26 September 2023

The Devil May Care

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Reviewed by Ian Phillips.

By The Avey Grouws Band, Bandcamp 2020.

My wife suggested I give this band a listen and I’m glad she did.

The Avey Grouws Band hail from the Quad City area of the Mississippi; where the river flows through the Iowa cities of Davenport and Bettendorf, with the sister cities of Rock Island and Moline across the river in Illinois.

This particular area is steeped in American musical history as it’s a meeting place between mid-western muscle and southern country music and acoustic blues.

This blend is found in The Devil May Care, the debut album of The Avey Grouws Band.

The band consists of front woman Jenny Grouws and guitarist Chris Avey.

These two have written the 10 tracks that appear on this album and they’re backed up by the supper tight rhythm section of drummer Brian West and bassist Randy Leasman.

Jenny Grouws has a fantastic gutsy voice that can be as soft as a cool breeze or thunder like a mid-western tornado. It’s a voice that is perfectly suited to the blues.

The 10 tracks on this disc are heavily electric blues influenced but they also contain hints of Latin rhythms as is befitting a band originating in one of the major mixing bowls of America.

The opening track, Come And Get This Love, has an enticingly sensual rumba swing while the anthemic, Rise Up, urges us into action to a grooving, rolling, Latino inspired beat.

The Avey Grouws Band take us on a musical journey through the south from the ballsy country rockin’ of Long Road to some roadhouse shuffle in Let Me Sing My Blues and even a bit of doo wop in Let’s Take It Slow.

Weary is mostly an acoustic track but it’s the electric blues that’s the real power of this album.

The band effortlessly swings from the barrelhouse piano of Let Me Sing My Blues to the scorching tormented blues of Dirty Little Secret and on to hard driving southern boogie on Dig What You Do.

You name the style; they can play it.

This is a really good debut album from a band that has obviously honed its craft playing to hard, tough, and knowledgeable audiences.

If you’re into authentic southern rock and blues then this is the album for you.

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