Michael Grimm – Grimm
Primary URL: http://michaelgrimmmusic.com/
Not too bad, not too bad at all. I’ve heard a few of Michael Grimm’s recordings over the years and it sounded like he was putting the blues back in rock. New music is so often a drag and chore to sit through, so it’s good to hear these current musicians embrace the past. They were simpler times for everyone involved.
While his classmates were outside playing regular children’s games, Grimm was busy shut up in his room learning how to play a guitar given to him by Nashville country gospel goddess, Ann McNair. Over a short amount of time he found himself capable of playing his favorite and his career has been on a rocket ride ever since. From America’s Got Talent to a span of several successful albums with accompanying tours his star began getting bigger. On his latest record Grimm he serves an enticing soul food meal of blues, funk, pop and rock. He calls upon several genres for his unique sound, yet never ripping off his peers and expanding on traditions.
“Generation Next” is an arena rocking anthem right out of the gate. This tune feels crafted for a couple of thousand people singing along at the top of their lungs. The guitars have a salsa, reggae type style to them and the rhythm section breaks it down into a funky, affecting blues. When the chorus hits the song takes off into the stratosphere. A dirt road, lover’s lament jam “She drives me Crazy” raises the energy level to a crest that is brought into tranquil pastures thanks to the warm, fluffy pop of the single “Black and White.” You can tell there is a definite and finite message to Grimm’s work and the lyrical imagery used in his tunes.
As the album creeps in on the halfway point the heavy hard rock guitar is melded with a downhome blues on tracks such as “The Tide,” “Roses,” “Tragic Figures,” “Goodbye Sammy” and “Bliss.” “The Tide,” “Roses” and “Goodbye Sammy” go way back from the blues, culling the mountainous guitar figures and fat rhythms of the early to mid-70s legends. “Tragic Figures” toys with playful jazz textures and swaying rhythms that keep pushing and pulling against the rhythmic backdrop. “Bliss” takes the earlier pop structuring and combines the resulting harmonic touches with some muscular rock. Closer “Brother Wind” is a sparse, saddened piece about lost love (perhaps either a breakup or death, hard to tell) and it a stripped-down, raw-to-the-bone country song with more than a smattering of the genre’s patented heartbreak in tow. This cut is quite frankly one of the best in the Grimm album’s arsenal.
Michael Grimm treads a lot of ground on his latest release. He doesn’t stick to one thing doggedly, instead mixing up the style seamlessly whenever it is needed most to attain song differentiation. There is enough gruff, gritty rock here to please the set that thinks such music died in ’79. And the younger crowd who yearn for feel good, spirt lifting hooks will find a dense plethora throughout Grimm’s twelve inspired tracks. There is nothing much to complain about with this disc. There is no shortage of high wattage electric guitar and gutsy vocals, but Michael smooths everything into a shine with his penchant for delivering bristling, bouncy melodies. He still has room for growth. As it stands, this is a great statement from him in the right here and now.
8 out of 10 stars.
– Alonzo Evans