that pretty much validated what Bonamassa was on about when he named Gales the world's best blues rock guitarist (opens in new tab).
Anyone who caught Gale's performance, which was almost surreal in a low-key afternoon set of chat and improv, would be of a mind to disagree. Here was Gales, digressing into the value of the sound engineer, thinking out loud about what he should play next, before running through some Albert Collins' ice-pick blues and sending it all out of whack with a DigiTech Whammy, some lush overdrive, some seriously ridiculous soloing, which, in among the outside notes in his improv, he even threw in some Beethoven, too.
Speaking to Guitar World (opens in new tab) as he left the venue, Gales offered up some more details on the album. It was to be recorded in March, April, definitely at Ocean Way, Nashville, but maybe some other places, too, it would be mostly originals with at least one cover for sure, and he will definitely be inviting some high-profile guests to jam on it.
“Me and Joe are chatting every other day about the approach and everything," he said. "I got some very dope guest appearances and some people involved with this record that are gonna be a surprise to the world, so I can tell you it’s going to be amazing.”
We don't doubt it. And it's not just Bonamassa who thinks Gales is unsurpassed. Last week, Mark Tremonti declared Gales the best in the world (opens in new tab). "He could be the best guitar player on earth… he’s that incredible," said the Alter Bridge guitarist. "f there was ever the ultimate head-cutter in any head-cutting guitar competition, he’d be the king. He’s the one that makes you drop your jaw."
Do you agree? Who else is more potent, more profoundly gifted with an electric guitar (opens in new tab) in their hand right now?