Grand Old Grizzly

Grand Old Grizzly

Quenby Records, 2012

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


What's this, a standout Americana outfit who aren't punk guys trying to extend a stalled out career by abandoning their electric guitars for a pedal steel and Wranglers? Not a chance. What we have here are some fine musicians from Houston who never fronted straightedge bands, had a video on MTV during the punk explosion of the mid '90s, and who probably cite The Jayhawks as a more relevant band than Social Distortion. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

If one had to make a checklist of the imperative hallmarks of a classic Americana album, Grand Old Grizzly's self-titled effort would surely meet all the requirements. Clever band name: check. Interesting cover art: check. And the music? Well, let me tell you something about how these Texans display their talents.

The first half of the album is chocked full of impressive sounds from the alt-country of “Morning” to the quick country shuffle and vocal harmonies of “The Sundowners.” “Tallahassee” brings in a louder country rock tune that leads into the quiet and dreamy “I Was Thinkin',” and “Indecision” sounds like the song that Rhett Miller (Old 97's) forgot to write.

The second half doesn't disappoint either. “Lament” illustrates how great they are at warm ballads, “Marvelistic Coward Band” unfolds in almost psyche-country vein, and the swift “Approaching Cars” has brushed percussion with a playful Western feel.

Frontman Will Thomas has a knack for vivid storytelling that's as consistently solid as the musicianship, as the band employ just the right amount of lap steel and banjos among the standard rock band noisemakers. An instantly embraceable meshing of folk, indie, country, rock and roots flavored sounds, Grand Old Grizzly has just as much in common with Tom Petty and Uncle Tupelo as they do newer stars like Drive By Truckers and Lucero. I dare you not to love this album.

Rating: A-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2014 Tom Haugen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Quenby Records, and is used for informational purposes only.