Grooveyard Records: Best Of – Volume One Review

Grooveyard Records is an independent record company based out of upstate New York that bills themselves as dedicated to promoting “Six String Mojo.” Their discs range from heavy guitar rockers to some stunning rock instrumentalists all with an underpinning foundation of the blues, which makes for some really phenomenal blues rock. Best of – Volume One – The Sound of Guitar Rock is a compilation of 15 nonstop, in your face heavy guitar tracks from the Grooveyard catalog.

The beginning of this disc starts out with a large dosage of blues based heavy guitar riffs from great bands like Blindside Blues Band, the outstanding Danish power trio Blindstone and Canadians Vince Hawkins and The Company Slave.  However, the real magic of this disc is a block of tracks half way through when you get to “Dirtshack” from Dirty Dave Osti, which is basically a biker blues rock festival wrapped up in to one track. It’s followed by a total change of pace with “Humble Colossus,” which is a twin lead guitar fueled track from Swedish instrumental band Plankton. This track has a trippy distorted vibe that is quite interesting.

There must be something in the water in Cedar Rapids, IA because the next two tracks are from a couple of guys from the same town. First up is “For Your Love” by Craig Erickson and it is filled with some seriously first rate guitar playing in both the lead guitar work and the rhythm work. Then Bryce Janey follows that with the standout “Funky Guitar Blues,” which quite simply lives up to its name. Bryce’s vocals have that gravel tone you’d attribute to too many smokes and too much whiskey that meshes really well with his gritty hard edge soloing.

The guitar player for Toto, Tony Spinner, follows next with a close contender for standout track with “Knucklehead,” another funky rocker. Finally we get to the Indonesian blues rockers Gugun Power Trio. GPT proves that true blues rock knows no geographical boundaries. “Mission” is a great track that combines the best of SRV, Robin Trower and Hendrix in one track.  The disc wraps up with “Foolish Mortals,” another mind blowing instrumental track from long time Fender clinician Greg Koch.  At times his effortless picking while literally flying all over the fretboard leaves your jaw on the floor wondering how anyone can move so quickly and be so fluid and melodic at the same time without some sort of god-like powers.  At times you think he has to be dubbing two parts together.  Having seen him play live I can attest to his ability to play like the recording.

Best of – Volume One – The Sound of Guitar Rock is a great collection of some seriously underrated guitar geniuses who deserve more recognition and exposure. So if you’re not familiar with the Grooveyard Records catalog then there probably isn’t a better first exposure to their offerings than this collection of tracks personally chosen by label head Joe Romagnola.

The Review: 8.5/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– Dirtshack
– For Your Love
– Knuklehead
– Mission
– Foolish Mortals
– Funky Guitar Blues

The Big Hit

– Funky Guitar Blues

Review by Kevin O’Rourke

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