Grasstowne is Steve Gulley on guitar and lead vocals, Alan Bibey on mandolin and lead vocals, Phil Leadbetter on resonator and slide guitars, Jason Davis on banjo, and Travis Greer on bass. Special guest Stuart Duncan on the fiddle helps out on so many of the tracks that he’s an essential member of the band for this disc.
The Other Side of Towne is the band’s sophomore album, following their award-winning debut The Road Headin’ Home. If you like your bluegrass with deep country roots and a strong gospel background, The Other Side Of Towne is a great place to start.
The album opens with “Hard Working Man” followed several songs later by “Pay Your Dues.” By their titles alone these songs would fit well into a country radio playlist. The fine picking and singing in this group anchors all the songs on the album wherever the band musically decides to go. “God Bless Mommy” is a touching ballad about a broken family. The title cut from The Other Side Of Towne would give any of the traditional stars of country music a run for their money in the songwriting department. “Tobaccoville Road” gives the band a chance to show off their picking on a hot instrumental.
The band has brought this album to such a consistently high level that it’s hard for me to pick out one song that just soars above the rest. My personal favorite for the top song is “Laura Lie.” Where would bluegrass or country be without the broken-heart song? The lead vocals to “Laura Lie” carry you well down the broken-heart road without going over the top. The harmonies are perfect, and they are backed up with more fine playing. It’s a great example of a band working so well together that things just click.
This CD will have me checking out their first album, and waiting for their next one!