Avey Grouws Band Review
Avey Grouws Band Review
Birdrock Taco Shack, October 13, 2022
Put this band on your radar!
Based in Iowa, the Avey Grouws Band is on a limited tour of Florida and stopped into Bradenton to perform a wonderful show at Birdrock Taco Shack.
Unlike it’s sister restaurant, Cottonmouth southern soul Kitchen, Birdrock sustained limited damage from Hurricane Ian and is up and running bringing the best of blues to Bradenton. In the comfortable and roomy courtyard at the “shack” Avey Grouws showed the audience why they are two-time International Blues Challenge semi-finalists.
Led by the powerful guitarist Chris Avey, and the equally strong vocalist Jeni Grouws, the band for this show included Nashville-based bassist Calvin Johnson (Tas Cru), keyboardist and vocalist Leo Albertoni (Toronzo Cannon), and drummer Bryan West. The tight and professional show contained mostly original songs from a series of albums, including the latest Tell Tale Heart, which debuted at #7 on Billboard’s Blues Album Chart.
Right out of the gate we heard Jeni’s powerful and dynamic voice with “Hearts Playing Tricks,” and not to be outdone Chris and his impressive guitar skills showcased on a version of “Black Cat Bone.” Presenting their quirky and humorous side, the band performed the first of a few “drinking” songs – “Two Days Off (And A Little Bit of Liquor).” As Jeni described, this song’s lyrics, like many do, came from keeping ears open to what others are saying.
Rotating to their first EP Road To Memphis, Chris took vocal lead on “Hard Times.” Returning to the second recording The Devil May Care, “Let Me Sing The Blues” gave Leo time to shine on the keyboard. The lovely song “There For Me” showed the bands tight vocal harmonies and might have been my favorite moment of the evening.
Local guitarist Vincent Sims, who became familiar with the band while on tour with Lauren Mitchell, was in attendance and Jeni asked Vincent to the stage. Vincent sat in on while Jeni sang “Love Me Like A Man,” and then with Chris as they traded licks on “Early In The Morning.” Good stuff!
Peppering the shows with stories from the road, many which had the crowd laughing, the band ended the first set after crushing their “Dig What You Do,” again with some nice vocal harmonies – this time with Jeni and Chris.
“Dirty Little Secret,” well, you will have to attend a show to find out what this song is about! But the secret is in “the way you roll.” A version of Albert Collins’ “Honey Hush!” was most enjoyable. “Let’s Take it Slow’ brought the tempo down and that song was responded to by “I’d Rather Be Drunk,” a fast-paced song reminiscent of “Mojo.” The show concluded with a rocking version “Love Raining Down.”
This is a gem of a band. What a fun time at Birdrock Taco Shack with Avey Grouws Band!
There are two more opportunities for you to see the band:
10/22 – Buckingham Blues Bar (opening for Damon Fowler)
10/23 – Camping With The Blues
By Scott Morris, Treasurer, Suncoast Blues Society