Bringing The Blues
Gravel & Grace
Ava Grace Records 2020
Review by David Bowling
Gravel & Grace produces an excellent brand of smooth modern day blues with a little rhythm & blues thrown in for good measure. It is the make-up of the band that is unique.
Ava Grace is a singer/keyboardist, who has been playing live since the age of 14. Vocalist Big Earl Mathew is a 20 year veteran of the blues music scene, as is the supporting five man band. It is an odd combination but the now 18 year old Grace fits the band well as she possesses one of those voices that is crystal clear and can both soar and purr as needed. Her keyboards help create the bands sound. On the other hand, Matthews has a gritty vocal style that has fit the blues for two decades.
Their self-titled debut album was released May 15. It consists of nine originals and one cover. Ava Grace and Earl Matthews tend to trade lead vocals. While their voices are very different, they provide a good mixture of styles that does not grow stale.
Two Grace songs combine her voice with sax interludes. “Scares Me” and the slow blues number “Not About A Boy” highlight her vocal ability and are solid blues. She gives a very soulful rendition of Rihanna’s “Love On The Brain.”
Earl Matthews songs are very different in style and content. His voice is the gravel of the band, plus they tend to be more personal.
Gravel & Grace is an interesting mix of different elements that all comes together in an excellent modern day blues album.