Home Read Now Hear This: Earl Slick | Fist Full of Devils

Now Hear This: Earl Slick | Fist Full of Devils

The veteran guitarist lets his fingers do the talking on this instrumental offering.

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THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Guitarist Earl Slick never had a Plan B. Still doesn’t. In fact, he doesn’t believe in backup plans. “If you have a backup plan,” said the guitarist who for decades worked alongside rock royalty including David Bowie and John Lennon among others, “then eventually you become the backup plan.” Which explains — and fuels — Slick’s new album Fistful of Devils.

Harnessing his musical roots as a child of the ’60s — when blue-based rock pushed its way to the front of the line — and incorporating his decades as one of the most sought-after touring musicians in the business, Fistful is Slick as he’s been from the start: An artist who fully mines the depths of the blues and guitar by drawing on a toolkit assembled from blues to glam to punk to rockabilly.

The 11-track album is no retread retrospective of Slick’s run of 40 years as a professional guitarist; it’s an audible demonstration of a virtuoso still pushing deep into rock ’n’ roll’s blues roots. The instrumental album, Slick says, is acrobatics without a net. Some of the tracks on Fistful were ideas that had been rattling around in his hear for decades. Some were wholly new. That lifelong journey from Brooklyn didn’t leave him empty-handed; he brought back the prizes, the tricks, the scars, the influences and the tools from a road that never presented a detour. Or an end. He’s a man, after all, who knows a thing or two about persevering, about longshots and locked-in trajectories. Perseverance also had no backup plan when it was launched. It had to get there. “I am,” Slick said. “Exactly where I should be.”