Review of From Grace – Popunie

“The band of Michel Ebben” is written on the post-it stuck to the digipack album of Gravel Town. I have to admit that I had never heard of the guy. Via Google you get to know everything though.

Ebben is a Dutchman with a great passion for American roots rock. Gifted when it comes to a somewhat gravelly voice and everything but a one day fly from Rotterdam. Together with his cousin Martijn and companions Hans Glerum and drummer Mark Lubeek he now has the band Gravel Town. And it is time to conquer the Netherlands.

From Grace is their debut album! The result is a complete and mature album without compromises. You will drift on the Americana waves from the first until the last note. A good production, nice layout, catchy photography and musically complete. I can hear the reader think “It’s almost boring”. Nothing is less true. From Grace is simply a must-have for anyone who loves American roots classics. Poppy with a raw edge that sometimes sounds like the country and West Coast legends. Songs with each a strong hook that lingers, and stick to you. Compare it with artists like John Cougar Mellencamp, John Hiatt and to a lesser extent Bruce Springsteen and Tom Waits to get an idea of where Ebben and his associates have got their inspiration from.

Ebben was responsible for all compositions but two. Also, his vocal qualities are to be emphasized. His voice fits perfectly into the musical mix he made with Gravel Town. Gritty, deep and alive, but never annoying and overacting. This more than fifty-minute work has been recorded in France, and sounds very organic and fresh. The outside air and healthy French way of life led to a very complete album. As if the French cheese and dry white wine from the Dordogne were the lubricant for the songs.

In the middle of the album, is the – in my opinion – best song, Middletown Avenue. The band just shows how things are to be done here. The song is a great reference for Gravel Town that is perfectly suited to hit every stage in Europe. Consider the upcoming summer festivals like Lowlands, De Parade, Sziget or Øya, but also events such as the Amsterdam Uitmarkt, Crossing Border or Winternachten. Doors can be opened with this band’s album lead by the mayor of Gravel Town, Michel Ebben.

Cok Jouvenaar


Translated from the original Dutch article with consent of the author