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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Greg Koch

From the Attic (Pepper Cake/ZYX Germany)

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Milwaukee veteran blues rocker Greg Koch is among the few musicians from the city with a foreign label deal. His latest trio outing on a European imprint delivers textural and lyrical diversity with a blue-collar sense of humor that makes it difficult to understand why Koch doesn't have a domestic record contract.

His engagingly plain-spoken voice—singing about common sense, reconciliation and forcing his listeners to rock sounds—is like a pal with enough chutzpah and brains to steer you on a reasonable course of action without being a jerk. And he works his ax in ways representing primary influences such as Freddie King and Albert King while showing appreciation for later crowd-pleasers such as Robert Cray and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Both vocal and instrumental pieces vary the pace between meditative mellowness and rollicking rowdiness. The bare-bones setup of Koch with his drummer and bassist allows all parties to shine on numbers that walk the fine line separating the raw and the slick. Maybe nothing’s new here, but nothing’s stale, either.


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