Eric McFadden Trio

Joy of Suffering

Six-string axe slingers lauded for their digital dexterity are usually: a) crappy singers, and b) inept tunesmiths. Though local guitar wizard Eric McFadden has an unquestionable pedigree -- for four years he served as designated face-melting soloist in George Clinton's P-Funk army, a position held by such giants as Blackbird McKnight, Michael Hampton, and the late, great Eddie Hazel -- his many eclectic projects, including Liar, Alien Lovestock, and the Faraway Brothers, have always showcased gruff, authoritative vocals and versatile songwriting skills. The latest effort from the Eric McFadden Trio doesn't skimp on hard-grooving, distortion-heavy interplay with drummer Paulo Baldi and stand-up bassist James Whiton, but the songs on Joy of Suffering also encompass sultry, country-noir laments ("Is the Morning Safe for Waking?" and "Never Gonna Burn"); warped, gypsy-jazz struts ("Bury Our Sins"); and galloping, Spanish-tinged acoustic workouts ("Miranda"). Lyrically, McFadden continues to explore a seedy underbelly inhabited by boozers, junkies, and carnival freaks, however, "The Rise of King George II" and "Limitations" find him dealing out politically charged venom to match the blistering instrumental salvos he unleashes. EMT can be proud of an accomplished release that will please guitar geeks and fans of dark Americana alike.

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