Grinder Blues is yet another side project for legendary King’s X frontman dUg Pinnick. In this outfit, the bassist is joined by Emmy Award winning blues rockers The Bihlman Bros – Scot “Little” Bihlman on drums and Jabo Bihlman on guitar.
The name of this band is perfect as the trio channel their Mississippi Delta and Chicago Blues influences like Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf and others, but ‘Grinder Blues’ adds a heavy dose of distortion to their groove, and there is plenty of groove going on here. Jabo Bihlman’s guitar playing is a deadly combination of Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn, whilst his little brother punishes his drums with a jazz mixture of Billy Cox. Then there is Pinnick throwing out his spitfire bone-rattling bass lines deep in the pocket to bring it all together.
With Miles Fulwider (Wynton Marsalis, Norah Jones, Willie Nelson, Chick Corea, Rob Mathes) and Barry Mork handling the production and mixing duties, the songs jump from the speakers, recalling the old feeling of scratchy vinyl from the blues and soul era. The soul-soaked chords of opening track “Don’t Go Home” is just a taste of what to come, while “Wild One” is reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix’ time in the band of Gypsies. “Train,” as you might have guessed, is a powerful track motoring like a 1950s blues locomotive. “Worried Mind,” with its haunting steel guitar and reverberating vocals, takes you into the troubled times of a bluesman.
As mentioned in the opening, dUg Pinnick has done a lot of side projects outside of King’s X in his 40 years in music, but there hasn’t been one like ‘Grinder Blues.’ The trio keeps it simple, letting the songs speak for themselves.