This band is based in Ottawa when they are not touring and they are seldom there. They’ve won a New Artist MBA and bassist Leigh-Anne Stanton won that MBA a couple of years ago. Murray Kinsley is the lead vocalist/guitarist/songwriter, Rod Williams plays harp and Bruce Saunders on drums & percussion. The hard-rocking blues quartet added Jesse O’Brien on keys plus Darcy Heppner & Sonny Del Rio on saxes for this outing as well. With renowned producer Nick Blagona on board, this is a major leap forward from three already good albums. Things get under way with the defiant, pounding rocker “This Old Dawg (knows the blues)” (with Tom Bona guesting on drums). They were working in Florida when the Parkland school shooting occurred, the slide-driven “Trouble Coming” was the result and it’s worth the price of the album alone with its perceptive lyric and powerful performance. ”So Long, Too Soon” is a well-written slow blues dedicated to those who’ve passed, principally Ron Casat, the late keyboard ace. The eye-catching title song was found on a road sign they saw while touring in Alabama & they found the story behind it – all history should sound this good. There are more rockers, a jazzy “Dance the Blues” with Williams on chromatic and some lovely a capella singing as part of “Take Me Down (women & whiskey gonna make me pay)”. The program concludes with an impassioned “Freedom”, written by Colin James and Tom Wilson, originally on Colin’s Bad Habits. Kinsley turns in a remarkable vocal performance as a man wrongly convicted. Their web site is http://www.wickedgrin.ca and it shows they are on a US tour with a stop at the Sportsmens Tavern in Buffalo on Nov 10. Catching an Ottawa band in Buffalo might seem unusual but they are worth it – they’re an excellent live band too.
Ottawa-based guitarist Murray Kinsley and his band Wicked Grin have been steadily building up a fan base worldwide and right here at home with a brand of musicianship that stays clear of the hang-dog clichés that often take blues music and its noble power and renders it toothless. Stormy Water finds Kinsley and his cohorts exploring topics like domestic abuse and the inevitability that gives mortality its power with a clear eye and an unsentimental approach. Factor into that the man’s obvious dexterity on the six-string and the unmistakable bite in his seen-it-all vocals laid out clean and neat with a band matching him step for step and the end result is an album totally justified in taking its rightful place in this year’s best-of lists.
“Third time out for this Ottawa based blues outfit. As the title might seem to suggest, this is one hellaciously rockin’ set of get-up-off-your-ass-and-dance blues……..
This is one of the tightest albums I’ve heard in awhile, and no wonder- these 11 tracks have been road tested, and ten of ‘em were written by bandleader Kinsley……
the harp harp is spooky and dramatic, and the rhythm section swings with reckless, casual precision. It’s almost as if the music is a living, breathing thing.
Mostly up-tempo stuff here, but Wicked Grin really knows how to get down too- Evil Coming Round is a real grinder, and one of the sexiest grooves ever on record…….
Stormy Water is an energetic set overall, the kind of blues you throw in the CD player when you need to get stuff done. I can see putting this on when you’re doing some renos around the house, making the long drive into the big city, or even throwing back a few whiskeys and taking your woman into the bedroom to show her that you still know how it’s done……
Not much else to say here, really- Stormy Water is a sleeves-rolled-up rough and ready set of blues tunes that will make your Saturday night a hell of a lot more fun than it would have been otherwise.”
“I just received the newest release, Stormy Water, from Murray Kinsley & Wicked Grin and it’s a great stripped down blues rocker…….this band knows how to boogie……By My Side is another solid rocker with a new wave touch but never falling far from it’s blues roots with blues based guitar riffs, blues harp and a blues bottom. Shine opens with a cool tom tom rhythm and almost John Doe like vocals. Kinsley definitely experiments with his guitar and Williams as well on harp with Melville nailing them to the ground solid. Very cool!……Evil Coming Round has a solid blues base with a modern flare and a solid rock feel (think Steppenwolf)……Kinsley’s vocals are heavy and his guitar work a lot in the early British blues masters style……Let Me Love You, with Williams on harp and Kinsley on vocal and slide. A full out driving rocker, this is a super closer to a super set!”
“….The very first song, “Dance Pretty Mama” had me hooked with its up-tempo sound; I couldn’t help but get into it. The album played on, and that didn’t change. When I hit the fifth song, “Evil Coming Round”, the thought that came to me was, “How have I not heard of this band before?”
“Fast Fast Car” and “You’re Gone” were my two favourites, and I would highly recommend them, along with the rest of the album to anyone looking for a completely amazing listening experience.”