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dUg Pinnick - Bass and Vocals (King's X)
Jabo Bihlman - Guitars and Vocals (The Bihlman Bros.)
Scot "Little" Bihlman - Drums (The Bihlman Bros.)

Grinder Blues' Hard-Rocking Debut Album Teams King's X Legend dUg Pinnick with Emmy Award-Winning Roots Music MVPs The Bihlman Brothers

Trio's high-energy performances, bone-crushing sound and from-the-gut songwriting put a fresh, contemporary spin on the blues tradition.

CHICAGO, IL - Powerhouse trio Grinder Blues' new album, called simply "Grinder Blues," is like a shot of adrenaline to the heart of the genre. It's 10 original, high-voltage songs sizzle with daredevil virtuosity and rock with unrestrained energy, blasting a sound minted in the urban canyons of Chicago and the swamps of rural Louisiana during the 1950s into the present, thanks to rumbling guitars, freight train rhythms and bass legend dUg Pinnick's virtuoso licks and elegantly gritty rock 'n' soul voice.

The fast-paced disc opens with fireworks. Drummer Scot Little Bihlman's supercharged shuffle lays the foundation for a slippery lockstep guitar-and-bass riff shared by Jabo Bihlman and Pinnick, kick-starting "Don't Come Home." As the song, a counterpoint to the old blues trope "baby, please come home," unfolds, it dives from clenched-fist immediacy into open-palmed psychedelia, then shifts back to overdrive for a thunderous finale.

"The idea for the music was to stay away from the clichès and rock out," dUg explains. "If we felt like we were heading into any songs that seemed like standard blues lyrically or musically, we made it a point to veer in the opposite direction."

There's ample evidence of that throughout Grinder Blues. In the insanely catchy "Burn the Bridge," Jabo's proto-metal guitar hook sinks deep into the tune's one-chord framework and the trio's chanting vocal harmonies spotlight the hypnotic groove. And the song "Train" is a galloping juggernaut that barely stays on the rails as dUg spins the true story of his step-grandfather's demise by a speeding locomotive. The tune is set, of course, to an infectious, rampaging train beat.

"We wanted every song to have something you could latch onto immediately," Jabo says, "so we started with grooves that people know from the blues - shuffles, train beats, flat fours - and then made them huge. After that, all the rules were thrown out, really taking things outside the box." To ensure big-bellied tones and maximum heaviness, Jabo and dUg tuned their instruments' strings down one-and-a-half steps to C standard tuning.