The Grascals - Dance Til Your Stockings are Hot And Ravelin'
2011, BluGrascal Records
2011, BluGrascal Records
The Grascals have been busy the past few years. Awards, a new independent record label and non-stop touring haven't stopped the band from releasing two albums in short order. The most recent, an EP entitled Dance Til Your Stockings Are Hot And Ravelin' (June 7, 2011), is a tribute to the 50th anniversary of the Andy Griffith Show. With sponsorship from Mayberry's Finest, a food company, there is a certain hyper-commerciality to the disc encompassed in the inclusion of the corporate jingle for the food company on the CD. Putting that aside, however, Dance Til Your Stockings Are Hot And Ravelin' features some of the finest bluegrass work of the year thus far.
Dance Til Your Stockings Are Hot And Ravelin' opens with "Dooley", the mid-tempo tale of a moonshiner with a talent for not getting caught. The rendition offered here is tight and well-played, with distinctive vocal harmonies. "Boil Them Cabbage Down" features some of the best picking of 2011. "Stay All Night (Stay A Little Longer)" is a bluegrass party tune, and The Grascals capture that spirit here perfectly. The harmonies, once again, are exquisite, and the instrumentation is top notch. The band shows off their instrumental prowess to full effect on "Ol' Joe Clark". You'll find it impossible to sit still through this number as The Grascals play through like a finely tuned machine.
"Leaning On The Everlasting Arms" is an old southern style hymn, incorporating bluegrass instrumentation and a touch of high lonesome sound in the vocals. The Grascals deliver this tune with an inspired grace. "Mayberry's Finest Theme", based on the original Andy Griffith Show theme, is the jingle for the food company of the same name. It's a cute number that speaks more to the show than your typical jingle, but fits in with the company's theme. "Boy, Giraffes Are Selfish", played to the same tune, is an original Grascals tune written on a request based on a line from one of the more famous episodes of The Andy Griffith Show. It's an entertaining number, brief, but featuring some instrumental variations from "The Mayberry's Finest Theme" that keep it interesting.
The Grascals continue to find ways to increase their listenership with unusual business partnerships and their down-home brand of fiery bluegrass music. Some may decry the corporate influences on what is an essentially Indie recording, but it's hard to argue with the music on Dance Til Your Stockings Are Hot And Ravelin'. It's seemed like The Grascals have been working to find their footing on their last couple of efforts; consider it found. This time out the Grascals are so tight you couldn't pry them apart.
Rating: 4.5 Stars (Out of 5)
Learn more about The Grascals at www.grascals.com or www.myspace.com/thegrascals. Dance Til Your Stockings are Hot And Ravelin' drops on June 7, 2011. You can pre-order the album from Amazon.com as a CD, or you can purchase the Download, which is already available. The EP is also available via iTunes.