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.)