4 star Pasadena Weekly review

Thanks to Bliss Bowen for this great review:

RICK HOLMSTROM, Cruel Sunrise (M.C.): ****

Recorded between tours backing Mavis Staples, LA guitarist Holmstrom’s in-demand trio — Holmstrom, drummer/percussionist Stephen Hodges and bassist/saxophonist/slide guitarist Jeff Turmes — expand beyond the bar-band blues of 2007’s “Late in the Night.” Songs like “It’s Time I Lose,” “I’m Not Afraid” and “By My Side” showcase Holmstrom’s development as a songwriter and the band’s soulful finesse, while Staples adds fire to “Owe You Everything” and the killer gospel-blues groove “Lord Please.” A highlight of Holmstrom’s live gigs, spacey instrumental “Luellie” reminds that he belongs to that choice club of guitarists with an expressive, signature tone — and oh, what a conversation it sparks.