For 20 years now, Chicago’s the Great Crusades have been releasing whiskey drinking’, bar livin’ blues rock & roll, which has caught the attention of fans from everywhere from their hometown to across the Atlantic, where the band has built a cult following in Germany, among other countries.
Recently the band issued their ninth album, ‘Until the Night Turned to Day,’ their first since 2014’s ‘Thieves of Chicago,’ which saw the band of brothers return to Mud Records, the label which released their debut album, 1997s ‘The First Spilled Drink of the Evening.’
There is a lot to love about Brian Krumm (vocals, guitar), Brian Leach (guitar, keyboards, vocals), Brian Hunt (bass, vocals), and Christian Moder (drums, keyboards, vocals), but the two standout factors are their longevity/loyalty to this band and the fact they don’t make the same album twice. ‘Until the Night Turned to Day’ is a testament to the latter.
Upon first listen, the 11 tracks on ‘Until the Night Turned to Day’ didn’t grab me the way I was used to with previous Great Crusade records simply because of the evolution of their sound. Sure, the bar room brawlers are still there, as are the blues undertones, but add in some Tex Mex lap steel (“It Only Took a Minute Not to Say Good Night”), a little bit of swing (“Prayer Furnace”) and a duet with Katie Todd (“Gutter Punks”), and you got something really cooking here.
Although the Great Crusades have matured to lean more to subdued Americana-inspired music, ‘Until the Night Turned to Day’ shines the brightest when the boys turn it up and flesh it out on the politically charged “Little Crown” and “King of the Altered States.” The Muddy Water-inspired blues rumble “Last Dying Wish” is sure to bring the house down.
It really doesn’t matter what style of music the three Brian’s and Christian are playing; the Great Crusades are an insanely tight rock band who know how to bring it and Krum’s vivid storytelling is always the icing on the proverbial cake.