The debut album from Katy Guillen & The Drive is blast of bluesy, guitar-driven rock that hits all the right chords on Another One Gained. The set was masterfully produced by Kevin Ratterman (Heartless Bastards, Ray LaMontagne), and Guillen really steps into the forefront of the mix with a bold swagger in her vocal takes and guitar instrumentation. The band is rounded out by Stephanie Williams (bass, percussion/drums) and Ratterman (who does some occasional keys and programming), and their band chemistry is felt widely in this warm set of songs that wraps the listener in a unique sense of comfort.
The album opens with the comprehensive title track that finds Guillen crooning over a bluesy, hard-nosed electric guitar as she sings, “I am coming to terms, you are coming around / Making my peace, finding a sound / Working through guilt for moving forward / While my heart spills over, I’ve never felt more sober / I could never see where this was taking me / Rushing me down / So much energy, just to spit me out / Already spitting me out, spitting me out.” Her well thought out lyrics are poised, yet pointed at the people who may have done her wrong over her life. “Discoloration” was one of the songs to be released as single, and it’s easy to see why. The track features some great, on-point drumming from Williams that hits all the right spots to allow for Guillen to belt out on the anthemic chorus.
”Bottom Of Your Belly” was my personal favorite in the set as it slow-builds to a great, crowd-pleasing hook of, “The pit in the bottom of my belly sinking so low / There’s nothing like a pit in the bottom of your belly, hear it roar / Everybody knows it, everybody knows it,” that bounces along the bass line before exploding into a new wall of sound in the next verse. Other early songs like “Harsh Realization” showcase the depth of Guillen’s vocal range and overall ability to weave a tangled web of intricacy through her lyrics, while “Set In Stone” allows for plenty of space to simply get into the groove of the guitar riffing and rock out.
”Because It’s Blue” seems destined for some form of success on blues radio stations, and sounds like a mix between Joni Mitchell and Janis Joplin. Katy Guillen & The Drive never lose their early momentum on the closing trio of “How To Live,” the heartfelt breaking point shown on “Nothing Comes Close,” and the sprawling, nearly six-minute closer “Different.” With a talent that is undeniable and felt throughout every lyric and hook, Katy Guillen & The Drive have masterfully crafted a debut record that accomplishes everything it likely sought out to be. This authentic album can be enjoyed by audiences who are fans of any genre of music, but blues fans looking for something refreshing will especially be blown away. It’s safe to say that the music world has gained another gem of an artist to watch as this year unfolds.