Blue Rocking Chair, the lead cut to Grasstowne's Kickin' Up Dust, sets straight into perfectly delineated bluegrass lament in banjo-driven strains surmounted by a Tennessee lead vocal offset by hound dog backing vox. Hoo-ee, you knows you've arrived in the right parish right off the bat, y'all! The scene set, the mood established, we're immediately shuffled into hoedownery in the instrumental Up in the Wheelhouse (and elsewhere: Grass Stain for instance) but, hey guys!, ya didn't credit who played what, ya self-effacing nippers!, so I'm relying on the endorsements and notes to each song for attributions. In that, we know we have Alan Bibey on mando, Steve Gulley on guitar, and Adam Haynes on fiddle. There is, however, a banjo somewhere in there as well as bass.
My favorite cut is also one of the band's all-time faves: the title track, a high spirited religious song that rather irreverently mentions Nostradamus and is an ode to individualism and acting on one's intuition. Wesley Golding wrote it, a bandmate of yore of Bibey's, and it's a rather masterful blend of the sacred and the secular that grabs one by the ankles and sets feet to dancing, trotting off for the horizon, a smile on the face, a bit of rebellion in the heart. More than a couple cuts are religious, a commonplace in 'grass, and they fit the mold well. This virtue appears to provide the mindset and disciple sparking such a tight unit pouring themselves so happily into their callings. Our Father, a barbershop a cappella on the Lord's Prayer, is a righteous variation and worthy of Take 6 or any other top flight ensemble, jazzy in its inflections and melodic as hell, thank heaven. Thus, no matter what you came to the table for—plain-out bluegrass, Jesus songs, 8-cylinder playing, or just a dang good time, you'll come away with an after-feast smile, the bliss of surfeit, and a sigh as you settle in for pleasant dreams on the porchside couch as stars twinkle above and a lonely train whistle sings one and all to the North 40 in the Great Beyond.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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