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A Good Life

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iTunes Review

Bruce Springsteen has always worked as an artist. Joe Grushecky, who once led Pittsburgh’s Iron City Houserockers, has spent much of the last twenty years as a special education teacher. They’ve worked together and are a natural fit. Both are obsessed with understanding the lives of working people and both sing with sandpaper growls. Springsteen guests on three cuts here, battling for the mike on the thrilling opener “Code of Silence” and settling further in the background for “Is She the One” and the title track, where Grushecky lays it out: “Just because they sign my check/ that don’t mean they own my soul.” The album is filled with these simple, sturdy observations, backed with the same utilitarian rock that Grushecky’s always favored: tough lead guitars, a driving rhythm section and no time for frills. But his best moments may be his most reflective. The ballad “Beauty Fades” allows him to soften his rasp and plays out like a classic soul ballad telling a working class tale with a minimum of fuss. Grushecky gets older, he matures, but he never grows up.

Customer Reviews

Grushecky's 'Good Life' Resonates

Like so many reviews of Joe Grushecky’s music, this one starts with a nod to his original band, The Iron City Houserockers. But that’s only to point out it is time to acknowledge that Grushecky’s body of work transcends his initial claim to almost-fame. A Good Life is yet another collection of songs from Grushecky that keeps rock fresh and fun for those of us who love the music but have graduated from carefree days to the trying times of adulthood. It’s hard not to find yourself in most of Grushecky’s lyrics, especially Code of Silence, Father and Son, Beauty Fades, and the title track, A Good Life. The words resonate because we’ve lived them over the past few years. There is also a certain measure of comfort in hearing lyrics that are relevant today wrapped in music that is so familiar. By sticking with his straightforward brand of rock, Grushecky makes sure we never forget where we’re coming from – a simpler time when music carried messages that spoke to you. That’s what makes A Good Life worth listening to. You’re sure to hear something that catches your ear and makes you think, “Yeah, been there myself.” And that’s the triumph of Joe Grushecky. While most everyone points to his past, Grushecky stays busy making music that is meaningful now. A Good Life indeed. -- John Sutton

Safe at Home*

To live inside a melody for 9 minutes can be hard sometimes....but with "Safe At Home" I hated to hear it end. The tangled guitar solo will drag you under...... Where would we all have been without those Friday nights at the Decade..... We can still close our eyes and listen to Joe pull us through a maze of emotions.....*

A Burgh legend does it again

I'm not the type to complete on-line reviews, in fact, this is the first one I've ever written but I was so moved by "A Good Life" that I felt compelled to write this. Grushecky is a Pittsburgh legend, I spent many a Saturday night watching the House Rockers perform at the Decade when I was a Pitt student in the late 70's and early 80's. I don't know if the timing of moving my son into college exactly 1 day before I downloaded this album made me especially reminiscent, but "Beauty Fades" hit me especially hard. This soulful ballad, while unlike a typical Grushecky song, is especially powerful to those of us at that age when kids are leaving home and we are reminded of the passing of time. Don't think that Grushecky has lost touch with his rock and roll roots though, "Code of Silence" and the title track are typical strong rock songs that Grushecky has played for years. A great album Joe, keep up the excellent work!


Born: Pittsburgh, PA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Much like Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band or Southside Johnny & the Asbury Dukes, Joe Grushecky & the Houserockers have been making American blue-collar bar rock that draws on classic R&B from the 1970s on. Unlike his New Jersey counterparts, however, Grushecky calls the Iron City of Pittsburgh home. He has also never received the accolades or attention of his New Jersey counterparts. The group, which first emerged as the Iron City Houserockers, released their debut, Love's So Tough, on MCA...
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