Friday, January 7, 7:30 p.m.
Rhythm City Casino Resort Rhythm Room, 7077 Elmore Avenue, Davenport IA
Performing in support of their second album Tell Tale Heart – which debuted at number seven on Billboard's Blues Albums chart this past fall – the Quad Cities musicians of the Avey Grouws Band play a January 7 concert at Davenport's Rhythm City Casino Resort Rhythm Room, demonstrating why Goldmine praised their 2021 release for its “adept arrangements, clear confidence, and a decidedly agile approach as far as the shifts in style.”
Composed of vocalist/songwriter Jeni Grouws, guitarist/songwriter Chris Avey, drummer Bryan West, bassist Randy Leasman, and keyboardist Nick Vasquez, the future members of the Avey Grouws Band met in 2015 at Bettendorf blues bar The Muddy Waters. Then working as a morning-radio personality, Grouws was in town on business, and dropped by the venue to hear a blues jam led by West, Avey, and Chris’ brother Mark Avey. Grouws, trained early in piano, trumpet, and vocals, and Chris Avey, a self-taught guitarist, subsequently performed for a year as a duo, and in 2017, West and Leasman joined the pair to form the Avey Grouws Band, with Vasquez joining the lineup in 2019.
The group's first album The Devil May Care was a significant critical hit in 2020, with Blues Blast magazine deeming it "an enjoyable and accomplished debut" and Rock and Blues Muse insisting, "Avey Grouws Band rocks it." The album hit number 10 on Billboard's Blues Album Chart, number 24 for 2020 on the Roots Music Report's Top Contemporary Blues Album Chart, and went on to be nominated for four 2021 Independent Blues Awards including Best New Artist and Best New Artist Album. The Devil May Care's single “Rise Up,” meanwhile, was named top song of 2020 in the Ben Vee Roadhouse 66 top songs of 2020, while “Come and Get This Love" won top honors in the Unsigned Only Songwriting Competition.
Hot on the heels of that Billboard-charting album, the Avey Grouws Band unveiled their sophomore release Tell Tale Heart in September. Recorded in Nashville, the album boasts Grammy Award-winning engineer/producer Casey Wasner at the helm and features 10 original songs that were composed during the 2020 pandemic, many of them direct responses to the international health crisis and political and social turmoil that engulfed the year. As Grouws has said, "Maybe the most important thing to understand about our band is that we are the mix of all of our Middle America backgrounds and experiences. That includes blues, folk, Americana, rock. We take what we have learned from those masters and make the music that feels the most authentic to us. This album is the best work we have ever done.”
The Avey Grouws Band plays the Rhythm City Casino Resort Rhythm Room on January 7 at 7:30 p.m., and more information is available by calling (563)328-8000 and visiting RhythmCityCasino.com.