Closing in on 20 years as a true cult rock diva in her home base of NYC, multi-faceted powerhouse vocalist, musical Renaissance woman and recent inductee into the New York State Blues Hall of Fame Lex Grey– offers up an interesting question via the title of their latest album and one of the ear and soul-piercing album’s most sensual, slow burning tracks: “How Many Roads will we go down?”
While building her rep as a master rock and blues artist as lead singer of Lex Grey and the Urban Pioneers – which she founded with renowned recording engineer and musician Vic “Mix” Deyglio – Grey has been everything from a TV/film production designer, prop builder for “The Pee Wee Herman” show, B movie queen, bartender, telephone psychic, international stage actress and animal rescue assistant. On How Many Roads?, the band’s eight album since 2005, she once again pours every ounce of searing emotion derived from that fascinating topsy turvy existence into each track, leaving no heart wrenching, world-wise stone unturned as she fulfills the album cover’s three-pronged declaration, reminding us the multi-faceted, 11 track album was Made with Love and Exploding with Flavor and urging us to Enjoy Before Doomsday.
If doomsday comes, Lord, let it be after we experience Grey and the Pioneers' latest inferno of soul seduction and crackling edges. She showcases the wild range of her Janis Joplin-Amy Winehouse-esque voice from the get go, starting the sly “In It Together” with a chill flow before a slightly more tortured outburst and then a return to the cool.
While the universally inspiring, simmering horn-drenched mid-tempo “I Believe In You” and the plucky acoustic blues of “Biker Down” go down easiest – and we can certainly all relate to the dark melancholic feeling of being abandoned by a protecting “Angel” – the collection’s true freewheeling power lies in tunes like the raucous, funky strutting blues of “Ain’t From Mississippi,” the horn-drenched New Orleans vibin’ lament “Old Crooked Broom” and the frustration filled mid-tempo blues rocker “You Confine Me.” The most cathartic, redemptive, and dare we say uplifting, moment comes from the infectious chorus of “After a Lifetime,” when Grey, after years of searching for something real deal, exults “Hallelujah, Surrender, Arms up to the Sky.”