Blades of Grass

The Dirty Streets

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Blades of Grass Review

by Steve Leggett

Originally from Mississippi but now calling Memphis, Tennessee home, Dirty Streets (guitarist and vocalist Justin Toland, bassist Thomas Storz, and drummer Andrew Denham) are a power trio specializing in the kind of hard boogie blues-rock that characterized bands like Humble Pie and Cream, and with Toland's Southern soul half-shouted blues vocal style out front, they sound, too, a little like the Black Crowes gone leaner and hungrier. This set, the group's third following two earlier independent releases, was recorded at the legendary Ardent Studios in Memphis, which no doubt adds to the full, throwback retro hard rock sound the band excels at. Dirty Streets aren't about innovation, and they certainly haven't reinvented the hard rock wheel on Blades of Grass, but they've captured exactly the classic '60s and early-'70s feel of that era's blues-rock trios, and they've done it with sharp, sturdy songs that have a distinct blue-collar, working-man feel to them. Clear highlights on this rocking, straight-up, and honest album are the opening "Stay Thirsty" and the street-smart and wise "Talk," although the band hits a thumping groove everywhere here, not ever trying to be clever, current, or fancy, but just plowing through like a real rock band whose members aren't worried one bit about beats, tape loops, or synthesized effects. Yeah, what this band does is going to be called retro, and it is by design. Built in the image of the classic power rock trios, with just a pinch of deep Southern gothic thrown in, Dirty Streets are all the more refreshing for not trying to be the next big thing. They rock, and they know it doesn't really matter what era you're in -- if you can rock, you'll work.

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