Old & In the Gray

Old & In the Gray

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This follow-up to earlier recordings by Old & In the Way reunites mandolinist David Grisman with guitarist Peter Rowan and fiddler Vassar Clements (with Herb Pedersen replacing the late Jerry Garcia on banjo and guitar and Bryn Bright playing bass in place of the late John Kahn); the new group was renamed Old & In the Gray. The music stretches boundaries as much as the earlier band, with a mix of vintage bluegrass and country classics such as Ira Louvin's "Childish Love" and Bill Monroe's "On the Old Kentucky Shore," along with more modern pieces like John Hartford's "Good Old Boys," Townes Van Zandt's "Pancho and Lefty," and Rowan's "Rainmaker." An unusually brisk rendition of the Rolling Stones' "Honky Tonk Women" adds a degree of freshness to a now decades-old song, but the highlight of the session is easily the hilarious "Barefoot Nellie," though both have terrific solos. It's obvious that the musicians had a lot of fun trading vocals and instrumental licks as well as harmonizing throughout the date; the brilliant cover art by Ivan Artucovich (with terrific caricatures of the players) is a nice additional touch to a very rewarding CD.

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