PRESS


…….The band playing is simply superb and judging by their blog, it seems one reason is that they had time to do the recording properly.
You couldn’t want for a better opening song than “Dance Pretty Woman”, if this doesn’t fill the dance floor nothing will …….
They deal with social issues as well, with aging the subject of “Death If You Find Me” featuring a double-tracked vocal & some fine harp work……..“Shine” is an ambitious slide-driven song that asks a beauty to shine her love on our narrator, the album highlight.

John ValenteynToronto Blues SocietyNov 2015

“On their third independent album in four years, the Ottawa blues band Wicked Grin stripped down their lineup, stretched out their lyrical ideas and refused to get stuck in the rut of 12-bar blues.
“When you’re working in blues, sometimes you can really get bogged down in ‘baby, baby, woke up this morning’ kinda stuff,” said bandleader Murray Kinsley, the sixtysomething musician whose gritty singing, songwriting and guitar-playing is at the heart of the group. “We feel that you can take it beyond there and actually say stuff. And because we’re not a straight-ahead blues band, it’s not your standard one-four-five music. We take it and make it our own.”
The evolution is evident on Stormy Water, reflected in songs that incorporate rock and roots elements, and lyrics that tackle hefty topics such as mortality and domestic violence. While there are also songs for dancing (Dance Pretty Mama) and riding in a cool car (Fast Fast Car, complete with the sound of a friend’s Ferrari), the meat of the new album can be found in the sting of the anti-abuse track By My Side, a tune that encourages the victim to leave, the swampy bite of Evil Coming Round and the dark urgency of Death if You Find Me.
Kinsley says the pointed thrust of his latest songwriting was partly inspired by his own aging process, but also by the stories one hears in the news.
“I was moved to explore domestic violence just from the fact that it still happens in our society,” he said during an interview in the home he shares with his partner, bassist Leigh-Anne Stanton, who also looks after the band’s management duties and (is thrilled to be in the running as this year’s bassist of the year in the Maple Blues Awards). “And I wanted to explore the idea of dying when I heard the Sleepy John Estes tune, Everybody Oughta Make a Change, because, like he says, sooner or later you’re going to go into the cold ground. I thought, ‘Wow, this fits in with what I’m thinking.’”
Mortality aside, the band has made great strides in the past couple of years.”

Lynn SaxbergOttawa CitizenNov/24/2105

Ottawa’s Wicked Grin took home last year’s MBA for New Artist, and the album Shame On Me has garnered several other awards as well. Murray Kinsley is the bandleader, vocalist, guitarist and main songwriter, hence the new special billing, I guess. Rod Williams plays harp, LeighAnne Stanton, bass & Liam Melville, drums and all the attention has been a major confidence builder. The new songs are a big step forward from an already good Shame On Me. The band playing is simply superb and judging by their blog, it seems one reason is that they had time to do the recording properly.

John ValenteynToronto Blues Society November 2015

Once a year, sometimes twice, I receive an album for which a review is simply not needed, because it is just that good. For this year, the first such album was John Mayall “A Special Life”, with the second one now being Wicked Grin’s fantastic new release “Shame On Me”. “Shame On Me” consists of 11 absolutely terrific Tracks, 9 of which are originals… [Track 1] “Outta Time Train”… opened my eyes really wide, right away, and I knew if this sort of stuff kept up, I was going to be in for a terrific ride. … “Heaven”, the closing Track, … [is a] beautifully laid back and raw tune. … just as intense… as brilliant as the opener was, this little gem was equally brilliant as the closer.

“Shame On Me” left me with just 3 words…”More, More, More”, as I can’t wait for them to release their next album… Thoroughly Enjoyed and Highly Recommended

John VermilyeaBlues Underground NetworkAug 2014

“…….we are treated to dead honest blues. The eleven songs are nothing less than excellent, including six written by Kinsley, a fine guitarist and singer. … The two other tracks are covers of Sleepy John Estes’ “Drop Down Mama”, a song from 1935 that inspired Led Zeppelin’s “Custard Pie”, and of the wonderful “Two-Time Boogie” by the fantastic Studebaker John. Wicked Grin does an excellent version of both songs, but in fact, the band doesn’t need to do covers, as its own songs are more than strong enough.

Right from the opening song, “Outta Time Train”, we know that this album will be good. With fine rhythm, Rod Williams lets the blues harp grind and scream. Add in the somewhat raw, but always appropriate voice of Kinsley, and we’re off for a lovely blues trip of more than four minutes. With Murray showing us what a fine guitarist he is, we are already won over. It’s soon apparent that the level of the great opening song is maintained with the equally catchy “Looking Down”, with Kinsley’s style somewhat more narrative on vocals, a solid rhythm section, and the guitar’s surprising change of pace, which makes us sit increasingly on the edge of our seat. In the Sleepy John Estes song mentioned above, the entire band shines, but we cannot deny the extra panache of Williams, who is downright brilliant in this classic.

……..The dreamy, contemplative, acoustic intro of “Down On Love” gives us a suitable respite. The brilliant solos in the middle and at the end of the song, the fitting backing vocals, the supportive keyboard… it all makes us want to rush to the repeat button.

The very successful version of “Two-Time Boogie” shows good hard work, proving that WG can easily handle a variety of styles! Then we are completely overwhelmed by “Your Turn To Cry”, a simply beautiful boogie-blues shuffle starring the harmonica. Needless to say that the work of the guitar and bass is once again admirable. And if all that wasn’t already nice enough, they close off with “Heaven”, an unlikely, clever acoustic number that would have been completely perfect with just the guitar and vocals. ……We have no hesitation in describing songs like this as brilliant.

We enjoyed the entire fifty minutes of “Shame On Me”. Wicked Grin has produced an excellent album, and we are already looking forward to the band’s next album, if only because we want confirmation of this great work!

Luc MeertAug 2014