New County Grass is a new group from the bluegrass hotbed of Flint, Michigan. OK… that’s not fair, but as the guys themselves acknowledge, Flint is better known for automobile manufacturing (and Michael Moore) than it is for driving bluegrass music.
But if you think that Michiganders don’t play bluegrass, these guys will set you straight. Their newly-released CD, Start The Whole Thing Over, finds them laying down super tight versions of 11 semi-obscure bluegrass covers and one original song from the band. The vibe throughout is highly reminiscent of the guitar and banjo driven sound of the many The Bluegrass Album Band records, from whom they obviously look for inspiration.
But I guess that’s not fair, either… comparing a new group to one of the most influential bands in bluegrass history. Let’s just say that these guys have learned the lessons that BAB laid down, and put it into practice well.
New County Grass is a family affair, featuring Duane Estep on mandolin and vocals along with his sons Brent on bass, and Kyle on guitar and vocals. Dean Dubois joins the Esteps on banjo, and is the writer of the album’s lone original, the title track.
Start The Whole Thing Over: [http://www.newcountygrass.com/wp-content/themes/music_wordpress/music/2%20-%20Start%20the%20Whole%20Thing%20Over.mp3]
Other strong cuts include Jimmie Skinner’s Afraid To Love You…
Afraid To Love You: [http://www.newcountygrass.com/wp-content/themes/music_wordpress/music/6%20-%20Afraid%20To%20Love%20You.mp3]
… and You Will Always Be Untrue, from Red Allen.
You Will Always Be Untrue: [http://www.newcountygrass.com/wp-content/themes/music_wordpress/music/10%20-%20You%20Will%20Always%20Be%20Untrue.mp3]
Here’s a clip of them performing at the Leslie Bluegrass Festival last month.
These guys can really play bluegrass, and it will be exciting to hear what they do over the next few years as they begin to search out new material to record.