Favorite

Joe Grushecky & the Houserockers 

Saturday, April 15, at Wilbert's.

Joe Grushecky & the Houserockers' newest disc, True Companion, winds down with a feel-good cover of the Standells' barroom classic "Dirty Water." Grushecky himself has been kicking around the area long enough to remember when the Cuyahoga was so dirty, it was flammable. Granted, he's talking about the Three Rivers of his hometown -- with Donnie Iris, he's one of two guys who are roughly the Pittsburgh equivalent of Michael Stanley.

When you've been doing this for 30 years and you're not a household name, you'll have good days and bad days. And some of the better tracks from the Houserockers' latest sound as if they caught Grushecky on bad days. The disc is plenty upbeat, but shot through with a desolate version of the blues. And he doesn't mind; the game's been good to him, as the life-affirming "A Long Way to Go" recalls: The singer-guitarist slugged his way through Steel City strip joints, bars, and frat parties before Steve Popovich from Cleveland International Records signed the then-Iron City Houserockers. That paved the way for 1979's Love's So Tough, which drew positive notices in Rolling Stone. The Houserockers never quite broke out, but they have a loyal national following, and they're popular in the right circles. Bruce Springsteen, the king of blue-collar rock, produced 1995's American Babylon, leaving a permanent tinge of Jersey in the boy from the 'Burgh.

Latest in Livewire

More by D.X. Ferris

  • GAME OF CHANCE
  • GAME OF CHANCE

    Operators of sweepstakes cafés hope their investment doesn't go bust
    • Nov 10, 2010
  • The Face of Cleveland Radio
  • The Face of Cleveland Radio

    How Mike Trivisonno became the smartest moron on the airwaves
    • Sep 22, 2010
  • Dirty Laundry
  • Dirty Laundry

    Sodexo's washing machines are modern, but its working conditions are medieval
    • Sep 22, 2010
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Calendar

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Facebook Activity

© 2015 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 241-7550
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.


Website powered by Foundation