MP3 Karl Grambo and the Roadhouse Redeemers - Bedrooms,Bars And Bibles
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8 MP3 Songs in this album (32:24) !
Related styles: Blues: Blues-Rock, Rock: Americana, Mood: Fun
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Karl Grambo and the Roadhouse Redeemers âBedrooms, Bars and Biblesâ
Posted on April 7, 2011 by Phil
Karl Grambo and the Roadhouse Redeemers have a rollicking, greasy good time on Bedrooms, Bars and Bibles. The only complaint is that the party, which clocks in at just eight songs, ends so quickly.
Grambo opens with âI Was There,â featuring this grinding, grumpy riff and a gravelly, insistent voice that recalls Robbie Robertson. Then, after a blues-rocking verse, the tune ascends to a soaring chorus straight out of Bruce Springsteen. Already, Bedrooms, Bars and Bibles is reading like a primer on roots rock except, rather than talking about the archetypical Americana characters of truck drivers, factory workers or heart-of-gold ladies of night, âI Was Thereâ has a Christian message. It wonât be the first time these guys hit a memorable groove, or find a new way to retell tried-and-true blues tales.
Grambo backs down into a scraggly R&B for âBeautiful Dancer,â wailing and weaving like Gregg Allman now in front of sinewy, dual guitar-toting band. As he chats up a damaged lady friend, the Roadhouse Redeemers carry on like a college-days wing-man, bucking up their buddy by shimmying toward a boisterous conclusion. Grambo quiets almost to a whisper on the contemplative âMercy,â channeling modern-day Bob Dylan, but with far more tender openness. Heâs not preaching, and certainly not teaching, so much as commiserating with lovers who cannot love, those who are lastingly brokenhearted. âI come to you in madness,â Grambo confesses, âI come to you so wrong. â¦ I come to you, thatâs all.â âSmiley Hipsâ subsequently arrives like a fist in the middle of the chest, boasting a smacking, whiskey-barrel beat and a vocal that sounds like it was sung through a mouthful of gravel. A boozy group of backup singers join in for a rousing chorus of câmon, câmon, câmon, and the groove somehow grows deeper, more dangerous. By the end, the locomotive âSmiley Hipsâ has become a rafter-rattling, hip-shaking, all but undeniable call to the dance floor.
âNeedy Genius (Ode to Van)â is the cleanest modern blues on Bedrooms, Bars and Bibles, with a crisply incisive guitar lick and an even sharper lyric. Grambo somehow finds a lower measure early on in this sour-mash ballad, singing about an aching need for a cold and distant lover, then catches a thumping rhythm, memorably growling âIâll goâ six stunning times, one after another after another, before finally adding âdonât ask why.â He admits to calling her name, deep in the blackness of midnight, then that lonely cry is echoed by a scalding guitar turn. If anything, the galloping âKing of Bergen Countyâ is a rangier, heavier successor, with a musical bravado that recalls the earliest city blues and a country-boy storyline straight out of Muscle Shoals-era Lynyrd Skynyrd. Except that Grambo is from the backwoods of Georgia, by way of â¦ New Jersey? âHey, ma, look at me now,â he howls, as a roiling group of female singers shimmer on either side, âIâm playing Gibson guitars, got a Cadillac car.â Maybe those seemingly disparate swamplands, thousands of miles apart, have more in common than we knew. âItâs A Good Thing,â meanwhile, has the sweeping musicality of an arena-rock power ballad, but without the fatty synths and lingering stench of hair spray. No, Grambo has too much deep-fried soul for that.
Bedrooms, Bars and Bibles closes with the aptly titled âRoots, Rock, GâNite,â a crunchy live cut that finds the Roadhouse Redeemers completely cutting loose. Grambo resembles no one so much as John Lee Hooker as the track rumbles out, then his band settles into a nasty stomp. The assembled crowd catches on, then begins to clap and whistle, becoming almost like a new band member, pushing Grambo and Co. along. When he happily sings âI need you woman, I need you every day,â itâs hard not to think heâs talking about this music, too. There is an unadulterated joy surrounding this album. Karl Grambo and the Roadhouse Redeemers clearly love what they do. You just wished they stayed a little while longer.
Review by Nick DeRiso
Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)
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