03 July 2012


@ DotCom // Facebook // KnickKnack Records

"Look what you can get if you don't clown.
But if you clown you don't get a dog gone thing
-Mr. T-Model Ford

Seattle is not known as a mecca for dirty alt-blues. 
But it is known as a mecca for dirty, raw, music so it stands to reason that what ever comes out of the tarnished but spit-polished Emerald City (originator of the term Skid Row) would be as heavy, grimy, sexy, stoney, fat and frayed as your favorite drug rug or flannel, and containing a relationally strong amount of funque. 

Seattle's GravelRoad have been going down on the deep blues for years. These dudes are damn-near Godfathers of the sound (whatever that is). They have their bonafides as good as tattooed on their hides and road-worn bones. You know any other band that has spent the last five + years touring with and wrangling the cipher boss of the blues, nonagenarian T-Model Ford? No. You don't. 

Psychedelta is GravelRoad's third, newest and best work...so far. 
Their previous albums are good, each one a step forward from the last, but each searching for that special thing that would markedly set them apart. Psychedelta is that album. It's still GravelRoad with their T-Model-based boogie but his time they step around The Master to the dark side of a Mississippi harvest full moon...and invent Psychedelta

Psychedelic sounds have been used in blues music before, with debatable results. Most notably by or on (depending on the storyteller) Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters. Others have played with it. Some say GravelRoad took what did work, mixed in textures from their own musical pallet, and greased it with some heavy '70s jam-like slide vibes. They fused it to T-Model's well-boogied carriage, then set it on fire and let it burn down to some nice orange and white coals. They used those coals to start a swamp-fire inside a no-name amp they found abandoned in a dank Seattle basement and used it to power Psychedelta

As I said, these guys have been humping it cross-country for several years either backing T-Model Ford or going out alone. Often touring as a two-piece with guitarist Stefan Zillouxs and drummer Marty Reinsel with out their star bassist Kirby Newman. Marty toured solo a number of times as T-Model Ford's drummer, as well.  I do not envy him. Beside the task of taking care of Mr. T, try and air-drum while listening to T-Model sometime! The hard work has paid off. Not only is the band burlier and tighter, their skills give the production a fat bump as well. 

Psychedelta was produced by G.R. and mixed with Jim Diamond out of Detroit's Ghetto Recorders. Diamond has  worked for a whoswho of early dirty punk-ass  American music combos like The Dirtbombs, The Legendary Tigerman, Mooney Suzukis, and White Stripes. He worked closely with the band, bringing a out a deeper, heavier, and fatter sonic pallette and simply augmenting where they were headed in the first place, without detracting from where they'd been.

This is post-grunge psyche-punk blues played by Tejas/Fandango-era ZZ Top fans through the surround-sound speakers of T-Model Ford's plush-carpeted whitecloud Lincoln Continental Mark V as it drives north of Tacoma by way of Indianola. The porch-dog summer, the windows down, the smell of dirt in the air...reach down between my legs, ease the seat back...the monster eyes of cotton harvesters in the dusky dusty distance, the sun searing the thinnest thread of orange technicolor onto the great citys dark horizon. It's Psychedelta Time! ...and That's For Damn Sure!  The new album is currently streaming at KnickKnack Records. Go HERE.

So what's new with GravelRoad now that Psychedelta is out? Guitarist Stefan Z tells me they have two new babies: Marty's family has a new one, and the band has a new single coming out on KnickKnack Records that was recorded under a full moon at Willie Nelson's studio in Pedernales, TX. They'll be doing the Deep Blues NW Fest this year, and are plotting a European tour for next summer. Meanwhile, they're working on the next album. I heard a rough mix of the new single and it's a two-headed trip. I'll let you know when it's ready.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

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