Really, all I need do is say this down home quintet is yet another great ensemble on the can-do-no-wrong PineCastle label and, well, my job's done. What higher recommendation is there? Man, sometimes this critic gig is easy as hell!
This bluegrass ensemble's very first CD, The Road Headin' Home, yielded a #1 single, Dixie Flyer, that stayed in position for three months. It also snagged Album Of The Year, Mandolin Player Of The Year, and Dobro Player Of The Year awards. From that, you'd expect miracles on their second offering, and you'd be 100% justified and rewarded in that. This is great stuff. Prior to the CD's release, Other Side's first single, Big Big Heartache, was extracted, released, and began rising in the charts for a full three months.
On the disc, the gents hauled in Stuart Duncan to flay a fiddle almost everywhere, and, in cuts like Heartbreak Express, he adds reams of pages to Grasstowne's already spunky and pitch-perfect jamming. The interplay between him and the rest of the band makes the pulse jump and the feet start kicking up dust. Most of the cuts were written by members of the band or in conjunction with other composers, and the quality is top-notch. The singing plays various registers against one another, yielding classically sweet refrains and, as said, these boys know how to get down and boogie.
God Bless Mommy is a heart-tugging Dan Fogelberg-ish cut blending the group's religious leanings with everyday life and broad sympathies. Other tracks are even more blatantly preachifying (Lifting up the Cross, Salvation of the Lord, etc.) while a few are quite clever even just in the titling (Tobaccoville Road, Laura Lie, and so on). All, however, are of a cloth: impeccable and hypnotizing, brilliantly played, carefully thought out, and executed with diamond precision. Now, if these boys and the rest of the PineCastle roster just happen to drive a new influence among the rockers, producing the next wave of Pocos and Pure Prairie Leagues, well, hoo-ha!, we'll have a cavalcade of very bright days ahead of us indeed.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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