Avey Grouws Band :: THE DEVIL MAY CARE
The influence of the Mississippi River on American jazz, blues and roots music is indisputable. Communities that have grown up along “Old Man River” gave birth to a unique sound. The Avey Grouws Band make their home in the Quad Cities, and the mix of midwestern muscle and southern charm is reflected in the passionate, powerful and playful music of the band’s debut full-length album, The Devil May Care. The ten original tracks were written by the dynamic duo of Jeni Grouws and Chris Avey.
Grouws has an alto that can blow like a cool breeze or thunder like a Kansas tornado, and Avey is a skilled guitarist that has drawn quick comparisons to Coco Montoya and Robben Ford. The duo is backed by a skilled rhythm section of drummer Bryan West with Randy Leasman on bass. Keys and horns augment several tracks. The result is a very fresh sound with deep roots.
The set begins with Grouws teasing her man to “Come And Get This Love,” with the band employing the rumba to swing format delivering a great dance number. The title track is a clever twist on reckless behavior over an ice pick riff from Avey while Grouws sings about a forbidden affair that may be a sin but only “the devil may care.” West rolls out a rousing Bamboula street beat as Grouws calls on us to “turn anger into action,” on the fiery anthem “Rise Up.” The mood then shifts on the sentimental doo wop flavored love song “Let’s Take It Slow.” That Midwestern muscle and appreciation for the wide-open spaces on the Iowa plains comes to bare on the mighty rocking anthem “Long Road;” a big track that features soaring vocals and a gritty slide guitar solo.
The rhythm section drops a convincing roadhouse shuffle augmented by some tasty barrelhouse piano as Grouws wails like Bessie Smith on the boiling “Let Me Sing My Blues.” The acoustic driven track, “Weary,” is a dreamy tome of longing, to escape the day’s troubles with blissful sleep. Grouws then adds a follow up to the title track with the scorching “Dirty Little Secret.” Avey joins her on the feel-good duet “Dig What You Do,” that’s a Southern fried boogie full of fun. The swinging album closer, ”Two Days Off (And A Little Bit Of Liquor),” spells out how hard-working men and women combat the hard times with the promise of a reprieve in the weekend. The earworm chorus will have you singing its hook all week long.
Jeni Grouws and Chris Avey officially formed the band in 2017 and have won critical acclaim in the region ever since. The depth and strength of this strong debut, The Devil May Care, should garner national attention for the group of musicians, who are the pride of the Quad Cities and well represent the talent grown in that area of the Mississippi Valley.

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