David Grier – Live at the Linda – Dreadnought Recordings

by | Jul 11, 2008 | Pop/Rock/World CD Reviews | 0 comments

David Grier – Live at the Linda – Dreadnought Recordings 0701, 65:56 *****:

This CD is a complete—from start to finish—live recording of David Grier playing his vintage 1946 Martin D-28 guitar in concert at the Linda Norris Auditorium in Albany, New York on September 9, 2006. It’s complete with the MC’s introduction, Grier’s between-songs stage banter and sometimes corny jokes, and Grier’s flawless guitar picking. For those who may not be familiar with David Grier, he is an enormously talented flat-picker from Nashville. As a session player he is in constant demand and is the regular guitarist for the super-group Psychograss. He grew up in a musical household—his dad Lamar played banjo with Bill Monroe—with regular “pickin’ parties” or informal jam sessions, and he was invited to play along with the pros starting at the early age of eleven.

Though Grier is thought of as a bluegrass guitarist, “Live at the Linda” contains only two tracks of Bluegrass music, a medley of Bill Monroe tunes consisting of “Crossing the Cumberlands” and “Old Ebenezer Scrooge” and Earl Scruggs’ “Randy Lynn Rag.” There are a few pop songs like the old Roberta Flack hit “Killing Me Softly” and the Beatles “Yesterday,” and a few traditional numbers like “Red Haired Boy” and “Bonaparte’s Retreat.” Most of the songs are written by Grier and these range from slow contemplative songs to up-tempo numbers. Throughout all the tunes, every one is played with flawless technique, rich and deep tone, and emotive storytelling. The emotional content never takes the backseat to the technique, even though some the tracks are frankly mystifying—as in, how in the world does he do that? Grier has perfected the technique of flat-picking and finger picking at the same time. He is awesome.

His between-songs chat is self-deprecating and low-keyed. His voice is steeped in the hills of Tennessee with a rich drawl that always seems to be about to slide into a laugh. It’s obvious that he is at ease in front of an audience. Including all the monologues adds to the experience of a live recording and his stories are funny. Sitting in front of the speakers makes it seem as if you are there in the audience. The recording itself is clear and resonant, capturing all the nuances—both delicate and powerful—of Grier’s performance. Except for the occasional audience noise and applause, this could be mistaken for a first-rate studio recording. This CD will appeal to fans of bluegrass, Americana, contemporary acoustic music, folk, or anyone who is a fan of fine guitar playing. Grier plays at the highest levels of performance. Highly recommended.

TrackList:

1. Introduction
2. Intro – Have You Ever Been to England
3. Have You Ever Been to England
4. Intro – High Atop Princess Cove
5. High Atop Princess Cove
6. Things People Say
7. As It Rolls to the Sea
8. Intro – Road to Hope
9. Road to Hope
10. The Old Spinning Wheel
11. Glass Eye
12. America the Beautiful/Yesterday—Medley
13. Intro – Red Haired Boy
14. Red Haired Boy
15. Intro – The End of a Good Day
16. The End of a Good Day
17. Intro – Redwing
18. Redwing
19. Killing Me Softly
20. Dolly Story
21. Grammy Story
22. Crossing the Cumberlands/Old Ebenezer Scrooge—Medley
23. Thank You & Good Night
24. Bonaparte’s Retreat
25. Randy Lynn Rag 

– Hermon Joyner

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