Alan Bibey and Steve Gulley are among the very best musicians playing bluegrass today, and they’ve teamed up with three young and equally impressive young players: Justin Jenkins, banjo, Kameron Keller, bass, and Adam Haynes, fiddle, in Grasstowne’s latest CD, Kickin’ Up Dust.
This project is impressive on many levels. I’d never heard any of the songs before, as some are originals, and others chosen precisely because they hadn’t been widely recorded. The vocal blend of Gulley and Bibey is wonderful, and the trio and quartet blends on this recording are also done to perfection.
Alan Bibey’s mandolin playing is amazing. There are no weak spots in this band. In fact, I might have called this album “Groove,” because every song sits perfectly in the pocket whether the tune is fast, slow or in between. Another good title might have been “The Art Of Bluegrass,” because if there’s a place where craft becomes transformed into art, these boys have found it. There is nothing formulaic here--nothing you’ve heard before. There are no renditions of old Bill Monroe or Flatt & Scruggs numbers. Not that there’s anything wrong with that--I could imagine Lester singing “I Don’t Worry About You Anymore,” but I don’t think he ever did. There’s a level of creativity throughout that might elude a less experienced ear, but I’ve been listening to bluegrass for a lot of years now. I recall listening to Flatt & Scruggs records over and over again, hearing new things with each listen. Grasstowne is the real deal, and if you put this CD in your stereo and keep listening to it, I bet you’ll keep discovering new musical ideas that will tickle your ear and cause you to smile.
Rural Rhythms Records