Pittsburgh, PA native and veteran rocker Joe Grushecky has been making music for nearly thirty-five years. He spent the better part of his career with other musicians. But in 2002, he struck out on his own for the first time with his solo debut,Fingerprints. Three albums later, this former special education teacher turned rocker has shown that it’s still possible to teach an old dog new tricks in his new album,Somewhere East of Eden.
Somewhere East Of Edenis a classic southern rock style record from start to finish. It mixes solid guitar licks with equally solid lyrics that will both entertain and move listeners to make a record that listeners of all ages will enjoy for one reason or another. The album opens with what can best be compared to works from the likes of Reckless Kelly in ‘I Can Hear The Devil Knocking.’ This song was a good choice to open the album because it’s a direct contrast to so many other songs that walk the fence of Southern rock and country music. The song’s lyrical content couldn’t be more well-timed. Grushecky sings in the song’s chorus, “The rich get rich/And the poor stay poor/I can hear the devil knocking/At my door/Somebody tell me who I’m working for/I can hear the devil knocking/At my door.” This is just a glimpse into the song’s lyrical side. But as one can tell, Grushecky doesn’t need to pull punches and write loads of metaphors. He goes on to sing about families struggling financially while the corporate fat cats keep padding their pockets with Americans’ hard-earned money. This is so timely. Making the song even more interesting is the fact that it would have been so easy for Grushecky to simply take the more traveled road and make a standard, slower Country Western style song. But he didn’t do that. The song’s energy makes it more of a protest song of sorts. It’s one of those songs that will easily have audiences singing along and pumping their fists in the air, especially at Grushecky’s live events.
‘I Can Hear The Devil Knocking’ is just the starting point of the great material that Grushecky offers his listeners on his new solo record. His a cappella cover of ‘John the Revelator’ is one of the most original takes on the spiritual that this critic has ever heard. And it is one of the most original takes that any listener in general will ever hear, too. The only instrumentation included in the song is a bass drum beat set against Grushecky and a group of backing vocalists clapping and singing. Grushecky has more than made the song his own. Any listener that picks upSomewhere East of Edenand hears the song for themselves will agree that the music industry needs more of this kind of originality, not artists just covering others’ songs verbatim. It becomes even one more of so many high points from this record. Speaking of other high points, listeners will enjoy the straight forward rocker, ‘I Was Born to Rock’ just as much as the already noted songs.
‘I Was Born To Rock’ is another ofSomewhere East of Eden’sdriving rock songs. The song is a pure rock anthem in every sense of the term. Grushecky sings in this song, “Tried trading my guitar for a nine to five/But it left me feeling more dead than alive/I was up every morning at the break of day/Work, work, workin’ my life away/Dressed up in a tie and monkey suit/I couldn’t wait for Friday night to cut it loose/Daddy, daddy, I was born to rock!” Joe has put perfectly into words the dreams of so many 9 to 5’ers with this song. Sure, not everybody has ever had dreams of living the rock star life instead of the work-a-day rut. But most people would admit when asked that Joe’s words do in fact illustrate their deeply hidden wishes. And that admission set against the song’s driving tempo is certain to have audiences singing along and clapping whether in their home, their car, or at one of Joe’s live shows.
Staying on the topic of live shows, Joe Grushecky will perform live this Saturday, November 16that Silk’s in Washington, Pennsylvania. That show is followed by a hometown show at Light Up Night next Friday, November 22ndin Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. More dates follow these two shows. Audiences and fans can check out Joe Grushecky’s most current tour dates, news, and more on his official website,http://www.joegrushecky.ca, on his official Facebook page,https://www.facebook.com/JoeGrushecky, and via his official Twitter page,http://twitter.com/JoeGrushecky. Fans can also order his new album or download it on his official website athttp://www.joegrushecky.ca/store/catalogue/index/1/1/. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online tohttp://www.facebook.com/philspicksand “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog athttp://philspicks.wordpress.com.
* Photo on front page courtesy of John Cavanaugh