Denim Road
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Denim Road

Cincinnati, Ohio, United States | SELF

Cincinnati, Ohio, United States | SELF
Band Rock Pop


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Denim Road on YouTube"

Here is a teaser video of Denim Road playing a cover of "You Can Leave Your Hat On" produced by Landman Productions. We hope to have more video of original tunes very soon! -

"Denim Road"

If you’re looking for a great mix of classic rock, R&B and classic Motown sounds, all wrapped up into something familiar yet refreshing, then follow Denim Road into their home town of Cincinnati, Ohio. A six-piece band with more musical experience than you can shake a stick at; Denim Road melds new sounds out of old, classic ones and captivates audiences along the way. Whether it’s playing covers or original material, Denim Road finds a little bit of magic every time they pick up their instruments. The band formerly known as Soul’d Out has been around for eight years. Guitarist/chief songwriter Jim Zuzow and vocalist George Harp have been the core of the band since its inception and they have surrounded themselves with some seriously talented folks. George Harp was the vocalist for the second incarnation of Starcastle in the early-to-mid 1980’s. Percussionist Craig Ballard has more than four decades under his belt in the music business, getting his start with Cincy favorites Cincinnati Joe & Mad Lydia. Kevin Ross (drums) has done time with I.C. Hot and Warsaw Falcons. Rounding out the band are Gary Grawe (keys/vox); Robbie Lewis (bass/vox) and the inestimable Jim Zuzow on guitar. In 2008, the band finally released their debut CD, Denim Road.

Denim Road are strongly influenced by the Motown sound, from soulful vocals to quasi-STAX style horn arrangements, there’s no doubt to what era and sound Denim Road pay homage. Sweet Soul Revival kicks things off with a Morris Day moment, and then an interesting thing happens. While the style and lead vocals are strongly influenced by Motown, Denim Road’s vocal mix comes across sounding like classic Journey. Listen to the harmony vocals on songs like Ready To Fall, Blue Highway and Follow Your Dream, and then go listen to Journey’s Wheel In The Sky. It’s a bit uncanny how much they sound alike. Probably my favorite song on the CD is the title track, Denim Road. This is classic 1970’s funk/soul at its best. Perfect Heart is also a pleasurable listen, with Latin Jazz guitar styling in an intensely melodic musical setting. Other highlights include Talk To Me and Burbank’s Blues.

Denim Road are a classic cover/party band who have transitioned to writing and performing their own music. Vestiges of the party band live on in their sound, and at times the listener isn’t sure whether the unusual hybrid of styles/sounds is simply Denim Road’s musical identity or left over vestiges of cover songs past. What is clear is that Denim Road has a very unique sound that shows real signs of having melded into something entirely its own. Denim Road is definitely worth a listen. -

"The Road Goes On Forever"

A good band reflects its collective influences, a great band transcends them. Denim Road folds its members’ long musical histories into a hybridized synthesis of sounds they love and sounds they’ve already made. As a result, the sextet’s eponymous debut exudes a soulful Pop vibe that is comfortably, classically familiar, like an album you’ve heard a hundred times the first time through.

“If you’ve got half an hour, I can tell you why that is,” says keyboardist Gary Grawe over beers on the Back Porch Saloon patio.

Technical explanations aside, Denim Road lays down a groove with their original material that stands shoulder to shoulder with the bands they cover — the Doobie Brothers, Steely Dan, Joe Cocker and Hall and Oates, among others. The long résumés of DR’s journeymen members highlight their incredible diversity: Lead vocalist George Harp fronted Prog/Pop outfit Starcastle for seven years and guitarist Jim Zuzow and bassist Robbie Lewis have played for uncountable area Rock, Blues and show bands. Percussionist Craig Ballard has been in the local scene for four decades, notably with Ray Peterson and Mad Lydia & Cincinnati Joe, while drummer Kevin Ross kept the beat for I.C. Hot, the original Warsaw Falcons and Top 40 band Heroes. New keyboardist Grawe has been a band member and solo artist for around 40 years.

“None of us have ever really had a conflict in the band,” Zuzow says. “George and I have been together 11 years, Robbie’s been here eight. We’re like family.”

“We go to graduations, Christmas parties, birthday parties, whatever,” Lewis says. “We’re that tight.”

Zuzow and Harp co-founded Soul’d Out in the late ’90s, and as gigs accrued and the lineup evolved (Lewis signed on eight years ago, Ballard followed within months, Ross joined in 2007 and Grawe last summer), Zuzow felt confident taking their originals into the studio. As the process began, a quick Web check revealed dozens of bands that claimed the name Soul’d Out. To avoid legalities, they rechristened themselves.

“We have a song called ‘Denim Road’ and our producer (Larry Goshorn) said, ‘What about the name Denim Road?’ ” Zuzow says. “We kicked it around and couldn’t come up with anything better so we stuck with Denim Road.”

The band started recording more than two years ago, scrapping half an album’s worth of material and starting over with the addition of Ross, who Harp calls “our human metronome.”

“You have to wrap it up to experience,” Harp says. “We spent a lot of money and time, but you learn from the bumps as well as the glides.”

“If you don’t have a foundation to build on — and I’m talking about a drummer — you’re dead in the water,” Zuzow says. “Kevin came in and laid down four songs in two hours and we knew we could move forward at a higher level.”

The band’s song “Law of Attraction” became the yard stick to judge drummers by, and Ross sailed through the gauntlet.

“There were no tapes and they said to me, ‘We’ve got this song, it goes like this, play like Terry Bozzio,’ and I said, ‘I can’t play like Terry Bozzio,’ ” recalls Ross. “But they were like, ‘It’s got this verse and bridge and these changes, just go crazy.’ It was a cool song.”

Denim Road is clearly a band that succeeds on its members’ chemistry. As each piece of the band’s puzzle has fallen into place, their sonic picture has become more focused. With Grawe’s arrival — his work doesn’t appear on the CD but can be heard on new tracks posted at — the last important component is in place.

“We looked for 10 years for the right keyboardist,” Zuzow says. “Somebody that fit the band and had an understanding. Gary really filled that perfectly.”

“As you get older, you look for that one thing that’s going to keep you interested and prolong your musical ambition,” Grawe says. “When you start in 1964, you either keep the fire burning or the fire burns out. Jim’s music, no pun intended, really struck a chord with me because I just really like it. And everything gets better and better. Jim allows everybody in the band to have input into his music, which is, to me personally, a wonderful blessing.”

Zuzow is Denim Road’s primary songwriter and he’s assembled the perfect group to shape and present his material.

“He’s a songwriting machine,” Lewis says with a laugh. And giving props to Ballard, the lone member absent for the interview, Lewis notes, “He’s the wild card. We’ve tried to play without him when he’s out of town and it’s not the same.”

With disparate backgrounds and experiences, Denim Road converges to interpret, flavor and enhance Zuzow’s music, whether in studio or on stage. It’s obviously a joyful process. Food metaphors creep into the musical discussion; Harp describes Ballard as “a Cajun spice” and Zuzow picks up the thread.

“A band is like stew,” he says. “Whatever you have in the refrigerator, you put in there and whatever the ingredients are, it comes out to be what it is. Personally, I feel like we have ingredients that work. Everybody has different influences but we’re all headed in the same direction. I’ve been playing in bands since I was 14, and just to have six people like this at the same time creating at a high level is almost its own reward.” - City Beat Magazine


Self titled CD "Denim Road" and our 2nd CD "Back To Mexico" are available at CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon and wherever fine music is sold.

Denim Road has been a featured artist at (88.9 FM in Cincinnati)

You can listen to full length Denim Road tracks at:



Denim Road was formed by Jim Zuzow and George Harp, nearly eight years ago. Always looking to build the best balance of talent and creativity, the band made several personnel changes until the current lineup eventually came to be. George's experience with progressive rock icon Starcastle is evident during his performances, though Denim Road's music could not be farther from that of George's earlier touring band. Craig Ballard, has played percussion for more than forty years, having cut his teeth in Cincinnati band Mad Lydia & Cincinnati Joe. (Craig once spent the night as Miles Davis' houseguest.) Rock solid bassist Robbie Lewis' obsession to play is evident. Robbie performs with several other projects, including jazz, fusion, and gospel groups. Kevin Ross' previous bands include many Top-40, classic rock, R&B and original outfits. He played in funky rock powerhouse I.C.Hot and was the original drummer in the award winning Warsaw Falcons. The newest addition to the band, keyboardist Gary Grawe, has also played for many decades, both on the road and locally. Gary has also performed as a solo artist, which is where he honed his skills to cover multiple parts simultaneously.

Guitarist Jim Zuzow's songs are melodic and harmonically captivating. George Harp's soaring and sensitive vocal interpretations bring the songs to life. The solid, tasteful drumming of Kevin Ross is complimented by percussionist Craig Ballard's energetic, creative, and playful interaction. Bassist Robbie Lewis provides the bottom end sound and soul that anchors the rhythm section and still drives the band. Keyboardist Gary Grawe's solid musicianship is the glue that pulls the tunes together.

Denim Road is music without boundaries. Denim Road is music that is exciting, catchy, soulful, and sincere. Denim Road is fun, upbeat, head bobbing music, rooted in the classic sounds of Memphis, Detroit, New Orleans, Chicago, Philly, New York's 52nd Street and London during the genesis of what is now called "Classic" rock.

The musicians in Denim Road have a rapport that allows each player's individual influences and ideas to elevate the music while still remaining soulful and grounded. Denim Road is adventurous, fun, exciting, tasteful, and heartfelt.