With the addition of their newest member, Chris Davis on guitar and vocals, the Grascals add on to the chart-topping success of 2017’s Before Breakfast with their recent release of Straighten the Curves. Davis fills the spot vacated by founding member Terry Eldredge, who decided to retire from the road. Davis’ vocals fit perfectly with bandmembers Terry Smith and John Bryan, continuing the Grascals’ tradition of soulful lead vocals and smooth harmonies.
The Grascals have numerous well-earned awards, and this release should earn them some more. The Grascals have a reputation for country-tinged modern bluegrass that sources songs from well outside the standard bluegrass catalog. Instead of rehashing old bluegrass standards, they borrow from Becky Buller (“My Virginia Mama”) and Old-Time banjo player, Chris Coole (“Straighten the Curves”). Songs include drivers such as “Heartbreak Hall of Fame” and the album’s title track, mixed with gospel numbers (“The Shepherd of My Valley” and Davis’ “What Does God Look Like?”) ballads (“Don’t Leave your Memory Behind” and “They Laughed”), as well as “Haggard,” an appreciation for a dog that howled along with his namesake.
Danny Roberts and Kristen Scott-Benson, multiple IBMA winners on mandolin and banjo showcase their talents on the tune “AndiWayne,” along with fiddler Adam Hayne. And the band as a whole demonstrates expert picking through a creative choice of songs (including a bluegrass version of Eddie Rabbit’s “Driving My Life Away”) that once again proves why the Grascals are one of the premier bluegrass bands of the last fifteen years.
Straighten the Curves is a great addition to the Grascal’s library of modern bluegrass, supported by distinguished vocals and exceptional musicianship by some of the best pickers around. I highly recommend this CD.
Mountain Home Music