David Grier

Rounder CD 0417

Rounder Records Corp.
One Camp Street
Cambridge, Mass. 02140

A review written for Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange by
Jim Zimmerschied


A panorama is an unobstructed view of a region in all directions. Perhaps the album bears this title because it presents the listener to a wide variety of tunes showing David Grier's guitar mastery in several musical motifs. Six of the ten tunes on this CD were written by Grier and cover a lot of ground musically. Since he has his roots in bluegrass music, it is not surprising to find a touch of bluegrass in a number of the tunes. But blues, jazz, and pop are also represented.

David is accompanied by a fine group of musicians on this album, "backup" musicians is probably not correct in this context. Each arrangement brings out the talents of each of the musicians on the CD. There is Stuart Duncan on fiddle, Sam Bush and Mike Compton on mandolin, Bob Carlin and Craig Smith on banjo, and Todd Phillips on acoustic base. Together with Grier on lead guitar, they stir an interesting brew. Ten tunes would usually be considered skimpy for a CD album, however, some of the numbers such as King Wilkies Run are long (seven minutes), so you get your money's worth.

Impulsive is a bluegrass-flavored tune with some nice banjo work by Craig Smith, as well as Grier's impressive guitar work.

Jeff Davis is a Norman Blake tune with a simple melody line tastefully repeated, featuring a different instrument (fiddle, guitar, banjo) on lead.

King Wilkies Run is jazz-like and Grier manages to get an unamplified acoustic guitar sound like an electric.

The Skeleton has a mix of blues and Scott Joplin with a long acoustic bass solo.

Forked Deer is a traditional fiddle tune with a lot of hot flatpicking and some nice banjo work thrown in for spice.

Tickleberry Hill is a slow number with a mix somewhere between pop and bluegrass.

Apples and Oranges starts with a pop feel then slides over to blues then squeezes a little rock (no drums) into the pot. Who says don't mix apples up with oranges?

Chinquapin Hunting has an old-timey sound with some nice frailed banjo and mandolin leads, along with tasteful yet complex guitar work. Chinquapin is an edible dwarf chestnut.

Peartree/Doublefile are a complementary medley of traditional fiddle tunes with the fiddle, guitar, mandolin and banjo interplaying the leads.

Dead End is jazzgrass tune with a lot of bass and guitar exchange. At times Grier's guitar explodes with notes. The fiddle and mandolin are also featured in solos embedded in the piece.

That's the menu. I hope that it perks your appetite for some enjoyable acoustic music featuring one of the current best and most versatile guitarists that you will find anywhere.

Edited by David Schultz

Copyright 1998, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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