Artist: Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders
Title: ‘What You Gonna Do?’
Overall Album Vibe: Twin Cities band Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders blends American roots music ranging from, blues and country to swing and rock n’ roll. The uniqueness of this album starts from the actual recording of it. Looking to avoid a, ‘sterile studio sound,’ band frontman and songwriter Alex ‘Crankshaft’ Larson found an old barn (built in 1914) located near St. Francis, Minnesota as the place to record the album. After some much needed cleanup and work they had it ready to use. If you get a hard copy of the album be sure to read the Cd’s booklet that includes pictures of the barn’s transformation from start to finish.
Highlight tracks from ‘What You Gonna Do?’ include the fast paced, 50’s rockabilly sounding song, “When the Sun Goes Down.” The song deals with handling life’s test, doing what you have to do to overcome the situation. The percussion driven track, “Boomtown,” offers up nice rhythmic beats. “Trails of Tears,” is an electric guitar driven blues track dealing with a dark part of American history that involved forced relocation and movement of entire Native American nations from southeastern parts of the United States to what is now the state of Oklahoma. Along the march many of the Native Americans faced terrible suffering with many of them dying during the forced march. “I Wanna Play,” offers up a New Orleans sound with lyrics about not wanting to sell out or settle down and have kids, wanting to stay carefree in life. “Waiting for Me,” uses an alt. country vibe as it deals with long gigs and really looking forward to getting home to your wife. “Earthquake Shake,” is a killer guitar and organ filled party tune.
Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders really hit on all cylinders in the songs that make up, ‘What You Gonna Do?’ The only track that went over the top of my head was track-10, “Don’t Leave,” that last for 42 seconds and just didn’t seem to flow with the rest of the album.
Review by C.W. Ross