Blues guitar virtuoso Nick Moss and harmonica wizard Dennis Gruenling have been on a winning streak since they first joined forces in 2016. With relentless non-stop touring and the release of their Alligator Records debut, The High Cost Of Low Living, in 2018, The Nick Moss Band Featuring Dennis Gruenling has been playing for wildly enthusiastic fans and winning over critics and radio programmers worldwide.
Their journey will bring them to Rockstar Music Hall in Windsor on Oct. 11 and The KDB Club in Chatham on Oct. 12. Their latest album Lucky Guy! is a blues revolution through a variety of styles and sounds all crafted by Nick, Dennis and the band.
We had a chat with Nick to find out a little bit more about Dennis, the new album and their connection with the Canada South Blues Society.
You’re coming to Windsor and Chatham this month because of the Canada South Blues Society. So how do you know them?
Well, I’ve played in the area many times. I played for the blues Societies over there and
Windsor and London, countless times over the years. At least 20 plus years I’ve been playing over there. I think they’ve been very supportive of blues in general.
You have a new member. How does Dennis fit into the equation?
He fits in nicely. Dennis has been a friend of mine for well over 20 years and obviously he has the hardware to prove now that he is probably one of the finest harmonica players in the world. He’s won the 2019 blues music award for best harmonica player and he also won the award at the SPAH Awards this year, which is the society for the preservation and advancement of harmonicas.
Dennis wrote a couple of tracks on the new record. So you’re obviously not afraid of sharing some of that spotlight?
Never have, never will. I mean, if you have looked at any of my past work and past band. I’ve always shared the stage with all the musicians I’ve been lucky enough to play with and having my band, and all my CDs reflect it too. I had Mike Ledbetter in my band for close to seven years and I pretty much let him take all the vocals. By the time he was ready to leave my band, he was writing almost half the songs on our records. So I’m of the opinion because when I was young and starting out and playing with the guys that I played with, the old timers, Jimmy Rogers and Willie Smith and Pine Top Perkins and all these guys without literally saying, “Hey, I’m passing this on to you,” that’s what they did, with how they let me conduct myself and how they let me have the spotlight, when I could step forward and solo or when they gave me chances to sing, and let me grow as a musician.
I’ve always felt like there’s strength in numbers. And if you’ve got talent around you, it doesn’t make sense to suppress it. It’s not fair for the audience.
From the sound of it, the song The Comet could have been written about Mike. Is that really what it is? Is that song about him?
Yeah, that’s absolutely about Mike. This song that I wrote from Mike, that Mike Walsh and I asked him, Mike, we had finished recording the record. It’s the beginning of June or January and then Mike passed away literally a week after we finished recording. Mike was like a little brother to me, even more so than a band mate. I love the guy, his family’s still my family. But yeah, I wrote that song for him.
What were you trying to accomplish when you went out to record the new record?
Really, my only goal, every time I go to record is to put the best product out that I can put out, and write music with feeling and soul. And maybe somebody will like it. My goal, every record is to make a record better than the last. I was told many years ago, every day when you wake up, you should strive to make today better than yesterday. And that’s kind of how I’ve always tried to live my life. Make today better than yesterday, and the same thing with my recordings is I just want to make something better than I did before. And I love every recording I’ve put out, but I think I’ve grown on every recording.
There’s things on every recording that I’ve done better than the last one. That’s pretty much it. I’m a pretty simple guy.
For more on The Nick Moss Band featuring Dennis Gruenling, visit www.nickmossband.com, additional info on the shows, visit the venues or Rockstar Music Hall’s website for the Windsor show rockstarvenue.com.