By Stevie Connor. Photo by: Howard Greenblatt.
Award-winning traditional electric Chicago blues group The Nick Moss Band Featuring Dennis Gruenling release the first single, The Bait In The Snare, from their eagerly awaited third Alligator Records release, Get Your Back Into It!. The album will be available on July 14 on CD, red vinyl LP, and on all popular streaming and download services. The band has recently signed with the Blues Pros Talent booking agency with national and international tour plans in the works.
Speaking of his original song, The Bait In The Snare, Moss says, "Nowadays, when it seems like trolling people is sport, I decided to take a fun approach, and remind everybody not to fall for the bait!”
Chicago native, guitarist and vocalist Nick Moss and New Jersey born and bred harmonica player and vocalist Dennis Gruenling – together with Rodrigo Mantovani on bass, Taylor Streiff on keyboards and Pierce Downer on drums – deliver a deeply rooted, timeless blue collar blues album.
According to Moss, “We are a rare breed as far as how authentic we like to keep the music." That's not a surprise to longtime fans, as Moss proudly represents the city of Chicago as one of the few bluesmen working today to have learned his craft firsthand directly from many of the genre’s original creators.Get Your Back Into It! was produced by Moss and Mantovani and contains fourteen original songs -- twelve by Moss and two by Gruenling. Guests include saxophonist “Sax” Gordon Beadle and organist “Brother” John Kattke. The album is inspired by the electrifying blues sounds of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, and is performed with taste, restraint, sly humor and pure joy. In addition to the expertly crafted lyrics, the album features three wild instrumentals that simply dare you to stay seated. “We're not reinventing the wheel," says Moss of the songs and performances on the new album, "but we like to push ourselves out of our comfort zone, and I feel like we accomplished that.”
Moss first made a name for himself playing bass for bluesman Jimmy “Fast Fingers” Dawkins. Dawkins encouraged Nick to unleash his fire and passion. From there, Moss was chosen by Willie “Big Eyes” Smith to join his Legendary Blues Band, but Smith insisted Moss switch to guitar. Blues icon Jimmy Rogers (whose best known songs include Walking By Myself and Ludella) hired Moss as his touring guitarist, mentoring him on the blues lifestyle along the way. Today, Moss’ blistering fretwork, impassioned, soul-charged vocals and memorable original songs place him in a league of his own.
Dennis Gruenling, Moss’ friend of over 20 years, is considered among today’s most innovative and creative blues harmonica players. His high-energy, full-throttle reed work has earned him comparisons to many of the greats, including the late James Cotton. A self-taught player and a natural entertainer with seven solo albums and numerous guest appearances to his credit, Gruenling’s giant, fat-toned harp work, raw-boned singing and untamed energy are a perfect foil for Moss’ inspired guitar playing and straight-from-the-shoulder blues vocals. Vintage Guitar says, “Gruenling’s harp, along with the Midwestern intensity of Moss’ blues guitar, is pure ecstasy.”
The Nick Moss Band Featuring Dennis Gruenling's first two Alligator albums, 2018's The High Cost Of Low Living and 2019’s Lucky Guy!, hit blues fans, press and radio by storm. Moss, Gruenling and the band received a total of five Blues Music Awards, with wins in 2020 for Band Of The Year, Song Of The Year (Lucky Guy) and Traditional Blues Album Of The Year (Lucky Guy!), and in 2019 for Traditional Blues Male Artist (Moss) and Instrumentalist—Harmonica (Gruenling). Blues Music Magazine says, “Nick Moss is a major force in contemporary blues. Dennis Gruenling plays soaring harp...infectious and finger-snappin’.”
Lucky Guy! finished in the Top 10 on the Living Blues Radio Chart’s Top 50 Albums of 2019. Internationally, the album peaked on blues charts at #1 in Australia, #3 in France and #7 in the UK. Songs from Lucky Guy! were also prominently featured on BBC2 in Britain and CBC in Canada. The title track became one of the most played songs on SiriusXM’s Bluesville.
Now, with Get Your Back Into It! and upcoming North American and European tours in the works, The Nick Moss Band Featuring Dennis Gruenling will bring their brash, exciting blues to old fans and new. Performing at clubs, concert halls and on festival stages across the country and around the world, the band ignites an irresistible, musical firestorm onstage. “When we get together, the music takes over,” says Moss. “We can’t hold back, and the energy just comes pouring out. We get carried away and the audience gets carried away with us.”
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