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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Monday, February 4, 2013

What You Gonna Do? - Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, What You Gonna Do? from Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders and a new groove is appearing here! The release opens with When The Sun Goes Down, a rowdy rockin' blues track with a surf twist. Crankshaft has a cast of players on this release including Keith Boyles on upright bass and Pete Henning on drums and percussion. Crankshaft continues moving up in key (on the guitar) as the song progresses creating a sense of increased speed and excitement. Boomtown has a swampy sound with fat distorted guitar and sweet backing vocals by Kashimana Ahua, Rachel Holder and Andrea Bennett-Xiong. Dancin' In The Dirt is a foot stompin' blues rocker staying pretty stripped down but Crankshaft adding a little harp into the mix. There is a certain looseness that is accomplished over a very tight rhythm section that sounds really cool. Trail Of Tears is a nice track that blends some of the Texas boogie bottom with some of the sounds of primitive electrical acoustics. He has gone to a lot of trouble creating just the right studio conditions recording in the hayloft of a rustic barn from the early 20th century. Crankshaft is pushing in a lot of different directions right now and this is a good one for sure! Kingpin has a totally different spin, backed with a Latin rhythm and horns. Jason Fabus on Tenor Sax; Doug Haining on Bari sax; Matt Hazelka on bass trombone, Euphonium and trombone and Zach Lozier on coronet create a different ambiance for a smooth vocal track by Crankshaft and also setting the stage for some really hot guitar riffs. The horn section continues on I Wanna Play, a little ditty of a track where the horns play New Orleans style and do a pretty cool job of it. Bruce McCabe adds some nice piano to this track as well. Waiting For Me is more of a ballad accompanied primarily by guitar and light percussion. There is a funky breakout or two on this track adding a bit of a twist. Earthquake Shake is a straight forward blues rocker and possibly the most airplay anxious track on the release. I really like it (which is typically contrary to attributions to pop acceptability) but this is a pretty nice track that I think everyone will dig. Vocals are perfect, McCabe is under the bottom on organ and the guitar is just dirty enough to make it hot. Let Me Love You is another track that keeps vocals on top with a stripped down melody side and heavier rhythm side. I really like this arrangement. Solid driving bottom! Gotta love it. Don't Leave has that hot drilling punk sound. It's really short but I really like it. Fill It Up falls into more of a country/rockin' groove with a ocean wave in the back. With it's dance break it's sure to be an audience pleaser. The final track, Barkin' Up The Wrong Tree, is a great track to close out this back to basics rocker. I really like this track which is a bit guitar heavy with raw vocals, muted rhythm guitar and clean guitar riffs on the refrain. Crankshaft has put together a really smokin' set of stripped down, surfin' swampy, rockin' blues tracks and if you haven't checked him out yet... now is the time!

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