Grizzly Bear EP by Midwestern Exposure

Reviewed by Harry Kaplan

My, oh my, this is fantastic! If you like down and dirty blues, you will dig the heck out of this. This is not just your standard hard blues band. Midwestern Exposure can get loud and rambunctious, and they do. But they can also sing and play at a lower volume. Their sound is really explosive but also contains tons of feeling. A hard combo to pull off effectively. Clearly this trio are very adept at their instruments. And all the instruments blend really well together. Even the drums, which are usually just background sounds, are astonishingly noticeable. And played at the highest level. Jeff Goldman does a dynamite job on the kit with help from Forrest Wright with some of the percussion duty. Wright also does some backing vocals and some lap steel work. Cam Clark has the guitar, vocals, and harmonica under control. 

If you have read my reviews in the past, you know how I feel about Neil Young covers. Well, the Grizzly Bear EP has one of them! Midwestern Exposure tackled The Loner (Track 3) and they absolutely nailed it. This is a tough one because it encompasses both hard and soft, but these guys are on point. Just enough fuzz and distortion, but still some very soothing and heartfelt playing. This cover may rival the original. And that is saying a lot. 

The Loner

Whiskey & Women (Track 2) is the perfect precursor to the Loner. This song has an absolutely addictive quality to it. The groove in the beginning of the song is a really nice twangy guitar riff that opens into an understated drum  beat (with tambourine) and some really sonically pleasing lap steel. The vocals are delivered perfectly, in the proper balance to take this song to 11 on a scale of one to ten. 

Whiskey & Women

There are seven songs on this EP and all are outrageously good. Not only do these guys have the blues down, but they know how to incorporate country and twang brilliantly into their sound. Riverboat (Track 5) is a perfect example of the melding of country and blues together. Then they break into a little bit of this great grunge groove that works extremely well on this song. Then they break out the harmonica. It also contains some of the greatest lines I have heard in awhile: 

Will we break even in the end,
We best cash out before we go all in,
Just like the captain, always goes down with the ship,
Swear to god, I ain’t gonna drown in it.

Riverboat

You really should do yourself a solid and listen and buy this. If you only buy one release this year, make it Grizzly Bear.

Listen and buy Grizzly Bear

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