Many contemporary bluegrass bands choose to weave multiple genres into their brand of music. For some, this tends to be a modern country sound, whole others prefer a more old time feel. Raleigh, NC-based Kickin Grass Band has taken the latter route with their latest album, Walk With Me. Featuring multiple originals and a distinctive sound, this album offers an interesting and enjoyable listening experience.
The Kickin Grass Band slips easily from melancholy, lonesome songs to peaceful melodies to upbeat tunes ready for dancing. Ghosts in My Head is a haunting song featuring the lead vocals of bass player Patrick Walsh. Walsh puts the perfect amount of weariness into his words, matching the lyrics’ lament of not being able to “tell my mind from the ghosts in my head.” Walsh also sings lead on another dark song, King’s Highway, which speaks of someone who killed a man “just because.” Fiddle player Pattie Hopkins takes the lead for two bluesy sounding songs, the Gospel-influenced title track, which features a stripped-down arrangement, and That’s What I Like About the South, which is bouncy, with somewhat of a western swing feel. Another fun, upbeat track is the original composition Gum Stump Squirrel, written by guitarist Lynda Wittig Dawson, with prominent old time fiddle and mandolin.
The band also puts their own spin on a couple traditional bluegrass songs: the Delmore Brothers’ Blue Railroad Train and Bill Monroe’s Roanoke. Blue Railroad Train is folk-influenced and cheerful, while Roanoke features red-hot picking and fiddling. Another cover song, Patty Griffin’s Long Ride Home, is one of the album’s standout cuts. The group stays true to Griffin’s version of the song (which listeners may have heard on the popular, Americana-influenced soundtrack to the film Elizabethtown), sounding both wistful and reflective.
The Kickin Grass Band recently received the Carolina Music Award for Best Bluegrass and Americana, and this album helps demonstrate why. With great instrumentation from band members Lynda Dawson (guitar and clawhammer banjo), Jamie Dawson (mandolin), Pattie Hopkins (fiddle), Hank Smith (banjo and guitar), and Patrick Walsh (bass), intriguing original songs, and a sound that incorporates elements of both modern and old time music, the Kickin Grass Band is sure to make an impression with Walk With Me.
For more information on the Kickin Grass Band, visit their website at kickingrass.com.
Their music can be purchased from iTunes, Amazon, CDBaby, and various other music outlets.
About the Author (Author Profile)
John Goad is a graduate of the East Tennessee State University Bluegrass, Old Time & Country Music program, and is now pursuing a Masters degree in Appalachian Studies at ETSU.
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