The Heavy Chevy Band – Open Up
Rolling Horse Records 2013
10 tracks; 36 minutes
Hailing from the Pacific North West, this band is fronted by vocalist Darcy Lee Gribble. Darcy wrote all the material here with guitarist Brian Chevalier (who also plays harp and sings) while sax is added by Janie Smith. The rhythm section is unfortunately not credited on the album sleevenotes.
The material ranges from heavy rockers like opener “Secrets” to almost country blues like “Lonesome Cry”: the latter works well with harp set against acoustic guitars and hand percussion; the former less so as the rather thin sounding sax does not fit easily with the frenetic guitar work, though we immediately encounter the fine vocals of Darcy.
Darcy comes across even better on “Little Miss Lonely” where Brian’s moody slide provides excellent colour behind Darcy’s great voice though, again, Jane’s sax solo sounds out of place here. “Slow Burn” is, as the title suggests, a slow blues and here Jane’s sax sounds more robust.
The remaining tracks are all quite short. A jaunty guitar riff is at the heart of “Jump Back” and “She Got It Going On” is a rocker with Brian handling the lead vocals – both tracks are short and sweet at 2.30 each. “Borrow Another Dollar” opens with some convincing Elmore James-style slide, Brian again leading on vocals.
“Getting Into Something” brings Darcy back to the mike with another strong vocal, both Brian and Jane in support – the sound is good but the lyrics pretty meaningless. “Weep” finds Darcy in gospel mode with Brian on resonator quietly supporting her. Jane’s flute distracts from the vocal performance which is a shame as Darcy sings very expressively and might have been better with just the guitar and minimal percussion. The title track strangely closes the album with an instrumental, a dialogue between slide and sax with plenty of percussion.
What is clear from these tracks is that Darcy Lee Gribble has a fine voice that deserves to be heard. When she sings the listener takes notice immediately; it would be good to hear her voice in other settings.