Meantooth Grin CD Review - by J. Blake

Posted on 3/02/2010 by J. Blake

(New York, NY)

Don’t be fooled by the cover of Meantooth Grin’s debut CD. Meantooth Grin is not a dapper, dobro-wielding black man. It is in actuality 3 white guys from Wisconsin, but don’t let that deter you from checking out BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU’RE DEAD.

Released on KAM Records in 2009, MTG’s first officially released album is overflowing with hard-rockin’ blues raunch. Frontman Tom Jordan’s vocals and guitar-wizardry may be reminiscent of artists like Warren Haynes and George Thorogood, but his beefy slide-work and borderline metal tone push the blues into heavier territory than most bluesmen would dare to venture.

Purists may cringe at the hard rock grooves of tracks like “Tommy Gun” and “Necessary Evil”, but luckily BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU’RE DEAD has a little something for every blues fan. Tracks like “Homeless and Homesick” and “Insomnia” find the trio exploring a more traditional blues landscape, while songs like “Killing Time” and “Telephone Blues” sound more like high voltage interpretations of Elmore James and Howlin’ Wolf.

Drummer Brian Miller and bassist Seth Heffner lay down a solid foundation for Jordan’s fuzz-soaked guitar heroics and Cole Holliday’s contributions on harmonica should not go unnoted. Holliday achieves a thick and meaty tone that most harp players would sell their souls for and his ability to work in tandem with Jordan’s ferocious slide-work, without getting in the way, is commendable.

Meantooth Grin’s debut is not exactly a picture of perfection; its flaws lying more in the strength of the songwriting, but BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU’RE DEAD is a strong first showing for the Midwest blues-rockers. Their attempts to push the genre to its rock limits are exciting; making their next release one to look forward to. If Meantooth Grin is the future of the ‘Power Blues Trio’, then the tradition is in good hands.

*If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy: Tinsley Ellis CD Review

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Copyright © 2010 - J. Blake. All Rights Reserved

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What makes American Blues News unique is our coverage across America. Here is our lineup:

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