CD: 11 Songs, 43:25 Minutes
Styles: Contemporary Electric Rock and Blues Rock
Neither the 1990’s sensation Blues Traveler, nor Southern California’s 60 Grit Band, are pure blues bands per se. Songs like “Runaround,” in the former case, and “Worthless Soul” in the latter, are blues-influenced rock. So are the two ensembles who play them. Sextet 60 Grit, offering their debut release to the public at large, has considerable musicianship, showmanship, and most notably, songwriting talent. What they lack is a cohesive, genre-based focus. Only track five on their self-titled album, “Lonely Whiskey Blues,” sounds anything close to traditional. The other ten tunes constitute blues-tinged R&R, and are excellent in and of themselves. Devotees of Willie Dixon might not like this CD. Devotees of White Stripes surely will. If one’s chief idea of the blues is “drinkin’ muddy water, and sleepin’ in a hollow log,” one should look elsewhere. However, if fans can squeeze room in their definition of this category for “The men who own this planet are the ones who [F’ed] it up,” the 60 Grit Band will be right up their alley. On ten originals and one cover, the 60 Grit Band is silky-smooth yet barroom-rough.
According to their promotional info sheet, “A list of just a few of the venues that the 60 Grit Band has played includes the House of Blues San Diego, Orange County and San Bernardino County Fairgrounds, Big Bear Mountain Ski Resorts, Hangar 24 Craft Brewery, and most recently, the 2016 Doheny Blues Festival, where they played the main stage, preceding the Edgar Winter Band, Aaron Neville and Lynyrd Skynyrd! They are currently the house band at the Tudor House in Lake Arrowhead…Having this regular show at the Tudor House has also afforded them the opportunity to bring in (and share the stage with) blues legends such as Rod Piazza and the Mighty Flyers, and more recently, guitar virtuoso Gino Matteo.”
The 60 Grit Band includes David Ferguson on vocals and guitar; Frank Orecchio on guitar; Brian Haringa on bass; Jeremiah Kiser on harmonica, and Nick Coffey and Sean Motley on drums.
The fifth song on this CD, mentioned earlier, has some potent lyrics and a subject even more so.
Track 05: “Lonely Whiskey Blues” – Sometimes, lovers who are fed up with playing second fiddle to a usurper named Al Cohol issue their partners an ultimatum. The narrator of this ditty has just received one: “My woman took my bottle. She tried to make me choose. Well, baby, what’s the question, man? I had to cut loose. I stay home; I get drunk; I sing the Lonely Whiskey Blues.” Everything about this song is at its optimal strength, going down smooth, like a double Jack Daniel’s on the rocks. This is especially the case with Jeremiah Kiser’s burning harmonica.
As impressive as the 60 Grit Band is, die-hard disciples of this genre (and readers of this magazine) will undoubtedly wish there was more blues on their debut album. Hopefully, with their sophomore CD, this will be the case. In the meantime, rock on!