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Jukebox Zeroes: “In Gratia” Review

Jukebox Zeroes
(283 Photography)

The Jukebox Zeroes held their first-ever CD Release Party in downtown Sioux Falls last night at the Orpheum Theatre. The 11-year old Sioux Falls band has just released their debut disc titled “In Gratia”, which lead singer/keyboard player Amy Ellsworth says means ‘in gratitude to the man upstairs’. Personally, I’m in gratitude to these five talented musicians for releasing a double CD of music that so perfectly represents their personalities individually and as the Jukebox Zeroes.

The band used last night’s show to play all 26 songs from the CD +1. Yes, I said 26 songs! 21 originals and since they had never intended to write and perform original music when the band formed, each member picked their favorite cover song that the band has become known for. I especially liked the “Storytellers” spin they put on the evening, with occasional “here’s a quick back story on the song”.

From Amy’s “Sad January” written about a particularly bad stretch at her job, to drummer Jeff Koller writing a song called “Christian” following the suicide of his nephew, to the Jason Ellsworth and Amy Ellsworth penned “Pink Jesus” written after a suggestion from guitarist Eldon Fisher following a church service they were all in attendance at, to guitarist Geoff Gunderson recalling a 12-year old self in “Drinking Daddy’s Whiskey”, to Fisher’s song of a very dark period in his life called “Betrayal”, the story’s added depth to the rocking songs that make up the new release.

If you’ve ever been to a Jukebox Zeroes show (and I’ve been to literally a couple dozen in the past decade) then you know what to expect: a fun, rocking tribute to the music that inspired them to form the band. As I mentioned, all the members included one cover on “In Gratia” as a true showing of what originally inspired the band. Eldon Fisher chose Whitesnake’s “Crying In The Rain”, bass-player Jason Ellsworth chose April Wine’s “Roller”; Geoff Gunderson has Triumph’s “Fight The Good Fight”, Drummer Jeff Koller chose “Hocus Pocus” by Focus (who knew he could yodel!?!?), and not-surprisingly, Amy Ellsworth chose one of her biggest inspirations: Heart’s “Barracuda”.

The show last night was really a celebration of a LOT of hard work by some of Sioux Falls most talented musicians, and that in itself is saying a lot because we are fortunate to live in a city that has SO many talented musicians. I’ll admit, I did hear quite a few people (especially those in the balcony) that felt the sound was cranked up a bit too loud, I have never heard the band sound so good. Every note sung, every shredding guitar lick, every cymbal hit, seemed spot on to me. I had a ball and am happy to say that “In Gratia” is the CD that I heard in my head for years for the Zeroes. Do yourself a favor, catch a show soon and pick up your copy of “In Gratia”.



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