DANCING WITH EL DISTORTO
Sure, Maynard Silva is largely unknown outside of the Cape and Boston area, but that doesn’t mean he’s not a diehard expert at playing gutty blues. Check out his " Heartbroken Moon, " a seven-minutes-plus essay in loneliness where his guitar speaks as much as his hangdog lyrics. One track’s all cry-and-moan, his dirty tone bending into arches of raw pain as he pushes his strings, his fingers carving sighs from little harmonic pinches, his slide slurring through a veil of steel-on-steel tears. Another track floats tremolo’d lines behind his solo, where they shimmer like the ghost of the shattered soul whose voice he assumes in the song. It’s a heavy and very electric tune.
Silva’s also great at laying down the acoustic stuff, creating a sort of Delta-Piedmont blues fusion out the heavy strumming and slide-and-rhythm picking of Joe Lee Williams’s " Stack of Dollars. " Plus, he’s got the right vocal vibe. But the accent here is on plugged-in material that sounds as if it were from a juke joint with one corner in the Twilight Zone thanks to Silva’s taste for multiple guitar parts that play off each other in unusual ways — like the slide line in " I See You In My Mind " that threatens to dart away from the key as another tremolo’d guitar makes like a drunken Hammond B-3 organ. Throughout. Silva’s excellent playing and tone prove that imagination has no stylistic or geographic boundaries.