American Standard Time review of Capitol Hill Country Blues
“Gravel Road blues is big beat music, a deceptively Southwestern sound made right here in the Northwest, a fiercely pioneering outpost where we quarrel with money like some crazy lover, and make our last civilized goodbyes before heading into isolated Northern frontiers. “Backyard” and “Rather Be Lonesome” are roadhouse ready boogie down jams that put a dip in the hip and a shimmy in the shoulder. CHCB simmers on the drone of the rhthym section until the album reaches a boiling point. By the time you get to “One More Dollar” the lid’s done blown off the damn pressure cooker, the ceiling splattered in hot shit, but you could give a damn because you’re struttin your ass off in the living room high on the heat of cracklin electric riffs. “Rabbit Run” might be the finest blues Gravel Road ever done played. The nearly six minute long epic turns a simple phrase into a psychedelic blues journey with methodical electric guitar riffs, solos, and foot stomping drums.
As they’re wont to, Gravel Road puts blues riffs on the elastic of time and not only stretches backwards, but forward into new ground, like on the intensely weird “Song The Darkness”. A futuristic blues muffled in fuzzy ribbon mic vocals, wandering, dreamy guitars, and that thudding, droning, back line. This is northwestern music: comfort sounds that you can wrap yourself in like the familiar grey skies; made by folks who huddle into studios slightly bigger than hallways outside the rain and grind out filthy albums to scare away the gloom. “Green Lungs” is completely weeded out with a krautrock inspired trip that speeds up and agitates the blues. The album comes to rest on slide guitar and finger-picked “I Feel High”. As you should. Gravel Road hits the road this fall playing a bevy of dates and they’re in rare form, rugged, gristly, and bluesy as hell.”
~Sean Jewell, American Standard Time
“Reviewer Patrick Wells once said, that Gravelroad sounds like John Lee Hooker if he was a member of Black Sabbath. At that time, he didn’t know that the record which fits this statement that is yet to come. The album is entitled Capitol Hill Country Blues and Gravelroad continues to sharpen their specific psychedelic-hard-blues music with both main genres melting in a very organic way. The four-piece band harvests the products of their previous records, sharpens and deepens the concepts they started earlier and brings with it the sound of high originality.
The sound is dark, hypnotic in its repetitiveness (in doom-blues piece Song To Darkness gets well known Mississippi mud an adequate musical form). In equal shares they take from both musicians mentioned before, which are easily connected in one single expression. This expression is – sometimes less, sometimes more – spiced with slight psychedelic odor, which takes listener to the long trips through space and time.
The key elements are two guitars, sometimes interweaving, sometimes fighting. More, the guitar figures are quite simple, based on the traditional blues, even that there is no classical 12-bar on the record. Gravelroad doesn’t need that. The apex stone is the rhythm section, bass and hard-hitting drums.
You can feel quite a lot of devotion to the blues from the record. It is not taken in the narrow-minded way, it is taken as a base, as river, which flows under the surface and only sometimes it bursts over the surface. Capitol Hill Country Blues is a record for the new millennium. It is modern, with interesting sound, amusing. The Record of the year? Unlikely, this title will go to some well known name. But for me, it is.”
Writer Rick Bowen from No Depression reviewed the new album from GravelRoad and describes it as “a new blend of Northwest rock with trance blues and deep soul grooves“
For the complete album review click here:
Black Bull Blues Blog review Capitol Hill Country Blues
““Come and Gone” is also a favorite and brings the GravelRoad liquor mix of Blues and Grunge more in place. GravelRoad always brings their blues with a garage-edged angle.”
For the full review click here:
GravelRoad’s 2014 album El Scuerpo received 8 out of 10 stars from Classic Rock Magazine
“It’s a little like what John Lee Hooker may have sounded like in Black Sabbath. And who wouldn’t want to hear that?”
Patrick Wells, Classic Rock Magazine
Press received for GravelRoad’s July 2013 release ‘The Bloody Scalp of Burt Merlin’
…”torn-and-frayed moments like Cocaine Baby are winningly chaotic, evoking sunburnt arms, clutching joints, hanging out of pickups, pointed south.”
Classic Rock Magazine – July 2013
“Nothing is easy on this album. Nothing is safe. It’s a full bore explosion of a statement. The band even departs from the hip-shake beat that, I feel, locked them into the Mississippi form. I’ve always been impressed with how drummer Martin Reinsel locks down the groove of their sets live. Here, he takes the role of a hard driving trucker, moving beyond that hip shake kick… slamming the band into heavy rock territory with the RPMS climbing on ‘Med Pass,’ then slipping it back down with ‘Bottom of the World’.”
GravelRoad appears on the soundtrack for the January, 2013 movie Baytown Outlaws, starring Billy Bob Thornton and Eva Longoria The film follows the Oodie brothers-Brick, Lincoln and McQueen-who act as vigilante killers for the local sheriff. When the trio accept a job to rescue a young boy from his godfather, plans quickly fall apart as the brothers aim to deliver the boy to safety while pursued by groups of assassins.
Press for GravelRoad’s 2012 7 inch vinyl release ‘Pedernales’
GravelRoad, Pedernales (out now, Knick Knack Records, gravelroadblues.com): “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean” is the season’s first solid drinking song (you’ll need a whole pitcher). “Monkey With a Wig,” the front side of this single, is sophisticated bar-band blues at its most riffalicious.
Press received for GravelRoad’s 2012 release ‘Psychedelta’
“Since the release of their last album (2008’s Shot The Devil), this Seattle band has toured and recorded two albums with primal Mississippi blues artist T-Model Ford. Some of his raw energy might’ve rubbed off on them because they’re now back with their third and strongest album to date, a hard-driving set of raw, gritty blues-rock steeped in Mississippi hill country blues, featuring a variety of rocked-up deep, primal blues songs combining rumbling electric guitar riffs and some sweet slide along with hypnotic rhythms and husky vocals.”
“imagine a sound that combines the Texas grease and grit of Fandango! -era ZZ Top; the swamp hoodoo of Creedence at their trippiest; the ass-pocketful-of-whiskey-and-headful-of-something-else sway of Jon Spencer; and the wump of John Lee Hooker’s stomping left foot.”
“Psychedelta is a proper album. Consistent, addictive, hypnotic.”
“If The Black Keys are the acceptable, mainstream face of blues, these guys deserve their time in the sun…Delta blues influences to one side, “Caves” is the most overtly trippy song, a meandering and searing gaze into Owsley’s laboratory that floats along. “Leave Her Alone” locks into a groove and cuts out just as it threatens to go other places. “Let Me Hold You” is a restrained closer, its vocal way in the background…There’s a certain audience “Psychedelta” will appeal to. It’s probably not the Black Keys listeners who think they started last week. Gravelroad eschews the melodic trimmings. This is music to be absorbed late at night, not passed off with a cursory listen.”
“Say what you will about whiteboys and the blues, the bass tone that starts “Nobody Get Me Down” is unfuckwithable. And Seattle trio GravelRoad come by it pretty honestly, having served for years as the backing back for bluesman T-Model Ford.”