To my mind, being able to rock an audience without fancy-schmancey electronic gear makes a band today, now more than ever, vital. Such a back-to-basics approach band is offered by Heavy Road, a quartet comprised of guitarist/vocalist Greg Merritt (Amorphous, Good Friend), drummer Ron Thaler, bassist Arthur Sadowsky and keyboardist Pete Remm.
The event was a benefit for Bob Smith, who was in charge of the Stone Pony’s Hippy Army productions group. He was paralyzed by a demanding back surgery, and the night was set up to help purchase him a more accessible wheelchair to continue to attend shows.
Heavy Road opened their set with “Out There,” developing a smooth groove that led directly to their self-titled tune “Heavy Road,” which encompassed gentle vocals and classic jam rock instrumentals. “I Might Be Leaving,” had a romantic jazz feel, delivering a relaxing wave of music. A classic jam sesh was next, incorporating a dancier drum beat with rippling guitar completed with thumping bass lines and fragile piano.
Next came “Try This,” which felt like a classic jam tune, taking a traveler from hill to valley, never missing a beat to uplift the listener to a peak. “My Oh My,” was an upbeat jazz-rock song, where Greg’s unique voice and guitar were at the forefront. “Who You Are,” then rounded out a night in which each song was easily distinguishable and funky, leaving me hungry for more.
Overall, Heavy Road has the feel of a quintessential jam band. The ingredients are all there and Greg’s passion overwhelms the audience, as it is clear that he, and the rest on stage, are loving what they do, never failing to keep attendees in motion well after a set is finished.