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Now Hear This: Push On Thru - Rich Lerner and The Groove

Rating: ***1/2

Must Listen: She Kept My Room Warm, Lord Have Mercy, Lemonade Blues

Skip: You Can't Keep a Good Man Down, West La Fadeaway

Rich Lerner and The Groove seem like nice guys. They founded the annual “Groove Jam Music Festival” in Greensboro, North Carolina to aid their local homeless shelter and food bank. That’s pretty dope. Since the 90’s they’ve released 8 albums, so they’ve been around for awhile and have stayed fairly prolific. That said, this is my first foray into their music. From what I understand it’s gonna be a hazy, jammy, and eclectic ride. Let’s have a listen to “Push On Thru.”

Listen to "Push On Thru" below:

Batting leadoff is the title track, Push On Thru. It’s very Grateful Dead-ish. It’s a fun track that hums along nicely. It sounds like the kind of stuff you’d listen to at a great dive bar just off the highway. She Kept My Room Warm is next and it’s a little more Tom Petty than The Dead. This one has more of a pop appeal to it. It's Always Something is a simple blues rocker. It doesn’t stray far from the formula but that’s alright. It’s still fun. Lord Have Mercy is track 4 and it’s a little more slow and moody. Tom Waits would be proud of this one. It also reminds me of Up Jumped the Devil by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. That's always a good thing. You Can’t Keep a Good Man Down is more straight-ahead blues rock. It’s not particularly interesting, but you can sing-along to it. Love Monkey is a down- tempo blues song pontificating the effects of love addiction. Again, it’s basic Friday-night-at-the-local-bar fare but it’s a good time. Soul Sistah is more of the same, but this time with a little bit of harmonizing on the chorus. On The Mend is a sad ballad and a good change of pace to wind the album down. West La Fadeaway is another Tom Waits-meets-The Grateful Dead jam. The problem with so many jam bands is that they don’t know when to stop. This is the third or fourth song that would have benefitted from being about three minutes shorter in duration. The record meets its conclusion with the western-tinged, Lemonade Blues. In an ironic twist, I wish this one was a little longer. There’s a whole lot of double entendre’s here. I like that. Good close to a solid blues journey.

RL&TG aren’t gonna blow your mind with their originality. This is jammy blues rock. What they do they do very well. Aside from a couple of tracks becoming a tad tedious in length, this one is a pretty good time. Drink some whiskey and enjoy it.

Rich Lerner and The Groove are Rich Lerner (guitar, vocals), Sammy Smith (guitar, vocals), Craig Pannell (bass, vocals), Sam Seawell (drums), Bob Sykes (pedal steel, guitar), Steve Taub (keyboards)

Produced by: Rich Lerner and The Groove, Benjy Johnson

 

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