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No Depression Review of “The High Cost of Low Living”

Updated: Apr 7, 2018

Living Low with Nick Moss and Dennis Gruenling

by Grant Britt, Staff Reviewer

Chicago native Nick Moss and New Jersey's Dennis Gruenling have been teamed up for less than two years, but it sounds like they're joined at the hip. Gruenling had previously been touring with Doug Deming and the Jewel Tones, his Little Walter/James Cotton/Rod Piazza-influenced harp dueling with Deming's Charlie Christian/T-Bone Walker inspired guitar. It was fun to watch the two thrust and parry, Gruenling's back alley-Chicago attack meeting Deming's uptown jazz approach and somehow finding common ground or at least an uneasy truce that let both sides speak their piece.

Gruenling wrote “Count On Me,” a rollicking boogie-woogie once again aided by Streiff's Jerry Lee style key pounding underscored by Moss's rattly rockabilly licks,  buoyed by Gruenling's superharp wailing.

Gruenling blows out the reeds paying homage to Cotton on “Get Your Hands Out of My Pockets” from '66's Otis Spann's Chicago Blues, firing off a barrage of superharp bullets that keeps Moss ducking vocally and instrumentally.

Gruenling's other composition, “Lesson To Learn,” features Gruenling slithering sinuously underneath a Bo Diddley beat that Moss attempts to slash apart briefly but Gruenling's Cottonmouth overides him.

It's a high quality debut with plenty of room for both to stretch out in later on.

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