They say never trust the Holy Gracious Medley Band. But I say, never trust the guy you sent your CD to months ago to ever get around to writing a review. It’s a backhanded compliment of mine for musicians that I really like, because I wander around with their CD in my car constantly – but because the CD is in the car, I often to forget to do a write-up whenever I’m indoors.
You’re gonna build up a lot of preconceptions when I tell you that Roy Rieck is part of a musical collective from Israel, now living in London. And of course, the Holy Gracious Medley Band is a name that begs to be said in a wickedly bad Eastern accent.
The surprising thing is, you’d be wrong. My feeling about Roy Rieck an the Medley Band is that musically, he almost picks up where artists like Jeff Buckley left off. Despite their Israeli heritage, Rieck’s music is grounded in a satisfyingly rich, rootsy, blues. He’s surrounded himself with a talented and tight bunch of musicians, and this tells in the eclectic range of original tunes Rieck and his associates have put together for their debut album.
Harmonica trills cut through many of the tracks, and in places you’ll hear a tremolo effect on the guitar that makes the music sound authentically retro. Dream Beans may be one of the first songs you’ll hear, dreamy for the most part, but punctuated by fiery pick slides and short bursts of energy. Rieck’s lead vocal is throaty and satisfying. Moving on, Broken Bottles is a bluesy, drunken lament complete with slow slide guitar and an almost drawling vocal.
Dive into the other tracks and you’ll discover some musical gems. This band manages to create some interesting and original music, their feel for this American-sounding alt-blues (I’m struggling for a point of genre comparison, can you tell?) is impressive. I just love what they’ve created together, and I think you will too.
Check out the Roy Rieck MySpace page for a few sample tunes (but the album’s worth buying for the extra tracks). And here’s a small sample of the band’s work via YouTube: