Jeremiah Johnson: Grind Review

Jeremiah Johnson has been working hard to plug his fifth studio album, Grind, as a genre-defying collection of feel-good tunes, and he’s not entirely off the mark. Grind’s 10 tracks take notes from rockabilly blues and redneck country and fuse them together into a funky blues cocktail. Johnson’s lyricism really holds the aesthetic down, focusing on women, drinking, smoking, and getting high at barbecues, and while the southern feel of Grind makes it the perfect record to soundtrack any of the above activities, you might not be able to help feeling a little bit cheated that Grind isn’t as avant-garde as promised. While Grind does manage to capture the magic of each of the southern genres Johnson plays with, it also runs the risk of being panned as a generically southern blues rock record.

Grind doesn’t exactly hit the ground running. “Black Lingerie” and “Georgia Peach,” while being good tracks in their own respect, are mostly notable for wearing the generic-southern-blues sound. Things start to pick up a little bit around “Call a Taxi.” Johnson adopts a slightly more aggressive tone and feels like he’s starting to come into his own unique sound a little bit more. The hook “You ain’t mowed your grass sucker in a long damn time” is Johnson’s first truly infectious moment on this record. “Call a Taxi” is immediately followed by the brilliant “So Damn Good,” a slow 12-bar jam who’s center piece is a cathartic walk up on Johnson’s Fender. The call and response chorus of “Workin” offers another infectious hook reminiscent of Lynyrd Skynyrd or Bachman-Turner Overdrive. Grind’s ending is particularly memorable as “Simple Things,” a slow, emotive ballad, gives way to a refreshed recording of Johnon’s “Gasoline and Smokes” in a move that feels a lot like an encore at a live show.

Grind might not exactly be the ground-breaking album promised, but it certainly is a solid collection of southern blues rock tunes. The record picks up moment as it goes and offers unique moments here and there that certainly make it a worthwhile listen. Jeremiah Johnson uses his musical prowess not to experiment as much as he uses it to craft rock songs that can appeal to a wide group of people, and you’re probably in that group.

The Review: 7.5/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– Call a Taxi
– So Damn Good
– Gasoline and Smokes

The Big Hit

– Call a Taxi

Review by Richard MacDougall

Buy the album: Amazon | iTunes

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