David Grisman Quintet - Dawgnation

David Grisman Quintet

(Acoustic Disc)

First Appeared at The Music Box, July 2002, Volume 9, #7

Written by John Metzger


David Grismanís take on bluegrass is so unique, he branded it "dawg" music, and the name stuck. Indeed, it does expand significantly upon traditional music formats, incorporating a myriad of styles from Latin to klezmer to reggae with a whole lot of jazz thrown in so as to hold it all together.

Grismanís latest release Dawgnation reunites his touring quintet ó which includes Enrique Coria, Joe Craven, Matt Eakle, and Jim Kerwin ó for its first outing in seven years. For certain, the years of performing together have made the group into a tight-knit unit, capable of swerving through its songsí intricate rhythms with gentle ease. The instrumentation on Slade is a particular highlight; flute, mandolin, violin, and guitar alternately soar over galloping grooves with percolating precision. Likewise, Cha Cha Chihuahua blossoms into a sun-baked shuffle, Twin Town strikes a joyous pose, and the title track is an exquisite musical portrait of the rolling meadows of rural America.

Unfortunately, however, Grisman and his pals tread over a large part of the terrain with too much reserve. Thereís little fire, little punch, and little emotion encapsulated within many of the tracks, and the songs tend to reach their peak early and wear out their welcome long before concluding. As a result, Dawgnation makes for pleasurable listening, but itís hardly essential and hardly the group at its best. starstarstar

Dawgnation is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!


Copyright © 2002 The Music Box