Muy Caliente is the way this disc might be described in the Southwest. That translates to very hot, 5 out of 5 stars, do not let charging camels, raging sand storms or burning heat cause you to miss this one. This is the blues, roots rock 'n roll, and a little New Orleans boogie-woogie thrown in the pot together, mixed up with the proper seasonings, and cooked just the right amount to become an exceptionally tasty gumbo (reminiscent of the food served up at Nonie's, the band favorite restaurant in Tucson, and the inspiration for the last song on the disc).
Grams & Krieger are Steve Grams songwriter, acoustic bass, Farfisa pianorgani, guiro, and vocals; and Danny Krieger songwriter, acoustic guitar, and slide and vocals. They also produced and engineered this disc; of course they had help from their many friends who they heap credit upon. They are ably assisted with the tunes by Eric-Jan Overbeek (Mr. Boogie Woogie), on piano Marx B. Loeb III on percussion, Ralph Gilmore on drums, Chip Ritter.com on percussion and Scott and Sandi Young as spiritual advisors. There is rock solid playing from everyone here and everyone is given a chance to step to the front and have some of that spotlight.
Particularly outstanding is "Mr. Boogie-Woogie," Eric-Jan, on piano. His piano playing really helps to solidify and enlarge the aural landscape, with rhythms that derive from the great piano tradition out of New Orleans. Listen to how on She's Got It Good, or Train Beat Boogie," the piano drives and guides the song.
Both Grams and Krieger have voices that have been aged and cured in whiskey, there is no vodka or gin here. Good aged oak casks of a smoky whiskey for Danny's voice and if you remove the smoke and you then have Steve's voice. The two voices are strong and reflect the perfectly fitted to their material. The pictures they paint aren't always what the Visitor's Guide would want you to have, however they are honest views of the Baked Pueblo, and of relationships in general. Give a listen to the understated, You'll Be Gone, not what one wishes for, yet is there anyone who can say they haven't had it happen. The acoustic bass playing of Steve fits into and establishes a disposition and Danny's work on the guitars, particularly his slide playing elaborates on it.
Indeed a very tasteful and enjoyable disc. Grams & Krieger grow on you with each listening.
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