Anyone familiar with Kings X will know that they’re a band with a unique persona. One that defies playing anything even remotely conventional. So it’s no surprise that Grinder Blues, which is made up of the bands bassist dUg Pinnick, joined by the Emmy winning brothers Scot and Jeff ‘Jabo’ Bihlman, don’t play anything like your normal interpretation of the Blues, as their name roughly suggests. This sophomore album, aptly titled ‘El Dos’ (The Second), is ten original tracks that follow up their debut from 2014. The chance meeting of these guys was a miracle waiting to happen, the brothers are no strangers to the music scene, having released four albums under their own ‘Bihlman Brothers’ name, they have played with the likes of B.B King, Ted Nugent and Kid Rock and are also busy session players. They even write ’How to Play’ instruction books, although they are best known for their music in film and TV, gaining countless awards. A side project maybe, but Grinder Blues, are on a mission to bring their style of the Blues to your ears. Jabo says “We’re trying to push the boundaries of a genre that can be stale if you’re not careful,” and dUg states “The idea for the music was to stay away from the clichés and rock out, If we felt like we were heading into any songs that seemed like standard blues lyrically or musically, we made it a point to veer in the opposite direction.”
The track ‘Another Way Around’ with its rugged slide and slow moving tempo, opens this album and you are transferred into the backwater US states and the personal experiences that created this genre. Mr Pinnick holds the vocals with longing and smoothness, drifting with the ebb and flow. ‘Everybody’ has more swing and is packed with slap Rhythm and Blues, an easy to go melody with additional messy guitar by Jabo Bihlman, that cleverly takes it to a different dimension. The single ‘Gotta Get Me Some Of That’ is funk with a capital F. Here the basics can be heard, bongos and dUg’s bass taking the limelight. There’s a lengthy instrumental section that works it’s way in, mixing up the flavours really well. Another single ‘Who Wants A Spankin’, grinds with a sultry and a more direct chorus. Slow and generous on the whole and it has a screaming guitar solo that penetrates more than just the ears. My favourite track is ‘When The Storm Comes’ it has an intro of plucking strings that conjure up the mellowness of the South. The theme continues all the way, but is interlaced with driving guitars that are lowly, unstoppable and circle around like vultures above the prey. This is a 21st Century update on some of that heavy rock/blues, that the likes of Led Zeppelin mastered so well.
‘Keep Away’ is full of the atmospherics of a late night club. Imagine the small tables with seedy guests and the gentle nodding of those engrossed in the music. It’s another track that hollers the simplicity of the blues with underpinning fret punching that provides more raunchy and contemporary behaviour. While ‘Hand Of God’ has an eerie and lasting introduction to get into the feel. Breaking into more bottle neck slide and a swamp fever, it rattles with an immense melodic chant and there’s more stable drumming from Scot ‘Little’ Bihlman. The final offering ‘King Without A Throne’ chugs with more ample Rhythm and Blues, the underlying melody and finely perfected guitar strings, cohabit with dUg’s vocal presence without a hitch. Short at less than three minutes but it gets the message across of good time bluesy rock.
If you like to stray from the path or add a shot to your coffee, then you will enjoy this album that offers both a different path and a stronger blast of Blues. Yes, the slide guitar and 12 bars are included, but the re-invented take, on a genre that has to be one of most ancient, is so rewarding to the ear. Well, knowing the components, you never expected this to be a bog standard Blues album did you ?
“We’re trying to push the boundaries of a genre that can be stale if you’re not careful ” – Jabo Bihlman.
HIGHLIGHTS – Another Way Around, When The Storm Comes, Hand Of God.
TRACK LISTING – Another Way Round. Everybody. Gotta Get Me Some Of That. Who Wants A Spankin’. When The Storm Comes. Somebody. Keep Away. Hold Me Close. Hand Of God . King Without A Throne,
LINE UP – dUg Pinnick – Bass/Vocals . Scot ‘Little’ Bihlman – Drums/Percussion/Vocals. Jeff ‘Jabo’ Bihlman – Guitar/Vocals
Produced by Miles Fulwider
Record Label : METALVILLE Band & Label Pool (www.metalville.de )
Go to the bands FACEBOOK page to watch the videos for the singles and how to order your copy.
Visit the WEBSITE for more in-depth news.
The album will be released 24th September on the METALVILLE label and available in a range of formats including Vinyl.