A chilly December evening greeted me upon arriving at the Big Room Bar last Friday. With three bands on the bill, I settled in for a night of music in familiar surroundings.
Coya Hill and Comrade Question were the bookends for the bill, but it was Gold From Grief that cranked up the heat with a scorching 45-minute set to celebrate the release of their eponymous debut EP.
Comprised of Kelsey Hopkins (vocals), Michael Furman (guitar), Lynn Roose III (bass) and Michael Ortiz (drums), the band was firing on all cylinders in front of an appreciative crowd. Their sound brings a Midwestern flair to traditional delta blues.
They kicked-off their set with On My Way, an uptempo and dirty blues sounding tune that set the tone for the night. Hopkins dug deep, her vocals full of emotion as they romped through the number.
Keeping the pace high, they launched into the first single from the EP, Magnetic Mine. Lost in the moment, Hopkins vocals could only be described as “full,” hitting notes across a wide range. Furman jumped in with a tasty flourish that had hints of Stevie Ray Vaughn emanating from his guitar.
“This song is about when it gets cold and you get sad,” said Hopkins, as the band slowed the pace on the almost somber-sounding Seasonal Blues. Her voice had a lilting quality that washed over the audience, causing you to feel the lyrical pain as it welled up from within her.
Continuing with the slower vibe, they rolled into Tried. The song carried a somewhat Country Blues tone that could very easily play within a movie’s soundtrack.
Suitcase In My Hand was a midtempo Appalachian Americana groover, with Hopkins adopting an almost country twang with her vocals. Furman played some delicate notes that fit beautifully within the framework of the number.
The sole cover song of their set came next, as they played Baby, It’s You, basing it on the 1969 Smith version of the Burt Bacharach tune. Hopkins vocals were almost screaming with emotion, with Roose playing his bass as a lead guitar. It made for a wonderful rendition of the classic song.
They delved back into the delta blues groove with A Say from the new EP. The audience couldn’t help but get their toes tapping, with some stomping their feet in appreciation. Furman’s flourishes reminded one of a classic blues sound as he channeled Eric Clapton’s guitar licks.
Cranking the heat up a notch, they launched into the uptempo rocker Trouble Makin’, a dirty blues tune that was simply wonderful. One could tell that Hopkins has lived her lyrics, with her pure emotion shining through.
An Itch, from the new EP, slowed the pace slightly. The groove conjured an image of riding into a dusty town on horseback, before the band kicked up the pace to finish the number.
The foot stomping groove of Crying Shame was next, with Hopkins sounding exquisite as she got lost within moment. Furman coaxed his guitar into emanating a buzz saw that fit perfectly with the tempo of the song.
They closed out their 45-minute set with the uptempo groove of Hey Mister. You could almost feel the anger and hurt coming from Hopkins as she related the storyline of the number. At times, she was almost spitting out the lyrics with a venom that only added to overall feeling of being hurt by another person.
Gold From Grief is a tight band that should fast become a “must see” band locally before branching out to a wider audience. The crowd that night loved their show, and I know that I was suitably impressed that I want to see them again very soon.
- On My Way
- Magnetic Mine
- Seasonal Blues
- Suitcase In My Hand
- Baby, It’s You (cover based on 1969 Smith version)
- A Say
- Trouble Makin’
- An Itch
- Crying Shame
- Hey Mister