Review: Dirty Rice Brings Grit to Seattle Blues on ‘Devil’s Nursery’

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If a rockin’ blues thrill ride is what you seek, look no further then Dirty Rice. The Devil’s Nursery released June of 2016 features the growling vocals and keen lead and slide guitar work from leader and veteran northwestern guitarist Eric Rice. He is backed up acutely by an all-star rhythm section, consisting of multiple Best of the Blues award winners Scotty Harris on bass and drummer Andrew Cloutier. The trio kick off the first of six original tunes with the mid-western blues rock anthem of positive thinking, “I’m Alive.”

A slippery funk groove anchors Rice’s tongue twisting “No Time.” The track warms us up for the inferno of rock and roll rebuke in the title track “Devil’s Nursery.” This mix of rock, rap, and scalding slide is played out with over-the-top theatrical flare, but his message is clear that modern parenting in our video-addicted culture is much to blame for society’s problems. The head-nodding track “Nobody But You” feels like a gem unearthed from the Buddy Holly catalog, and was written by Spokane guitar-man Cary Fly.

Rice drops a solo acoustic reading of Delta blues classic “Goin’ To Build Me a Playhouse” in the center of the album, before amping up his slide work for the full-tilt party “Whiskey Stop.” The Lefty Frizzell song “Long Black Veil” is fleshed out with sweet background vocals and dynamic underpinnings, taking the time-tested song to new heights.

The LP comes with an extended version offered as a bonus, featuring a soaring chorus of “Amazing Grace” from Julie Mains. The foot-stomping country detour “Bonus Round” is a genuine wild ride, complete with a cowbell-driven beat, gritty guitar and sing-along chorus. The swamp rock blues
“7th Shot of Whiskey” defines the Dirty Rice sound, and is the perfect centerpiece to the incredibly sharp and well-read record.

(The Devil’s Nursery is available to purchase through Dirty Rice’s website, where you can also sample the LP.)

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Rick Bowen

Rick grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan playing in school band, choir and show bands. While earning a BA at Western Michigan University in History and Social Science, he was a member of the Bronco marching band and jazz ensemble Gold Company. Moving to the Northwest in 1994, Rick soon landed gigs and sessions with many diverse local artists and is currently a member of the award winning Stacy Jones Band and the host of the all ages School of Jam. Rick is also an associate producer and session musician for Critical Sun Recordings, a contributing writer at Innocent Words, Seattle Examiner, No Depression, The Washington Blues Society and S.T.E.A.M magazine, and serves on the board of directors for the Washington Blues Society. Rick is endorsed by and plays THUMPER CUSTOM DRUMS. Awards: Washington Blues Society “Best of the Blues” award 2009 Best New Band –Stacy Jones Band WBS “Best of the Blues” award 2012 Best Blues Jam - Oxford Saloon Monday Night Jam 2013 & 2014 WBS Best Blues Writer award. 2014 WBS Chris Leighton Blues Drummer BB Award. Nominations: 2009 & 2013 Best Blues Drummer WBS BB awards. 2012 Best NW recording “No Need To Spell it Out –Stacy Jones Band (Rick J Bowen co producer)