In the world of bluegrass music, it is important for artists to establish their own musical footprint, while also playing and recording standards. One group working hard to form a sound of their own is Mississippi-based Breaking Grass. With the release of their all-original second album, Running with the Moon, they have combined creative lyrics with a fresh bluegrass style to create a contemporary sound which should appeal to fans of country-tinged bluegrass.
Running with the Moon features twelve tracks written by lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Cody Farrar. These range from fun, upbeat tunes like Carry On Carolina, the tale of a “country queen” who just wants to dance at the local honky-tonk, to lonesome tunes sharing stories of unfaithful lovers and people who have wandered far from home. Several of the album’s standout tracks fall into the latter category. Before I Could Lie, which demonstrates the band’s country influences, is told from the point of view of a bitter husband whose wife assumed he was cheating. Still the Roses Bloom is a mournful account of a love with no lasting reminders except for the roses the singer planted for his wife.
Farrar also contributes a love song – the cheerful Good Love, which could have fit in easily on 90’s country radio – and shows his clever side with I’m Not Crying Cause You’re Leaving, perhaps the album’s most interesting track. This song begins as if it will be just another standard lonesome bluegrass tune, but quickly provides a twist when the singer reveals exactly what is more painful than the fact that his woman is leaving him.
Even though Farrar’s lyrics are showcased on the album, the entire band puts forth a solid performance. Farrar is joined by Tyler White (fiddle), Zach Wooten (mandolin), Britt Sheffield (bass), and Thelton Vanderford (banjo). Sheffield also takes over lead vocal duties for two tracks, Before I Could Lie and the rambler’s lament Amongst the Stones. The group’s tight harmonies also stand out on such songs as Strings and Still the Roses Bloom.
While the band is relatively new and its members are still quite young (Wooten and White are just teenagers), they have racked up numerous honors in the past few years including several festival band competition championships as well as the Band on the Rise Nationally (B.O.R.N.) award, which they received in June 2012. With the combination of original lyrics and strong instrumentation, Running with the Moon is sure to help Breaking Grass gather many new fans.
For more information on the band, visit their website at breakinggrass.com. Their music can be purchased from iTunes or CDBaby.