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MUSIC IN BELGIUM November 16, 2020

Here is a group that comes out of nowhere with musicians not listed by the services, with unknown past but who seem to have a lot of experience with regard to the very good album ʺDelta Talesʺ that Sun King Rising has just made. And yet, when we analyze a little the documentation available on the Net about Sun King Rising, we quickly discover that its leader John Blangero is not quite a full-time professional musician, since he shares his love. music with a profession of doctor in genetics, professor at a University of Texas and scientific authority having to his credit nearly 700 specialized articles and lectures given in forty countries. We have a sort of Professor Raoult here who plays rock 'n' roll in his spare time. Impressive.

Best of all, the guy isn’t bad at all, he's even extremely talented, especially with a warm and sandy voice, between Bruce Springsteen and Captain Beefheart. John Blangero actually has a solid background in music since he learned the piano as a child and was able to play during his youth in cover bands (Anxiety's Moment), then a prog combo composing his own songs (Harlequin, later Harlequin Reborn).

Then musical activities gave way to medical studies because bohemian life is all well and good, but you still have to bring home something to eat.

Twenty years later, John Blangero was finally taken over by the music demon and founded this Sun King Rising band with family and friends, such as cousin Steve Schuffert on guitar, David Granati (The Granati Brothers) on mix, and drummers George Perilli (Michael McDonald), Andy Taravella (ADD Band) and Mark Francis (Harlequin Reborn). Note also the presence behind the console of two legends of underground American rock from the 70s: John Sferra (Glass Harp, cult heavy psych group) and Steve Acker (Law, a funk-rock group from the mid-70s).


Here, on this first album ʺDelta Talesʺ, John Blangero gives free rein to his love of southern rock, gospel, and Americana, acquired through listening to artists like Joe Cocker, Leon Russell, early Elton John and Dan Penn. The title of the album is deliberately chosen, in reference to the Rio Grande Delta, the great river in Texas that flows not far from John Blangero's home. The compositions, while remaining classic in these favorite genres, are simply magnificent. We stop in front of nuggets like ʺMilkweed and Thistleʺ, ʺDown the Delta Roadʺ, ʺBeneath the Southern Sunʺ, ʺEvangeline in the Morningʺ or ʺLove Turns Grayʺ. And there arises the question as to why an album is good when it has been sailing in ultra-crowded musical waters for decades. John Blangero and his accomplices could have served us a worn-out Americana album, with its bluesy and country guitars, its strong gospel choirs and all the hoopla that goes with it. And there, however, is the epiphany, the awakening of a new day, something impeccable.

The production undoubtedly has a lot to do with it, with its clear and sparkling sound, the depth of the sound field, a fine mix that emphasizes all the elements of the songs, from the neat brass to the female choirs, including of course the powerful voice of John Blangero and the splendor of his piano chords. The songs are removed but without emphasis, the rhythm is dynamic without being overly excited. All is well, right where it should be.


Classic rock seen by a big head full of diplomas could have given something pretentious, from prog for four-eyed astrophysicists or post-core convolutions to scores in the form of equations with eighteen unknowns. But here, Doctor John Blangero knows how to keep it simple and spontaneous, like any hard rocker with only a plasterer's CAP in his pocket. He does things seriously, of course, but he has a definite ability to let his heart speak, which is not always easy.

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