Review: Gravel Road — ‘Mississippi Time’

For the those of you who dig sludgy landscapes of reverb-soaked guitars and hypnotic rhythms that challenge your senses, prepare to be satiated by Mississippi Time, the seventh studio album from Seattle based heavy blues rockers Gravel Road. The new tracks were recorded and mixed during the fall of 2016 at Dial Back Sound in Water Valley, Mississippi, hence the title. This is an important point because this is not a delta blues album in the traditional sense, but rather a reflection of the new Memphis underground and the very far left of center world of the movement deemed “Deep Blues.” The quartet delivers a full on symphonic garage rock sonic that explores all the sounds possible with two guitars, bass and drums.

The opening track “My Baby’s Tryin’” is a rumbling one-chord boogie that evokes images of Howling Wolf mashed up with The Velvet Underground. The greasy “Roll Me Like A Stone,” works over a Jimmy Page inspired guitar riff until its beaten into bloody submission. The first of two tracks that weigh in at over seven minutes “Demonstar,” is a thick paste of psychedelic wallpaper, that bookends two minute quickstep tracks, the fuzz rocker “Get It Right,” and the scorching Hill Country Blues “Left Me Twice,” before the Black Sabbath goes to Clarksdale stoner jam “149 Delta.” The almost conventional tome of lost love “Bleeding Well,” closes the set with some very tasty slide guitar and sorrowful vocals.

Gravel Road plans to release the album on vinyl lacquers that were cut by Jeff Powell at Sam Phillips Recording Service in Memphis, which will no doubt have very deep grooves.

(Listen to “Get It Right” from Mississippi Time below and visit the Gravel Road website HERE to learn more about the band and click HERE to purchase a copy of the album.)   

 

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)