Hal Gerard, a 30-year veteran of the independent music scene, is capable of highly sophisticated rhythms, with more layers than you’d expect from one guy and a guitar. His voice is compelling, going for the deeper ranges that just don’t exactly kick, but lodge themselves somewhere in your gut, not exactly haunting but certainly attention-grabbing.
He calls his sound progressive blues, and I can certainly see that; he plays his acoustic as if it were electric, and I can pick up some early Rush in his guitar work, as well as shifts and lower-range changes that bring to mind Jimmy Page in his more experimental moods. He cut his musical teeth at the height of the prog-rock era, and it certainly shows in the Pink Floyd-inspired instrumental interludes and vaguely Bowie-esque rhythms.
Which is not to say that his form is entirely old school. He covered Sheryl Crow at one point and sounded quite natural, and more often than not his style reminded me of, no kidding, the bluesy “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”-style Warrant work. There’s a soft-rock element to it as well, and I mean all-out soft rock, Kenny Loggins and early Elton John stuff. Yeah, I’m making a lot of strange comparisons, but like I said, the guy’s work is complex.
Hal Gerard hosts a singer/songwriter open stage every Wednesday night at Deano’s Vino starting at 8 p.m. For more information check out www.halgerard.com.