East Carson Street

Joe Grushecky is a complicated guy and I mean that in the best sense of the word. Don’t assume anything about him, other than these basic facts; he’s one of the hardest working musicians this city has ever known, he’s flirted with big time and avoided the pitfall of becoming jaded, he’s earned every ounce of wisdom he’s got – and he’s got a lot of that - and he loves his hometown.

Grushecky and the Houserockers is a finely honed music machine that purrs through ballads and revs up for the rockers. Great classic rock and roll is hard to find these day but these guys are holding the fort. They’ve added nuanced touches to their repertoire, including slide guitar, banjo, and mandolin. “Broken Wheel,” a duet with Pittsburgh singer/songwriter, Bill Deasy, is a terrific roots-rock ballad about sudden death and murder, a dark new twist in Grushecky’s song roster. “Just Like That” is another fine song that has a Lucinda Williams vibe – musically. The subject matter is all Grushecky; a man who loves his wife and kids comes to the realization that love is the true measure of a man’s success. Grushecky has never shied away from familial sentiment; its one of the things that is so quintessentially “Pittsburgh” about him. How can you not love a guy who writes a beautiful love song to his long-time wife, as Joe does on “Lee Ann?”

What I respect about Joe Grushecky is his dedication to the craft of songwriting. When the Iron City Houserockers first broke our collective Pittsburgh consciousness they were a straight-ahead rock and roll bar band singing songs about the typical subject matter of young dudes. That was a long time ago. Grushecky is seasoned now; he’s worked hard at his music, for his family and his community. He’s seen his share of heartache and disappointment. All of this seeps into his songs creating a depth of emotion and experience that permeates each song. Not to be overlooked is Grushecky’s dedication to the craft of songwriting, something that he’s labored at diligently for years. It doesn’t hurt that he’s worked with one of the greats – Bruce Springsteen. The duo co-wrote “Another Thin Line” more than a decade ago and it’s finally found a home on this recording with Springsteen singing back-up. Grushecky’s efforts become obvious as you sink deeper into this record. There is so much variety, so much depth that East Carson Street might be Mr. Grushecky’s crowning work.

Loaded with superb hooks, exciting chord changes and, creative arrangements, East Carson Street is anchored by impassioned performances. Joining Grushecky is long-time Houserocker Art Nardini, Joe Pelesky, Joffo Simmons, Danny Gochnour and Johnny Grushecky, Joe’s son. Other guests include Willie Nile, Randy Baumann, Rick Witkowski, and Anthony Rankin.

Rosemary Welsch (Afternoon Mix Host)