This San Francisco based singer/songwriter, who was born in Puerto Rico, has one incredible story that absolutely needs to be told first. Four short years ago, Gaby Velazquez worked at a Los Angeles real estate office as a mortgage loan officer. There was steady income, but Gaby’s heart wasn’t in the work as he quenched for a higher purpose in life. This meaning of his life hit him like a brick when Velazquez ventured into Northern Cali for a big music festival. From there, he decided to high tail it to Central America where he spent some quality time with just he and his guitar for six months. This is the moment in time when Gaby Valazquez was truly living his dream to be a musician.
The new record, Let Me In, chronicles the life of Velazquez to show where he is now both personally & professionally. The album offers an array of musical tastes from pop & rock to folk & Americana and even some country & punk thrown in for good measures. Gaby V had the pleasure of working with some very talented people on Let Me In such as: drummer/percussionist Inx Herman who played with Paul Simon, electric bassist Mark Calderon who played with The Fugees, lap steel guitarist Dan Lebowitz from the band ALO along with Colin Hoops on keys and of course Gaby Velazquez on rhythm guitars & vocals. It is also highly noted that this record was mixed/engineered by Grammy winner Oz Fritz, whose impressive resume includes working with Tom Waits, Les Claypool and Trey Anastasio of Phish just to name a few.
Let Me In starts up with a track titled “Intuition”, which I have to say my intuition, early on, was that this was going to be a very good record. The song started off with a nice feel mixed with a folky pop sensation. On the songs “Time” and “Time-out”, some highly addictive & memorable lyrics stuck out to me such as on “Time”: “How quick it went by; instantly a memory passing unconditionally”. Then on “Time-out”, Velazquez says “No time to take it slow. Where did the time go?” The references to time have such simple meanings here but with such powerful words. These two songs and these lines really made me stop and think for a second about the concept of time. Not to mention, Gaby V. was connecting these songs musically in brilliant fashion. The next song on my list, “Dreams”, also had a terrific meaning along with a contagiously happy-go-lucky feel. During this song, Velazquez sings “Make your dreams reality. Not as hard as it seems”—moving while proving to be incredibly inspirational. “Seamstress” offers a fast, fun & upbeat feel along with a stellar line where Gaby V. calls this his “ocean of sound”. One very interesting track is “Drive-Thrus and Ammunition” where the song switches back and forth between an easy-going country pace and a thrashed out punk rock mode. Gaby V. shows us his funny side on “Sloshbucket” and “Mustard Squirt” with Gaby V. & the Jokesters bringin’ the goods. On “Sloshbucket”, you get a jammin’ out, hangin’ out, havin’-a-good-time-kinda-vibe and there is even a rap on this track.
Two of my favorite features on the record were the fine sounds coming from the rhythm guitars and the pure emotion being poured on by Velazquez. Gaby’s guitar playing skills were on Q while you could also really feel & hear the passion backed behind his voice. This artist seems to have something special here and I now think that the doors will be wide open. My intuition turned out to be correct in the end. For more on Gaby Valazquez and his latest release, Let Me In, SKOPE out www.gabyvmusic.com.
By Jimmy Rae[Rating: 4.5/5]