Review: Gravelroad – Shot The Devil

Posted on: Tuesday, Nov 4, 2008

“Shot The Devil”
(Uncle Larry’s Records: Cat # 208)


Anyone who took a shine to the recent Moreland & Arbuckle album, “1861”, should check this out as the perfect companion piece – more kick-ass dirty blues, full of grungy guitar, booming bass drum and gritty vocals, from the trio GravelRoad – Stefan Zillioux (guitar and vocals), Jon Kirby Newman (bass and guitar) and Martin Reinsel (drums and percussion).

Not for the faint-hearted, the band deliver tales of sex, murder, death, love and more – often coming over as a collision between ZZ Top and John Lee Hooker, with the Mississippi hill country greats such as RL Burnside and Junior Kimbrough thrown in – certainly no bad place to be!

The band, originally coming out of Seattle, have had a busy 2008 – touring extensively in the United States and playing festivals, including a stint backing Fat Possum legend, T-Model Ford. This, their first release for the Wichita, Kansas label, Uncle Larry’s Records, comes four years after their self-released debut, “GravelRoad”.

The album is brim full of the aforementioned sound, as well as fuzzy, distorted slide guitar and kicking drums; the (nearly) title cut, “I Shot The Devil”, recalls classic ZZ Top, with guitar riff and vocals coming on like the band in their 70s’ blues days; “Call My Name” features that hypnotic guitar groove from the Mississippi giants like Burnside and Kimbrough.

“Trainwreck” is another highlight, short and sweet, but again riding on a terrific guitar riff; the acoustic “Sammy”  is in almost late Johnny Cash mode; with the pace taken up again for the sinister “Taildragger” – loads more grungy guitar from Stefan Zillioux, and brooding vocal – great stuff, and an album highlight.

Another fine release from the current crop of emerging blues and roots artistes – well worth your investigation, and for those who like their blues a little bit left-of-centre, yet with still a traditional feel!


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