Each year at the summer RockyGrass festival, the folks at Planet Bluegrass put together a number of special stage performances not available elsewhere as an added incentive to join them in Lyons, CO for three days of bluegrass and new grass music.
With David Grisman on hand this year, they have have linked the mando maestro up with two teams of former bandmates for a pair of interesting looks at his career history.
The first takes us back to 1978, when Grisman and his Quintet were flying high, hot on the heels of their debut album of new acoustic music the year before. The eponymous LP had electrified the acoustic music world by using the form of a bluegrass ensemble (guitar, mandolin, fiddle, and bass) to create a truly novel sound that merged traditional fiddle tunes with jazz and chamber music.
It was an instant hit, as was Hot Dawg, their next project in ’78 with Grisman and Mike Marshall on mandolin, Darol Anger on fiddle, Tony Rice on guitar, and Todd Phillips on bass. Perhaps the most astounding aspect of these two recordings was its serving as the unleashing of Rice as a lead guitarist. At the time, what he was doing on his old flattop was unheard of on a steel string acoustic. That record also introduced Devlin, a tune that has been among his most requested numbers ever since.
And at RockyGrass in July, Grisman will reunite with this band for a live set, with Wyatt Rice stepping in for his retired brother, Tony. It’s sure to be a memorable show, both for those of us who remember that band from the ’70s, and for younger fans getting to see them for the first time.
Grisman will also play again with the Old & In the Gray band, itself a reunion effort with Peter Rowan, Sam Bush, Keith Little, and Sam Grisman. The original Old & In The Way band had included Jerry Garcia on banjo, Richard Greene or Vassar Clements on fiddle, and John Kahn on bass along with Grisman and Rowan.
Look for the Grisman Quintet reunion show on Friday, July 27 and Old & In The Gray on Saturday the 28th. You can see the full RockyGrass 2018 lineup online.