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Album Review: Greg Koch Band - "Plays Well with Others"

Koch invites Joe Bonamassa, Robben Ford, and Paul Barrère to the party.

Greg Koch Band
Plays Well with Others
Rhymes With Chalk Music

Wisconsin-based guitarist Greg Koch is a fiendishly talented player who not only amazes with his twisted blues sensibilities, but can also disarm you with his legendary sense of humor. He does this here by inviting Joe Bonamassa, Robben Ford, and Paul Barrère to the party. Billed as by the Greg Koch Band, Plays Well with Others is more of a group effort than his previous instrumental releases. Even after a casual listen, you can hear this ensemble is a well-unified entity that could lay waste to any blues bar this side of Kenosha.

The slinky, legato run that opens “Simone” is pure Koch—ear-twisting intervals combined with a down-home sensibility that’s equal parts Billy F. Gibbons and Joe Satriani. Bonamassa steps in for a chorus before trading with Koch, and in typical fashion, executes perfect EJ-esque runs with a bluesy bent. Jazz-bopper Robben Ford adds his unique, sophisticated lines on three cuts, including the strongest track on the album, “Walk Before You Crawl.” This album finally shows Koch in his most accessible context, as part of a rock-solid blues band. This album is bound to spread Koch’s reputation past Summerfest crowds and NAMM geeks who surf YouTube demo videos.

Must-hear track: “Walk Before You Crawl”