Brazil native Artur Menezes has been in the professional music scene since the early 2000s and has lived everywhere from his hometown to the blues-laced city Chicago and L.A. He has had a special affinity for blues music ever since he shared a stage at various jam sessions with Buddy Guy and various other musicians. This passion led him to return to Brazil to try and spread his favorite genre around the country and create the “Casa do Blues” (House of Blues) which showcases live blues shows.
Artur Menezes is an accomplished guitar player, winning the “Albert King Award” for best guitarist at the International Blues Challenge in 2018. He also has a command of a plethora of music styles, supporting the shred master Joe Satriani on a tour in 2012 and experiments with elements of jazz, funk, soul, and even blue grass chickin’ pickin’ throughout his four-album catalog.
His fourth full-length studio album, Keep Pushing shows Menezes’ masterful grasp on these various genres in the most precise and mature way to date. It does not sound like a smattering of styles but instead is an in-depth exploration of playing styles and techniques from a top-notch musician.
The album starts out with a soothing soul track “Now’s the Time” that features stabbing horns and tasteful licks from Menezes that foreshadow what is to come later on. We jump right into the blues by the title track with a moving shuffle that allows Artur to demonstrate why he should be on your blues guitar radar. “Give My Money Back” is in a similar vain with the whole band tightly in sync with each other on a blues shuffle.
We switch gears with songs like “Come with Me” and “’Til the Day I Die” that have beefy, crunchy rock riffs and are evidence for why Joe Satriani recruited him for his lengthy tour. “’Til The Day I Die” shows Menezes is paying attention to modern blues, going with a dirty and sludgy feel that is common right now.
Things slow down on the organ-drenched “Any Day, Anytime” which allows Artur to pull out his B.B. King-inspired licks which he pulls of effortlessly. We get a mixture of ballad, soul, and smooth jazz in “Can’t Get You Out of My Mind” showing off the musician’s command of jazz language.
One of the most interesting tracks on Keep Pushing is “Love ‘n’ Roll” which sounds like a tribute to the swing style of Brian Setzer. This is one of those tunes that make you want to get up and dance, or at least tap your foot.
Artur Menezes has a beautiful interpretation of many styles and is a quality musician who deserves more recognition. Hopefully his latest offering will draw attention for this rising star.