CD Reviews – December 2022

JUKEHOUSE BOMBERS – JOYLAND (no label) Indiana County-based blues rockers the Jukehouse Bombers continue to deliver their “down and dirty rock-n-blues” on their third recording, Joyland. The group has expanded to six official members since their 2017 album Death or Glory, as keyboardist Gabriel Riva joins the singing and guitar-wielding father-and-son tandem of Jimmy and Joe Roach, bassist and singer Troy Laney, guitarist and pedal steel player Kirsch, and drummer Logan Yonkoske. Hard-hitting electric blues continues to be the Jukehouse Bombers’ bread and butter, with southern rock flavors mixed in. Joe Roach wrote seven of the album’s eight songs, with Jimmy penning and singing the leadoff track, “Best I Can,” a spiritual-toned blues number about fending off the devil and temptation. Guest (and the group’s former drummer) Josh Williams’ infectious shuffle rhythm launches Joe’s slinky, sleazy and bluesy “Shake What Momma Gave Ya,” before the group taps a Lynyrd Skynyrd flavor on the rocking and appropriately soulful “Soul Revival.” The Jukehouse Bombers delve into dark, swampy blues on “Mountain Water,” and Kirsch’s pedal steel gets a workout on the country-flavored “Lonesome Rider.” “Roses” delivers more southern-styled rock and blues, before Joe sings about progressing and living life to its fullest on the tranquil “Keep Moving On,” underscored by guest John Shimko’s keyboard work. The album closes with the 8-minute-plus epic “What Kind Of Life,” about self-realization and enjoying this ride called life; this number evolves into a full-bodied Allman Brothers-like homestretch jam with both Jimmy and Joe bringing strong guitar harmonies. All eight songs are strong, and the Jukehouse Bombers and their guests sing and play all of them with ample heart and soul. Produced by the group, this album sounds full, clean and balanced, with each component of the group’s sound coming through sharp and clear. The Jukehouse Bombers raise the bar higher on Joyland, which lives up to its name as a joyful, authentic and powerful celebration of the blues and its stylistic offspring. This is well worth checking out. (The album can be obtained through the group’s website,