Alex Larson, the charismatic frontman, guitarist and driving creative force behind Twin Cities based rockers Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders, asks a simple question of his rapidly expanding fan base in the first breath of the hard rumbling jam "When The Sun Goes Down"-the opening track of their latest fulllength album. Starting with the album title, he sings, "What You Gonna Do when the well runs dry?" Tongue firmly in cheek, Larson calls this "our apocalyptic song," but it's really about the way a person's mettle is tested under tough circumstances, like the difficult economy of the past few years. A true 21st century twist on American roots music, the high-energy 12 track set answers that question-and offers a little fun and relief-with an eclectic sound steeped in blues, country, swing and rock and roll, with a little surf guitar on the edges. Expanding on the foundation laid by the band's previous release Junkyard Rhythm, What You Gonna Do? is driven by Larson's self proclaimed "pork neck" style, a dynamic mix of blues and grit that Dig In Magazine says "could not have been imagined prior to the early punk scene." They bring that retro-meetscontemporary energy to tunes like the stark and lonesome, then crisp and snappy "Waiting For Me," which was inspired by Larson's long nights playing gigs, looking forward to getting home to his wife- who falls asleep before he arrives. As its title promises, "Boomtown" is a booming, super-percussive tune about the challenges and struggles in life, epitomized by having to migrate to another place to find success (inspired by his dad, a 49er who went to North Dakota to get a job as a heavy equipment operator). Crankshaft digs into a darker chapter of American history on the straightforward electric blues "Trail of Tears." The second verse of "When The Sun Goes Down" asks an equally valid question: "What you gonna do when the wheels don't turn, will you learn?" Larson did big time, using a downturn in his work as a residential remodeling contractor to take a massive leap of faith and devote himself to his music. He had played music on and off over the years, forming the surf punk band The Mojo Spleens with his brother in high school and later fronting the three piece acoustic band The Mill City Mongrels. In 2008, he fashioned himself as Crankshaft, which he calls "the first project that I started on my own, based on music that I loved and latched onto as a teenage guitar player: roots, rock and roll, and blues." He started busking in his hometown outside of Minneapolis at the Anoka Car show, selling his rough 20 minute EP Suckin' Gas and Haulin' Ass. He began playing actual venues and writing more music, eventually adding the Gear Grinders as his backup band. Developing a kick-ass live show, playing all over the Twin Cities area at numerous roadhouses and popular music venues like First Avenue, Turf Club, Lee's Liquor Lounge-and later touring throughout the East Coast, Midwest and the South, playing everywhere from St. Louis to Richmond. Centered on Larson's vocals and guitar, an upright bass, and drums, Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders have opened shows for Bret Michaels, Soul Asylum, former Santana lead singer Alex Ligertwood, bluesman Charlie Musselwhite and many other renowned performers. In 2012, their song "327" was featured on NPR's "Car Talk" and they won several high-profile contests, including ArtistSignal's voting contest for unsigned bands, The Road To Memphis Challenge (hosted by the Minnesota Blues Society), and Famous Dave's Battle of the Blues Bands. Knowing that the proper recording environment would be paramount to the sound of What You Gonna Do?-and having zero interest in working in a sterile studio environment-- Larson put the word out to find a more rustic location with great acoustics. He found a 1914 barn in St. Francis, Minnesota. Larson says, "We built a stairway up to the hay loft door, a truckload of loose construction lumber was removed from the space, 40 years of pigeon droppings were scraped off the floor, I wired the room for power, a few of the rotten floor boards were repaired, and a 1970s organ was lifted into the loft with the barn owner's skid loader. The rhythm guitar, bass, and drums were tracked live while room microphones captured the band in true stereo. This technique was used throughout the album, and is prominent in ‘Boomtown,' ‘Trail of Tears,' and ‘Earthquake Shake.' I couldn't be happier with the way the album turned out."