Tuesday, March 27, 2012

"Life Finds A Way" - The Grascals - A Review

Well, The Grascals just inked with their new label "Mountain Home", and they waste no time releasing a new CD. They had been with Rounder Records for a number of recordings, even had their own imprint, "BluGrascal Records" for a couple of CDs. This new CD has a bit of a different flavor to it, with a more country sound to their mix than usual, They still have their Bluegrass roots to the sound, maybe it is just the recording style, more of a modern, contemporary sound, following a real Bluegrass sounding CD in their Andy Griffith Tribute EP.

   The Grascals still are Jamie Johnson, guitar and vocals, Danny Roberts, mandolin, Kristin Scott Benson, Banjo and guitar, Terry Smith ,vocals and bass, Terry Eldredge, vocals and guitar, and last,but not least, Jeremy Abshire on fiddle.
Their vocals and harmony's are excellent and moving. They have a real good selection of songs, a couple of covers and some real good new original songs and a few songs by friends. Some interesting artwork on the cardboard sleeve. The sleeve has several folds in it for pics and testimonies. Nice liner notes by Tom T Hall and his wife Dixie. It makes for some interesting reading.

   My favorite song on the CD is a cover by James Taylor, "Sweet Baby James", When Terry Eldredge goes into that with the beautiful pedal steel in the song, it really hits me emotionally and takes me back to when I was just getting out of High School, had always loved that song, The Grascals do a real emotive job on it and I really like Jamie's and Terry's  vocals. They do a nice upbeat Bluegrass jam called "Eleven,Eleven" which is a very good instrumental take. I really like their other cover song too, "Mystery Train" had always been a song that I had liked through the years. Nice mandolin on the song.

   Jamie does another original ballad that I love, "Pretty Melody", A very melodic song about a couple of school kids that ended up being life mates. Kristin's banjo is more restrained than usual on this CD, but she does some really sweet melodic parts here. The title song "Life Finds A Way" is another Grascals song that is a very melodic mid tempo ballad. The lyrics are great. The last song on the thirteen track disc is a beautiful gospel number called "Road To Surrender". This CD seems to be a real reflective type of musical creation. There are a couple of drinking songs that seem a bit out of place, but maybe, they are trying to break the serious vein of a lot of the songs. The instruments seem to be more in the background than usual, and the tones are not real crisp, but more on the mellow side. I would have loved to hear the award winning Kristin tear up a banjo break on a song or two.

    Grascal fans will love this, I enjoyed it alot, maybe it will bring some new fans. I love this mix of musicians and hope they stay together. Check it out.


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