With a 14 year history that’s found them releasing six well-received recordings, Breaking Grass — currently consisting of Jody Elmore (banjo, harmony vocals), Cody Farrar (guitar, lead vocals, harmony vocals), Britt Sheffield (bass, harmony vocals), Tyler Wrote (fiddle), and Zach Wooten (mandolin, harmony vocals), along with guests Randy Kohrs (dobro), and Aaron Ramsey (lead guitar, gong) — has seen exceptional success on the bluegrass charts, including several top ten entries on our own Bluegrass Today chart. Their musical mix brings in a number of diverse influences, which, combined with their steadfast devotion to bluegrass basics, often includes Gospel, folk, and a particular penchant for pop.
Somewhere Beyond offers another outstanding example of the band’s ability to infuse a mix of styles and sounds without ever veering too far from their chosen template. While most of the songs retain a traditional mix of fiddle, banjo, bass, guitar, and high harmonies, Breaking Grass also adds a certain gravitas that deviates from any expected revelry or routine. The down-home designs of 100 Degrees in the Shade take a despairing view of some original environs, while a somber-sounding The Gift, the shared reflection of Money Can’t Buy You, and the earnest intents conveyed with It Ain’t Enough, and Outrun the Wolf, all offer a series of perspectives as applied to an array of scenarios. Even Let the Good Times Go — a song that might appear at the outset to offer more of an upbeat attitude due to its title — is anything but, given its plea from a still hopeful husband that his wife will quit her carousing ways and return home to the family she left behind.
That’s not to say Breaking Grass negates the upbeat emotions that bluegrass generally beckon. Free is as celebratory as its name would seem to suggest, while the closing track, Down in the Darkness, belies its title while attesting to the power of faith and salvation. It’s an uplifting ending to an album flush with shared sentiment and intuitive insight. That’s what takes Breaking Glass well beyond the obvious and expected.