***SKY TRAIN GALAXY CD FEATURED REVIEWS***
“Craig Erickson is the son of a great jazz guitarist and, at the age of twelve, began playing covers of Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck and Cream. Later he also took up the drums, keyboards and bass with the intention to better understand the composition and arrangements. Craig experiments with music, at home in many genres. Blues, blues rock, funk, fusion, jazz, rock, reggae — nothing is off limits for this incredibly strong guitarist. His CDs contain quite a lot of heavy blues rock, where it sometimes seems as if the band is just jamming on it. In the early nineties he signed with Blues Bureau International and released his debut album, ‘Roadhouse Stomp,’ in 1992. Currently, this energetic guitarist has more than ten albums to his name. The new album, ‘Sky Train Galaxy,’ contains eleven tracks and is released on Grooveyard Records. Craig wrote all the songs himself and was also responsible for the production of his album. Beyond the singing and guitar playing, Erickson also plays bass on nine songs and the CD includes four different drummers. Let’s give this old school guitar hero album a spin and analyze.
The album opens with a heavy Southern rocker steeped in blues influences. John Hall on bass and Tim King on drums provide the very strong basis of the number and Craig immediately throws all his cards on the table with tearing and blistering guitar riffs. It is one of the best songs on ‘Sky Train Galaxy ‘and an opener that counts. The only cover on the album is the Deep Purple song, “Gettin’ Tighter.’ Craig dedicates the song to Tommy Bolin, the man who wrote the song along with Glenn Hughes. In this ode, Craig brings a heat wave to his six string guitar playing and leaves his mark on this strong cover, though the excellent percussion of Troy Harper also is not to be sneezed at. In the power ballad, ‘Illusions Of The World,’ we fall again into a very strong instrumental performance by Craig and John Hall on guitar and bass, but the song itself is not as strong as the previous songs. In the fresh and clean ‘Mojo in Memphis,’ Craig sings about his favorite places like Beale Street and the castle of the Kings. He brings the nostalgia of the beautiful places with their glory moments perfectly over his instruments.
A mix of rock, funk and blues can be found in ‘Mercy.’ Outside the razor sharp guitar riffs and very tight, yet sturdy percussion of Rob Haskell, this falls mainly on the strength of the voices of Craig and Alicia Strong. Both voices complement each other very well. A compelling, steamy boogie also not lacking on the album. Erickson’s heavy, pungent deep bass lines provide the ideal groove for ‘Boogie For Love.’ The muscular rocker, ‘Sky Train,’ allows guitar prodigy Craig Erickson for the umpteenth time to really live on his instrument. The album exudes his joy for playing. ‘Mojo In Memphis’ is a kind of extra song, but in a different version. It’s an acoustic version with lots of slide guitar. Delta blues of the highest order. Guitar hero Craig Erickson provides this ‘Sky Train Galaxy’ again a fine album. A must for lovers of searing and razor-sharp guitar riffs.”
Walter Vanheuckelom (Rootstime)
SKY TRAIN GALAXY by Craig Erickson
“Craig Erickson has been making waves for years, but is hopefully now going to get the attention/credit he deserves. Erickson is back with his latest release, ‘Sky Train Galaxy’, a album that is loaded with quality songs matching the quality of the playing. He has all the technique you could wish for, or need, but at the root of his playing there is great melody, phrasing, feel and soul. One of the best characteristics of ‘Sky Train Galaxy’ is the way the blistering riffs are executed, in that you can get almost as much pleasure from listening to Erickson’s little improvisations as you do from the solo. There’s a decent mix of styles, slower burning blues and rockers as well, so it’s not a one-dimensional collection of songs. There are too many choice cuts here to really pick out highlights, although, if pushed, my personal favourites are, “The Comeback”, “Time (Never Enough)” and “Morning Glory”. Absolutely outstanding. Craig Erickson is a singular talent, the strength of his writing, playing and sheer power of delivery combine to create a very special listening experience. All in all, ‘Sky Galaxy Train’ is highly recommended for fans of nostalgic blues rock from a musician who richly deserves the attention he is attracting among the classic rock music press and audiences these days. – Highly Recommended”
Tony @ The Dedicated Rocker Society
Sky Train Galaxy, the latest offering from the intergalactic guitar virtuoso Craig Erickson, is a tasty psychedelic brew of rock and blues.
Erickson hits the ground running with “The Comeback”, a driving blues-infused southern-style rocker about pushing setbacks aside and moving forward in life. With John Hall’s monstrous bassline and Tim King’s thunderous drumming holding down the fort, Erickson breaks out a full-on assault on guitar, laying down exquisite riffs and killer licks. This is how you open an album.
I like the vocal harmony between Erickson and Alicia Strong on “Mercy”, a funky rocking track with a big sound and a catchy melody. This is one I often want to turn the volume up on, because it’s so full of energy. Then there is “Morning Glory”, a wonderfully beautiful instrumental. I can’t help but think of the ascended blues guitar master Stevie Ray Vaughan when this one plays.
There’s only one cover song on the album, and it’s Deep Purple’s “Getting’ Tighter/Ode to T”. Erickson does not disappoint at all. This one is fantastic and brings me pure joy to hear. I could listen to this track all day. Troy Harper does a phenomenal job handling the drums on this one.
A catchy hook and southern-style slide set the mood for standout track, “Mojo in Memphis”. Erickson sings about one of my favorite places on the planet, and makes me homesick in the process. The dual guitar sounds so good and draws my full attention. For the last track, Erickson throws in an acoustic version of this song. Swampy and soulfully gooey as molasses, this makes me think immediately of the late, great bluesman R.L. Burnside. It’s quite wonderful.
What I like about Erickson, is how he constantly seems to stretch the boundaries of where his music goes. I like the unpredictability in his songs. Sky Train Galaxy is yet another testament to that fascinating quality. This album comes highly recommended.
< PHILLIP SMITH >
CRAIG ERICKSON: “Sky Train Galaxy” (GYR138)
“Craig Erickson captures the best of Jimi Hendrix, Robin Trower and Frank Marino, blending their abilities and techniques into a unique style all his own. His skill allows him to make the guitar scream and rip it to shreds whenever necessary, and yet play tenderly and gently as well, if the particular tune calls for it. This time around, on ‘Sky Train Galaxy,’ he includes a special tribute to Tommy Bolin with a mesmerizing re-visioning of ‘Gettin’ Tighter.’ But the music on this CD is mostly original. You can tell that Erickson took his time with this endeavor, in fact, since all of the songs are masterfully conceived and arranged to perfection. His guitar playing is even more mature and developed than on his prior records, which is saying a lot since he is already one of the most gifted rock-blues guitarists of all time. Let Erickson’s ‘Sky Train’ take you to other dimensions. You won’t regret it!”
Steve Rosen (Author/Journalist) (August 2015)
I must admit to not being familiar with the work of Craig Erickson, although I did remember his name from the “L.A. Blues Authority Volume II” album, recorded by Glenn Hughes. given that, I wasn’t surprised to discover that this is a blues rock album. But I was surprised at just how good it is.
He’s got a lengthy solo discography, and if this is anything to by, it’s one that needs to be checked out. He’s basically dealing in seventies styled blues rock, the kind of thing Robin Trower used to do back in the day, but it’s not just about the licks. He’s got some really good songs to go with it.
There are plenty of highlights with the duet featuring Alicia Strong on ‘Mercy’ probably my favourite at first listening. There’s a southern rock styled gem in the shape of ‘Mojo in Memphis’, and in amongst the self penned material, there’s a surprising cover, where he gives us his take on the Deep Purple Mark IV gem, ‘Gettin’ Tighter’, here supplemented with the tag ‘Ode to T’. And anyone who pays tribute to Tommy Bolin is alright by me.
It’s an excellent release that fans of hard-hitting blues rock should be checking out immediately.
Stuart Hamilton (The Rocker – UK) (September 2015) (http://www.the-rocker.co.uk)
“Erickson shines… his lead and slide guitar work is extremely accomplished and volatile… gutsy vocals perfectly compliment his fluid and muscular guitar work.”
Guitar World Magazine
Classic Rock Magazine
“Fiery guitar work… Every nuanced word and note speaks volumes…master class level guitar work… Musical document that is a clear narrative of the state of world.”
“…certainly one of the most underrated musicians of our time…”
“Magnificent with some of the best guitar playing now available. A must hear for all guitar enthusiasts”
“Craig’s guitar virtuosity is so evident that you get the feeling he could turn the juice up at any time and leave you standing in a cloud of sonic dust.”
“Craig Erickson is one of the shining lights in blues and blues-based hard rock today.”
“Craig takes cues from his own guitar heroes, and creates something unique and personal with it.. I think Craig is part of this great tradition, bringing the sounds full circle: back to the roots and beyond. What exactly is it about Craig’s guitar style that impresses me so much? The total package, absolutely. He’s got a great tone, and 100% intuitive technical skills. He uses wah-wah without it ever becoming trite or overdone. His sound changes color as the songs progress and develop. In addition to all these attributes, Craig Erickson just plain has SOUL. He breathes life into his songs via his fretboard.”
Tommy Bolin Foundation
to the instrumental “Motormouth,” for many of the same reasons I am drawn to the music of Eric Johnson and Joe Satriani. Plain and simply put, it’s just great guitar playing.
Craig Erickson has been making waves for years, but is hopefully now going to get the attention/credit he deserves. Erickson is back with his latest release, ‘Sky Train Galaxy’, a album that is loaded with quality songs matching the quality of the playing. He has all the technique you could wish for, or need, but at the root of his playing there is great melody, phrasing, feel and soul. One of the best characteristics of ‘Sky Train Galaxy’ is the way the blistering riffs are executed, in that you can get almost as much pleasure from listening to Erickson’s little improvisations as you do from the solo. There’s a decent mix of styles, slower burning blues and rockers as well, so it’s not a one-dimensional collection of songs. There are too many choice cuts here to really pick out highlights, although, if pushed, my personal favourites are, “The Comeback”, “Time (Never Enough)” and “Morning Glory”. Absolutely outstanding. Craig Erickson is a singular talent, the strength of his writing, playing and sheer power of delivery combine to create a very special listening experience. All in all, ‘Sky Galaxy Train’ is highly recommended for fans of nostalgic blues rock from a musician who richly deserves the attention he is attracting among the classic rock music press and audiences these days. – Highly Recommended