The Grove, consisting of vocalist/guitarist Adam Forsthoefel, bassist/vocalist Matt Holt, drummer Jeff Voegele and keyboardist/vocalist Matt Forsthoefel, uses each of the four tracks to highlight the strengths of the members, with each song crafted to place a new element of the band in the limelight. EP opener “Anna Lee” is a slow, sultry ballad that is just begging for some Zippo’s to be held aloft, until about halfway through when Adam Forsthoefel lets loose with a powerful suite of riffs and solos and ends the song on a much louder note than it started.
“Bring You Up” follows as the boys shift gears into a heavily Reggae-influenced jam. Holt’s bass rhythms ring through the entirety of the track and anchor the proceedings, as the guitar and keys run a series of alternating auditory set pieces. “Either Way” ups the tempo as the boys showcase their Blues and Jazz chops. In this instance, it is Matt Forsthoefel’s time to shine — his keys rise above all else to add a jaunty layer to the guitar’s, bass’ and drums’ already high-energy scales.
The EP’s finale, “What We Can Do,” is The Grove’s most organized track, with all of their disparate elements reined in and harnessed into a tight four-and-a-half minutes. The song begins with three-way interplay between strings, keys and drums. Each instrument takes its turn to craft a distinct pattern of rhythms before swirling together through the choruses to bring a sense of power and strength to Adam’s lyrics.
Adam’s vocals are another of The Grove’s musical treasures. With a powerful yet tender delivery, each track has his emotive and hopeful lyricism as a common thread. As a singer, Adam is intimately aware of molding his exertions to the songs themselves. “Anna Lee” features a pained and soulful sound, whereas “Either Way” highlights a singer willing to make his presence known and his voice heard to all within earshot.
Coming to Terms accomplishes what many EP’s attempt but few achieve, simultaneously letting the band stretch its creative boundaries while still keeping the core focus intact. Each track is vastly different from the last, but they are all undeniably The Grove songs. Through tight, professional instrumentation and vocal delivery, the quartet has a release worth far more than the sum of its (many) parts.
The Grove headlines a free, 10 p.m. release party celebration in honor of Coming to Terms Friday at the Northside Tavern (4163 Hamilton Ave., Northside, northsidetav.com). 90 Proof Twang and Counterfeit Money Machine also perform. For more on The Grove, click here. (Review by Nick Grever.)
Cincy Blues Acts Showcased
The Cincy Blues Society’s Cincy Winter Blues Fest returns Friday and Saturday to The Phoenix (812 Race St., Downtown, thephx.com). As usual, joining the touring headliners (this year it’s Davy Knowles and The Mike Wheeler Band on Friday and Michele Lundeen and Southern Avenue on Saturday) will be several of the top Blues-oriented acts in Greater Cincinnati.
Friday’s local roster includes The Medicine Men, The Whiskey Shambles, Brad Hatfield Band, The Magic Lightnin’ Boys, Ricky Nye Inc. featuring Bekah Williams, The Beaumonts, Jay Jesse Johnson, Sonny Moorman and Noah Wotherspoon. On Saturday, catch area acts like G. Miles & the Band of Helping Hands,The Heaters, Greg Schaber, Ralph & the Rhythm Hounds, Chuck Brisbin & the Tuna Project, Johnny Fink & the Intrusion, Leroy Ellington Band and The Tempted Souls Band.
Music begins at 6 p.m. each night. For the full lineup, tickets and more info, visit cincyblues.org.
CONTACT MIKE BREEN: [email protected]