sound check

By Michael Swanger


Bob Pace
“Bare Bones”
Independent release


Talented singer-songwriter-guitarist and Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Bob Pace is a staple of the Des Moines’ music scene, playing his own brand of fiery electric blues that sometimes crosses paths with rock, jazz, soul, gospel and country. On his debut, full-length recording, “Bare Bones,” Pace digs deeply into traditional blues with 13 solo acoustic offerings that demonstrate his knowledge and passion for them. Songs like “Rent My Soul (To the Devil)” and “Ruby Red” are reminiscent of pre-war blues, while tunes like “Slimfast Blues” and “Online Dating Blues” are blues for the modern world. Pace’s gospel roots shine on “Come to the River,” “Gospel Blues” and the album’s lone cover, a heartfelt rendition of “Jesus on the Mainline,” with guest vocals by John Augsperger and Laura Clements. CV

(Bob Pace & the Blues Groove play free shows on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. at Blues on Grand.)



H&K featuring Heather Kelly
“Catch A Rainbow”
Junior Motel Records


H&K is the Fort Dodge-based power-pop trio of singer-pianist Heather Kelly, multi-instrumentalist Kirk Kaufman and guitarist Erick Hovey. Together, with help from a handful of other Iowa musicians, the trio has released a collection of 12 modern pop and folksy R&B tunes entitled “Catch A Rainbow” on Kaufman’s record label, Junior Motel Records. Kaufman, a veteran musician, is the owner and chief engineer of Junior’s Motel Recording Studio in Otho, having worked with artists from B.J. Thomas, to Brian Wilson, to Slipknot. That kind of diverse experience seems to help he and the classically trained Kelly as they navigate a musical terrain that includes brooding, sexy pop (“Inside Your Head,” “Hold Me”), indie-folk-rock (“Eleven Windows,” title track), R&B (“Hurt”), piano ballads (“Bend the Rules”) and the child-like dance number, “Shake Your Monkey.” Kelly’s dark, danceable pop songs, however, steal the show. CV

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