Jarod Grubb’s journey from Montana’s Western landscape to the bright lights of Nashville, Tennessee has turned towards a national and global stage. “What She’s Drinkin’ On”, his new single, capitalizes on the success of his first single release “Tiki Bar on the Beach”. He’s often identified with modern country music but there’s little about this new track that hardcore fans of the genre will enjoy. Grubb’s new release is an entertaining balance between pop and rock.
The surface of the song is oriented towards the pop side of the spectrum. I don’t hear a lot of “live” musicians working on this release, but it doesn’t matter. It never strikes a false note and the warmth of the music, especially the often cutting guitar, invoke rough-hewn physicality. It’s an undeniable track. Grubb’s personality explodes from the track without ever overwhelming listeners.
He digs deep into the arrangement and you will feel like, at every turn, that Grubb treats the song as a raucous tiger he’s riding on. His mastery is total. The confidence he has during the performance helps put the song over the top; It never rubs listener’s the wrong way, but it gives an attractive stride to the way he attacks the song that further fuels its insistent mood. You can’t teach this sort of thing. Grubb exudes it in every line.
The rhythm section is straight-forward and complements the song rather than dominating it with a thoughtless thud. I don’t know who Grubb is working with in terms of a producer, but they orchestrate “What She’s Drinkin’ On” with an even-handed ear. It’s a song that doesn’t show all its cards at once. Grubb ramps up the song’s potential in a deliberate manner that holds your attention.
The tempo is perfect. Grubb never allows the pace to get carried away with itself and the track’s progression shares the same unostentatious strut of his vocal performance. The lyrics are cut to a fine edge and punchy and it serves the song well. Its chorus crystalizes that style and gives it the needed oomph to linger with listeners.
Is he trying to remake the songwriting wheel with this recording? Hardly. Grubb’s ambitions are deceptively modest. He wants to entertain us and share a piece of his life. He hopes to take our minds off the troubles of the day. Perhaps these aren’t the most transformative of ambitions but they are undoubtedly noble and needed. A song such as “What She’s Drinkin’ On” brings us much needed relief from complex and/or difficult circumstances.
Grubb has a debut solo EP in the pipeline and we can only presume “Tiki Bar on the Beach” and “What She’s Drinkin’ On” will figure into that release. If not, we can expect four or five songs of equal or greater merit from this blossoming new talent. Montana may seem like an unlikely breeding ground for a future music star, but Jarod Grubb possesses all the necessary attributes to enjoy a long and influential run in the music world.
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