Today (January 28), guitar great Eric Gales released his long-awaited, Joe Bonamassa and Josh Smith-produced album, Crown.
To mark the occasion, he's released a powerful music video for the song Stand Up, which you can watch below.
Stand Up is a beautiful, heartfelt ballad that frankly examines the struggles Gales has faced in his life, and his broader experiences as a Black man in America. He opens its video with a dedication to "anyone who has ever felt discriminated against."
"We should all learn to co-exist," he says directly to the camera, "for the common good of the human race."
The concept behind Crown, and Gales's collaboration with Bonamassa, was first hatched all the way back in 2019, on the Keeping the Blues Alive cruise.
“On the blues cruise,” Gales told Guitar World in a recent interview, “Joe and I did an interview together. Beforehand, I had said to my wife, ‘Babe, I’m just going to throw this at Joe: Will you produce my next record?’ The worst thing that could happen is that he’s going to tell me ‘no’ – but he’s going to have to say 'no' in front of a thousand people!
“I sort of backed him into a corner,” Gales continued, “but the truth is I couldn’t have gotten him to do something he didn’t already want to do. He said to me, ‘You have no idea how long I’ve been waiting and watching. You are a badass guitarist; it would be more than an honor for me to help you get your rightfully deserved seat at the table.’”
Bonamassa joked that he wouldn't be a cheap hire, but agreed to do the album after Gales gave him his required fee – two Diet Cokes.
"I went back to my suite," Gales told Guitar World, "and said, ‘Babe, let’s get two Diet Cokes right fast!’ I took them back to him and said, ‘Deal!’ We shook hands and that was it.”
Crown is available now via Provogue Records/Mascot Label Group, and on all streaming services.