The Skinny: Toronto-based bad asses Bella Clava like to remind everyone that Highway 61, otherwise known as The Blues Highway, starts in New Orleans and ends in their home town of Thunder Bay. Just one listen to their debut LP, Holy Crow, recorded by Canadian rock icon, Sir Ian Blurton (Cowboy Junkies, C’Mon, Change of Heart), and you know they’re the real deal when it comes to grinding out gritty blues-based rawk.
They’re rougher and tougher than the Black Keys (or, at least as rough and tough), and they’ve got riffs that hit hard like the Stones and Foghat paying tribute to the Muddy Water’s classic “I Just Wanna Make Love to You.” But they’ve also got Caitlin Dacey’s vocals to lend a just-feminine-enough touch to balance out heavy, Zeppelin inspired riffs and make you think of Janice Joplin at her soulful, wailing best.
Bound by a mutual distaste for authority, the four-piece got together one night with the intention of wreaking some havoc. Rather than robbing a convenience store, they decided that starting a band would be more dangerous. And really, what’s more dangerous than the devil’s music? They’ve got the chops and the rock resume to lend serious credibility.
For example, their sophomore album, Craic, was recorded and mixed by Steve Albini (Nirvana, The Pixies, PJ Harvey) at Electrical Audio in Chicago, and mastered by Noah Mintz (Sarah Harmer, Hayden, The Dears) at Lacquer Channel. Their first EP, Coldspell, was mastered, also at Lacquer Channel, by George Graves (Feist, Alice Cooper, Sam Roberts).