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Listening Party Launches Self-Titled Gravel & Grace Album
grace & gravel
Members of Gravel & Grace listen to the music on their self-titled album at a recent listening party in Modesto. Shown, from left, Big Earl Matthews, Ava Grace Merchant, Will Melendez, Ray Vazira, Josh Broom, and Ricky Galvan. Missing from photo is band member Issac Lewis. Photo Contributed

Gravel & Grace is a seven piece rhythm ‘n’ blues band out of Oakdale and Modesto, featuring 17-year-old Oakdale High School student Ava Grace Merchant on lead vocals alongside 20-year blues veteran out of Modesto, “Big Earl” Matthews. The band also includes Josh Broom on bass, Will Melendez on saxophone, Issac Lewis on guitar, Ricky Galvan on guitar, and Ray Vazira on drums.

Ava Grace has been playing professionally at restaurants, cafes, and parties for a few years now. Originally, it was small shows by herself but when Matthews saw her in a Modesto coffee shop, everything changed and Gravel & Grace was formed. The band has been together for just over a year and has gained a loyal following through touring with their music.

Gravel & Grace recently hosted a small listening party at ModSpot in Modesto, for their brand new self-titled album that debuted on Friday, June 19. The gathering featured the playing of the album, start to finish, and then was opened up to questions for the band to answer about their musical lives, both individually and as a band.

The album has 10 songs and was produced by John Clifton at Wolf Studios in Fresno. The album is being promoted by Frank Roszack Productions in Los Angeles and distributed by Select-O-Hits in Memphis, TN, owned by Johnny Phillips. Songs on the album include some written by Ava Grace, some by Earl Matthews and Ray Vazira, and one by Josh Broom, among others.

The album can be purchased online simply by searching “Gravel & Grace.” It can also be bought at live shows, which are announced via Facebook and Instagram at Ava Grace music. Each song is available for streaming on Spotify, Apple Music iTunes, Amazon Music, and YouTube.

Currently, the band’s music is being played on syndicated radio stations not only across the United States, but in the UK, France, Italy, Australia, Serbia, and more.