'The Hard Side of the Blues'
Rochester expat Tommy Grills stands ominous, lean, and mean — with nothing but a big guitar between him and the rest of the world. Grills's name may sound familiar to some blues aficionados; he’s the big brother of hometown bluesman Steve Grills. On Tommy Grills’s new, Kenny Neal-produced CD, “The Hard Side of the Blues,” Grills’ hard guitar battles for attention with his strident vocal style. The album features covers of songs from a nice blend of traditional cats such as Little Walter, Jimmy Rogers, Sonny Boy Williamson, and Willie Dixon. But where it gets hard — and I don’t mean difficult — is when Grills leans in and rips through his own stuff, full of electricity and sweaty desire. Ten cuts of the blues in full gallop.