Bar bands have always catered to booze, blue collars, bad luck, and badder attitudes, but their blood, sweat, and tears are almost always filtered through the reliable canon of classic rock radio. Southeastern Michigan's Dirt Road Logic's ballsy debut, the appropriately titled Great Lake Heart Ache, manages to sound both familiar enough to entice music fans who only listen to the same ten albums they bought in high school and original enough to lure unsuspecting Crooked Fingers, Steve Earle, and Drive-By Truckers fans into the fold. GLHA is essentially a thick, bluesy sandwich with all the "fixin's," a deep slice of everyman Americana with its dials turned way past ten on the harder tunes ("What's Wrong with My Baby") and its arms wrapped tight around significant others on the slower ones ("Gentlemen and Wine"). There is no thesaurus, thrift-store factory jacket, or ultra-cool hipster aesthetic required, as any astute imbiber of barfly culture knows exactly what a song titled "Hard Drinkin' Daddy" and its demonic sister, "Watch It Burn," should sound like (somewhere between the Cramps, Golden Earring's "Radar Love," and early Tom Petty). Reliable? Sure, but Dirt Road Logic aren't just playing the standards; they're writing new ones, and this handcrafted and expertly produced love letter to a small-town jukebox holding up a pitcher of thin, warm beer and a soft pack of semi-crushed cigarettes has a voice as cruel and lovely as the five bodies of water that surround it.
AllMusic Review by James Christopher Monger