Those who love Elliott Smith or enjoyed The Belle Bridage will love Ethan Gruska. Singer/songwriter Gruska is from Los Angeles, and is currently touring the east coast after the release of his second solo album. After the dissolution of the band he started in 2011 with his sister, Gruska found himself and his sound in “Slowmotionary,” an inventive introspection of his childhood, family and love.
With his smooth tenor and a vintage jazz-folksy tone, Gruska uses music to delve into difficult themes. Gruska asks beautifully meaningful questions about letting go and moving on from your first love and coming to terms with the past after admitting to mistakes. In the first track of his new album, released in March of this year, Gruska confronts what defines each of us through his high tenor, paired elegantly with jazzy refrains. His voice is carefully blended with lighthearted guitar and deeply emotional lyrics. “The Valley” is a melodious reflection of Gruska’s childhood that poetically asks just how much we let our childhood and other experiences define us:
“If it’s heartbreak that defines me / Can it ever be behind me?” The track progression mirrors growing up, the messages of each song changing and maturing as the listener moves through the album.
Although Gruska has a definitive vintage aesthetic, his modern twist adds a new and addictive depth to the genre. His use of minimalism puts emphasis on his lyrics, and adds emotional depth to the album as a whole. Though Gruska’s sound has become simpler, his poetic lyrics and the depth of his songs are the connection to his previous album.
On Sept. 15, Gruska recently played at The State Room with Asgeir, but unfortunately the closest he will get to Salt Lake City on his current tour, will be Ohio at the beginning of November. Be sure to check out “Slowmotionary” on Spotify or Soundcloud, or purchase it for yourself at www.ethangruska.com/music.