Carlos Guitarlos, the incomparable bluesman and rocker whose hammering, guitaristic pyrotechnics are second to none, is the master of contradiction. For years it seemed his sole focus was to run his career so deep into the ground he’d never be heard from again; he famously spurned David Lee Roth’s early-1980’s request to have Van Halen cover a Guitarlos composition and within a decade of that bright move was reduced to life as a homeless street musician.
Just when it seemed the Reaper had issued Guitarlos a one-way ticket, the ornery wild man (with the assistance of an indie film documentary and some long suffering relatives) reversed course and found himself touring the world to lusty choruses of long overdue acclaim.
Such prestige proved fleeting, but the cat’s talent is not — his playing only increases in communicative depth, while his technique and instinct constantly reach ever higher. That’s a hell of a combination and Guitarlos, as incapable of cliche as he is addicted to originality, still goes upside the head with a skull fracturing impact that’s never less than flabbergasting.