The Heavy Grooves of Thy Dirty Deuce

With Bruised, the new recording from Thy Dirty Deuce, Rob Atwood proves once again that he’s the master of gritty, groovy, heavy guitar licks, and Jamey Clark is the owner of a masterful, explosive, thunderous drum sound.

Atwood and Clark have been, and remain, the heart and soul of this Door County-based greasy and original rock ’n’ roll band. David Passow – on wicked harmonica – was Atwood’s colleague in his previous band, the Milwaukee-based Probers. Gregory Roteik plays bass, and Matt Ostlund plays tenor and baritone sax.

Former Probers bandmate Jeff Hamilton also plays lap steel on the song “Bruise,” and producer Zach V. plays keyboards on “Lean Back Cadillac” and guitars on “Psycho-Logical Judo.”

Atwood and the band wrote all the songs with the exception of “Shake Well,” which is the creation of Sturgeon Bay musical genius pat mAcdonald, who joins the band to sing his song. It has a different, jaunty feel from the rest of the record.

Things start out with “Call It What You Will.” It opens with a driving Atwood guitar lick that would sound right at home on a ZZ Top album. The buttery tone of Passow’s harmonica lightens a groove-heavy beat, and then a short-but-sweet guitar solo by Atwood follows.

Atwood seems at the top of his form, offering solid and blistering guitar work and bluesy and soulful vocals throughout. And Clark remains one of my favorite drummers – everything crashing perfectly into place.

In the third track, “Bruise,” Atwood lays a screaming, psychedelic-drenched solo on top of a tough, nasty, swaggering beat. And because of its quirky, bouncy beat, it’s impossible to stop your head from bobbing to the fourth track, “Psycho-Logical Judo.” “Everything’s gonna be outta sight!”

Between that and the next track, there’s a raunchy vocal interlude from a female fan of Thy Dirty Deuce.

“Lean Back Cadillac” comes in sounding especially heavy thanks to producer Zach V.’s Deep Purplish keyboards. I’d love to hear this one in a live setting. (Well, that’s true of the whole record, but I can see the smoke swirling on stage with this one.)

Track No. 8 of this 10-track record is called “Appreciate Your Soul.” It reminds me somehow of the Young Fresh Fellows, a Seattle-based band that, at one point, issued its own theme song, “The Young Fresh Fellows Theme.”

“Appreciate Your Soul” could be Thy Dirty Deuce’s theme song: “Everywhere we go, we appreciate your soul.” Very catchy!

Catch Thy Dirty Deuce live in a rare Minnesota show on May 8 at Jersey’s Bar & Grill in Inver Grove Heights.