Writing a review for the début self-titled release from Captain Ivory could not have been easier. This collection of nine songs is phenomenal from start to finish. Imagine a foundation of Led Zepplin’s Physical Graffiti, accented with Govt Mule’s Deepest End and The Raconteurs’ Consolers of the Lonely and you have the house that Captain Ivory is building.

Captain Ivory hails from Ypsilanti, Michigan.  The band members are Jayson Traver (vocals, guitar), Robbie Bolog (lead guitar), Steve Zwilling (Piano/Organ), Alex Patten (Bass), and Justin Leiter (drums).  The band formed in 2012 and quickly started cutting their teeth with various gigs in the Midwest.  They headed into Tempermill Studios in 2014 with Dave Feeny to record their début, which is out now on Gangplank Records.

Baroness starts things off with a laid back and syncopated groove that ramps up into a thumping progression that would have the Pete Townshend windmill in full force.  You’ll get your first taste of the filthy rich grit of Jayson Traver’s vocals.  I was reminded of Ian Thornley from Big Wreck.

You’ll want to jump and grind when you hear Bottle & A Penitentiary.  The rolling drums, popping bass, and keyboard harmony allows the guitars and vocals to run wild.  This is a fun song that reeks of spilt whiskey and bar room sweat.

I could hear a call to the whipping post in False Remedy.  It could be the desperation induced by the chord progression setting the stage for the moody vocals.  There is also the dual lead guitar section that just bleeds in your ears.

Quiet Casualties takes you on a psychedelic road trip where you can smell the sagebrush burning in the desert as the miles fly by.  Top down and ripping a whole in the universe, the bass guitar of Alex Patten and drums of Justin Lieter throb while the organ work of Steve Zwilling set the stage for ensuing madness.

Here You Are lets the rain pouring all around as you realize what you’ve loved is lost.  The torment in the vocals is palpable throughout.  I may be biased being a guitar player, but the solo by Robbie Bolog wails in sweet agony.  Can you smell a bit of Ten Years Gone?


My favorite tune on this release (and I love them all, so this is saying something) is Tennessee Approximately.  There is a down home mountain soul of the Allman Brothers shining through on this one.  You’ll want to sing along, shout, dance, and dig on the sweet acoustic guitar phrases and tangy slide guitar.

I was reminded of the running the roads on a long haul with Truth When You Lie.  The understated, yet driving rhythm and keyboard phrasing sets you rolling and then the chorus crashes like a wave.  The echoing chorus with keys and acoustic guitar adds a nice touch to a well-crafted song.

I thought of the White Stripes when I heard Curse or Cure.  The kick drum and piano setting you up for the slap of the guitars pounding out the bridge.  This song picks up the pace with a hungry groove accentuated by the dusty vocals.  Another fantastic guitar solo lies in wait.

Captain Ivory takes us down South for some finger lickin’ good slide guitar and smoking vocals with Six Minutes to Midnight.  There is a ton of hip shaking swagger in the rhythms that will have you clapping your hands and stomping your feet.  This one is a real barn burner to close things out.

I struggle to find words to demonstrate how impressed I am with Captain Ivory.  They sound like they have jammed together for years, yet they’ve only just begun.  I’m looking forward to seeing what else this band has in store.  In the meantime, go see these guys live and support a great band by picking up their CD!

Captain Ivory début album available from Amazon:

Captain Ivory

Captain Ivory online:


About The Author

Chuck is a native Michigander. He grew up in Detroit, and later Pinckney. He now calls Ann Arbor home. Running is in Chuck’s blood. He has run several marathons and numerous other races. His favorite race is Dances with Dirt in Hell, Michigan. Chuck was first exposed to photography in 7th grade. He has been a photographer ever since, honing his skills shooting landscapes and most recently concerts. In addition to experiencing music from behind the camera, Chuck is a musician in his own right. He has been playing guitar since his teen years. He played in Detroit area metal band, Battalion, recorded two independent releases, and toured. Today when not covering concerts, you can find him online at his blog, Life In Michigan.