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Robertas Semeniukas is a Lithuanian musician who late last year released his debut solo album Backstage Stories. A mix of instrumental and vocal tracks, the album is a collection of guitar rock and blues in the vein of giants like Joe Satriani, Jeff Beck, and Van Halen. Included as well is a cover of the blues classic “You Gotta Move” by Mississippi Fred McDowell, also covered by The Rolling Stones on their album Sticky Fingers. Semeniukas’ vocals are more than serviceable, but it is truly is fantastic guitar work that steals the show, and his ability is strong enough to rival even his heroes.
Semeniukas has a wonderful knack for expertly capturing styles from a wide variety of regions and eras, including the distinct Southern rock similar to Joe Walsh and the James Gang on “Gitarų šėlsmas,” and the Latin-flavored Santana riff of “See Jam.” In fact, the album comes off like the work of one man who clearly knows his music history, and it’s a tribute to the bands that have inspired him the most, while putting his own unique spin on his influences. Backstage Stories sounds like the artist trying out a bunch of different sounds, with varying degrees of success, but it’s an album of mostly winners. Undoubtedly his future work will find Semeniukas continue to strengthen his already distinctive voice as a musician.
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