Murali Coryell is a ball of passionate energy when he’s onstage singing and playing guitar. But he also had that same non-stop enthusiasm when he was on his break at the Saratoga Springs coffeehouse, chatting with the members of the audience about his legendary father (guitarist Larry Coryell), the blues and soul masters who influenced him or his latest album, which he recorded in Nashville with his dad and blues great Joe Louis Walker.
Making his Caffe Lena debut as a solo acoustic artist, Coryell’s voice had a bit of Rod Stewart’s rasp, and his superb guitar playing had some of that old-style, back-porch Mississippi bluesman-bite. But Coryell is very much his own man, and he gets at the heart and soul of any song, regardless of whether he wrote it or not.
The majority of the songs that he performed on Friday night were solid originals from his new indie album, “Sugar Lips.” But he also featured several blues-soul standards, including Sam Cooke’s soaring “A Change Is Gonna Come” and Al Green’s joyous anthem, “Love And Happiness,” which closed the show.
Opening the show was the fantastic Nippertown guitar-duo known as the Tequila Mockingbirds. The combined fingers of George Fletcher and Pete Pashoukos flew up and down their fretboards with such faultless synchronization that the crowd – as well as Coryell – was mightily impressed. “I have trouble coordinating my voice with the guitar,” Coryell admitted when he took the stage. “Wow, just look at those two guys – their playing is amazing!”
Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk